There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
by Danna Faulds
Wise words from Danna Faulds, ones that I don’t find easy to remember in the moments I need it most. The attempt to control in difficult moments seems to be a core coping strategy of mine, a habitual pattern which always appears to offer that much hoped for outcome… and yet there is a deep recognition that it just won’t work – the thunderbolt and tornado, or even the stream finding new channels are good external examples of that.
So what is there to do when in a tight spot, wanting to control, but to breathe and allow, as the poem suggests…
There’s a practice that was developed by Chris Germer and Kristin Neff (as far as I know!) which places two steps before the allowing, which I find very helpful. Before I get to the allowing stage, there usually is the need for softening, dropping some of my resistance to let the guest that’s knocking on Rumi’s guesthouse door in. Softening to own up to my own feelings, and the reality of anyone else involved in the situation (which actually requires an allowing of itself: the allowing of the reaction to the guest). And then comes the need for soothing, for caring for what’s there with all the kindness I can possibly muster (you could say, the step of allowing the soothing and warmth to flow to where it hurts). Only after this thorough ‘attending to’ does allowing in its fullness become possible, and often there seems to be layers of allowing that reveal themselves over time… which reveals a new perspective, ‘new eyes’ to look with.