Sometimes the strongest decision we can make is to surrender and let the Universe take over.
Do you know how it feels to be derailed from your plans because...well...life happens? For about three years now, I have been on a pretty singular track of painting, writing, and growing my art business. I have made great strides, figured out lots of strategies that DON’T work, and a handful of things that do. I have been working towards the goal of being a successful independent business owner, which has been a dream of mine since college.
Here I am, going about my day to day, working my butt off developing and implementing plans to grow my business. You know…just continuing on with the status quo. Then life decided that those plans, the ones that I have put my heart and soul into for years, may not be what I should be doing right now. Currently, it seems life has other plans for me.
Now, I’m not saying I’m giving up on my dreams. Au contraire! I am still painting, writing my blog, and marketing and selling my art. However, the pace I was going at is no longer realistic. I can’t work as I have been with the extra monkey wrenches that have been thrown at me over the past six months. It just ain’t happening.
What was happening is that I was trying to do it all, and working myself into an anxious, depressed, exhausted state, and that isn’t good for me or anyone around me. I have been taking great care of myself over the past month or so in order to feel healthier, but also to shift my perspective on what I “should” be doing right now.
Life is a series of chaotic situations stacked on top of each other, periodically broken up by moments of peace
Last Fall, as the craziness descended, I would get a twinge of angry butterflies in my stomach when I thought about my work. The victim in me thought, “Why me? Why am I the one getting derailed?” My stubborn side dug its heals in and said, “I won’t let it happen! This is my work and it’s too important for my attention to be elsewhere!!!” Then I got tired. So. Very. Tired. And then I saw the truth.
It's simple: I am needed in other areas of my life right now. Without starting a heated rampage about how this type of stuff always seems to fall on women, I will say that I have made peace with surrendering to the situation at hand. Before, I considered surrender to be a decision made in weakness. Now, surrendering feels like the strongest decision I could possibly make.
The truth is that life is a series of chaotic situations stacked on top of each other, periodically broken up by moments of peace. The sweet spot, I’m realizing, is to be able to find those moments of peace while the chaos is occurring. The alternative is to be in the chaos and only see the chaos, but frankly, the idea of that makes my eyes feel tired.
My ego clings to an idea of what I think I should be doing, should have accomplished, and should be working towards. When in resistance, my ego is throwing a fit, wondering why the world is working against it all the time.
My ego is inflexible, wants what it wants when it wants it, and loathes those that get in the way. “Stay the course, no matter what!” is my ego’s mantra. And guess what? That also happens to be the easiest path to frustration and self-victimizing because life fucking happens to all of us, unscheduled, and at inconvenient times.
Surrender is the path to freedom.
In times like these, surrender is the path to freedom. Surrender will allow inward flexibility to develop. It will show me that all is not lost, no matter how big of a temper tantrum my ego throws. In fact, it allows me to see impossible situations through new eyes.
If I allow surrender to guide me, I create space for new and endless paths to show themselves. We think of surrender as giving up when really surrender is peace in action.
Now that I have consciously surrendered to my situation, I feel more at ease. I feel open to the idea that perhaps this is actually the road I’m supposed to be on, and not so much a diversion. What if where I was before was the diversion and now, like an omnipotent Siri, the Universe has now kindly rerouted me?
My Hubbie asked me today what I wanted accomplish in the next ten years. My response? “Whatever the Universe wants me to.” I understand that could be a rather infuriating answer to some, but I am having trouble thinking about the next month. Who knows what will be thrown our way in the next ten years…
Crisis occurs at some point or another to all of us, and crisis doesn’t care about how full our calendars are, that we have vacations planned (hello Coronovirus travel restrictions), or that we had the next year of our lives mapped out (my 2020 revenue and marketing plans in their original forms have been thrown out the window at this point). I mean, the phrase, "shit happens", didn't come from nowhere.
It is what it is.
Over the years and multiple times, my oldest and dearest friend has said to me, “It is what it is.” It is up to us to either accept what we are given to work with, or continue to bang our heads against the wall as we sink our claws in to our best laid plans while refusing to adapt to our lives. In a way, the peace is the chaos.
A strong current is downright hellish when your swimming against it. But if you stop fighting towards that original destination and let the current carry you, you feel nothing but an effortless motion as you drift towards a mysterious place, possibly not on your original map.
If it is truly all about the journey, not the destination, then it doesn’t matter where we end up. It only matters how we feel while getting there.
Think back to a time in your life where you felt derailed. How did it work out for you? Were you able to settle into to the change or did you stick your original plan, come hell or high water? In the comments below tell me the first reaction you have to the idea of letting it all go.
At top is from my Control & Chaos series. The Bus, 48”x48”, Acrylic & Paper on Canvas. Sometimes the way out is to get on the bus, let someone else drive and stop thinking so much. For more info, and to get on the VIP waitlist for the Control & Chaos sale, click here.
I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.