Posts tagged with ‘trust’

12 sep

Let Go of Control

MikeRobbins96I had a simple, but profound experience in the swimming pool last week – I floated on my back for the first time in my life. I do know how to swim and enjoy being in the water, but for some reason I never was able to figure out how to float on my back when I learned to swim as a kid and as an adult it hasn’t really been something that has come up as an issue in my life (although it has always been something that I wanted to learn, felt a bit embarrassed about not being able to do, and also didn’t quite understand).

Thanks to the help of my friend Steve last week, I was able to let go and allow the water to support me. It felt scary at first, but once I figured it out, it was an incredibly liberating and relaxing experience. As I was floating there in the pool I had many thoughts, feelings, and insights – the biggest of which had to do with my own obsession with controlling things, and my deep desire and fear about letting go.

How controlling are you? Would you consider yourself very controlling, moderately controlling, or not controlling at all? While each of us falls somewhere along the continuum of control and for some of us this is a bigger issue than others, for most of the people I know and work with, control is an issue that gets in our way – especially in the most important (and stressful) areas of life.

What causes us to be controlling?

There are many reasons, beliefs, and emotions that lead us to hold on tight and feel the need to control others, situations, circumstances, money, communications, food, workflow, details, our environment, and various other “important’ aspects of our lives. However, here are three things that are usually underneath our controlling tendency:

  • Fear – We worry that things won’t turn out, we will get hurt, bad things will happen, etc.
  • Unworthiness – We don’t feel as though we deserve support, help, or for things to go our way.
  • Lack of Trust – We’re scared to let go, count on others, and to believe that things will be okay without us managing every aspect of the situation, relationship, conversation, etc.

What does being controlling cost us?

There is a huge cost associated with being controlling. This negative impact is not only on us and our well-being, but also on those we love, the people we work with, and everyone around us. Here are some of the biggest costs:

  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Freedom
  • Energy
  • Creativity
  • Support
  • Ease
  • Connection
  • Love

How can we expand our capacity to let go of control?

There are many things we can do to let go of control. With compassion for ourselves, it’s important to remember that this is a process and something (especially for some of us) that may not come all that easy. Many of us have been literally “trained” (directly or indirectly) to be controlling and in certain environments and situations (at work and at home), being controlling has been encouraged or seemed necessary for our own survival and the survival of those around us.

That being said, here are some things you can do and think about to expand your own capacity to let go of control in a positive and liberating way:

1) Be honest with yourself – Make an authentic assessment about your own controlling nature. It probably varies a bit for you (as it does for most of us), but at the same time we all have certain tendencies, especially in the most important and stressful areas of our lives. With empathy and honesty, take a look at where, how, and why you hold on tight to control in whatever way you do. And, be real with yourself about what this costs and how it impacts you and those around you.

2) Ask yourself, “Am I willing to let go of control?” – This is an important question to ponder and to answer honestly. In some cases and in certain situations, the answer to this question may be “no.” It’s important to honor that if that’s the case for you. And, at the same time, the more willing you are to ask and answer this question, the more likely you are to start letting go of control consciously (assuming it is something you’re truly interested in doing). You may not know how to do it or what it would look like, but authentic willingness is always the first step in positive change.

3) Consider who could support you – Getting support is one of the most important (and often most vulnerable) aspects of letting go of control. Even though we sometimes feel like we’re all alone, that no one “gets it,” and/or that we couldn’t possibly make ourselves vulnerable enough to ask for help (especially in certain areas of life), it’s difficult to let go of control without the support of other people. The irony of asking for help is that many of us don’t feel comfortable doing so and fear it makes us seem weak or needy, and on the flip side most of us love to be asked for help and really enjoy helping others. We can’t do it alone! And, the good news is that most of us have lots of people in our life that would jump at the chance to support us – if we were willing to ask for help more freely.

4) Surrender – This is the bottom line of letting go. Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up or not caring, it means trusting and allowing things to be taken care of by others, by the process, and by the Universal Intelligence governing life – some call this God, some call this Spirit, some don’t call it anything, but most of us have an experience of It at some level. Surrendering is about consciously choosing to trust and have faith. It is something that can liberate us in a profound way and is all about us choosing to let go.

When we look back on our lives in hindsight, we usually see that “things happen for a reason.” What if we lived in the present moment with this same hindsight awareness? As one of my mentors said to me years ago, “Mike, you’re living your life as though you’re trying to survive it. You have to remember, no one ever has.”

Letting go of control is about loosening our grip, allowing ourselves to be supported, and trusting that things will turn out as they are meant to. Is this easy? Not always, although it can be. However, as we practice this and expand our capacity to let go, we’ll be able to release and transform a good amount of unnecessary stress, worry, and anxiety from our lives, our work, and our relationships.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on September 12th, 2010 in Global/Social Change, Health, Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

14 mar

The Art of Allowing

mike_robbinsA few months ago I got some specific feedback that it would serve me, my work, and my growth to start practicing the art of allowing in a more conscious and deliberate way. While I was familiar with the concept of allowing, I realized I had very little awareness or experience of it in actual practice.

As I looked more deeply at it, I realized that I had a judgment about the whole concept of “allowing.” It had always seemed weak, passive, lazy, or based on “luck” to me. I’ve always prided myself on being a hard worker, a “go-getter,” and someone who “makes things happen.” However, as I have recently come to realize – much of this has to do with a deep-seeded fear that if I ever slow down, stop pushing so hard, or simply expect things to just show up with ease – the whole “house of cards” of my life and my work will simply come crashing down around me. Can you relate?

Allowing, however, is an essential aspect of life and growth – as well as of our success and fulfillment. The first aspect of allowing has to do with us accepting things as they are. As author and teacher Byron Katie says, “When you argue with reality, you lose – but only 100% of the time.”

When we’re able to allow people, things, and situations to be as they are – without judging them, trying to fix them, or wanting to change them – we begin to tap into the immense power of allowing. Ironically and somewhat paradoxically, when we truly allow things and people to be exactly as they are, we open up a space for real change and transformation to occur (if that is what we want).

The deeper aspect of allowing has to do with us trusting, being patient, and having faith that what we want to manifest, create, and experience can and will show up in our lives as it is meant to. In other words, it’s an ability to allow things to happen and materialize, without us having to manipulate, dominate, or control other people or situations to make it happen. For those of us, myself included, who have a tendency to be control-freaks at times – this can be incredibly challenging.

The paradox that exists with allowing runs deep within us. So many of us were taught and believe “if it is to be, it’s up to me.” And while there is truth and wisdom in this philosophy, as many of us know, feeling as though we have to work hard, run fast, keep up, and make everything happen in our lives is exhausting and insatiable. No matter how hard we work, what we try to fix, or all of the changes we intend to make – if we don’t learn, practice, and ultimately master the art of allowing – true success and fulfillment will always elude us. Action is important, but we have to also learn to balance it out with our ability to allow.

Allowing takes faith, patience, and trust – three things that are essential for our own peace of mind and well-being in life, but are often not things we focus on, learn about, or are encouraged to practice in our intense, fast-paced, results oriented culture. The art of allowing is truly an art and is something that often goes against the grain and runs contrary to societal norms and pressures. It has to do with us remembering, as the well-known saying goes, “We’re human beings, not human doings.”

Here are a few things to think about and practice as you enhance your capacity and ability to allow with more ease in your life.

1) Ask yourself how you relate to the concept of “allowing.” Take some inventory of your own relationship this idea. How do you feel about it? How comfortable are you allowing things and people to be as they are, as well as allowing things to manifest with ease in your life? For many of us, this is something that we may understand, but may not practice. Tell the truth to yourself about how you relate to allowing and notice how this impacts your life – one way or another.

2) Pay attention to what you focus on in regards to your biggest goals and aspirations. In regards to the biggest goals, dreams, and aspirations in your life right now – how much of your attention and energy is focused on doing and how much is focused on allowing? While both doing and allowing are important, most of us put a disproportionate amount of attention on action. Increasing our focus on allowing and ultimately receiving, can be a magical, relaxing, and incredibly effective way for us to relate to our goals and dreams. This is often one of the big missing pieces in our desire for not only success, but more important, fulfillment.

3) Create an allowing practice. This is a simple practice you can do daily (like prayer, meditation, quiet reflection, affirmation, etc.) where you put your attention and awareness on allowing – accepting things as they are, trusting that things are working out as they are meant to, believing that the feelings, experiences, accomplishments, and outcomes you desire are on their way, and allowing yourself to receive these gifts and blessings with ease and gratitude. You may need to reach out to others for support, guidance, and feedback about creating or deepening an allowing practice that will work for you – but doing this is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself (as well as to those around you).

Have fun with this and have compassion with yourself as well. For most of us, allowing is a lot easier to think about or talk about than it actually is to practice and embody in our lives. The more attention we put on it, however, the easier it gets. And, as we deepen our ability and our capacity to allow – our whole life can transform with ease, grace, and gratitude!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on March 14th, 2010 in New Directions, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

29 jan

On the Edge of Wholeness

Lately, my posts have been flowing one from another, as if writing one allows an insight to surface and wash over me. It feels sort of like a scavenger hunt, where one clue leads to the next, and that one to the next. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but close enough…

After writing my last post, The You That Takes Your Breath Away, I remembered something I wrote a few years back. It was never shared here on my blog. In fact, I don’t think I shared it with anyone. At the time, what I was writing felt too close to my heart to make known to others. Sometimes, this is exactly what needs to happen; we need to not speak those moments of insight so that they continue to work their way through us.

What I wrote to myself was sparked by this passage from , “Shadow Dance” by David Richo:

“We can even declare that we are what Byron saw: ‘a rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.” Eventually we realize that whatever in us has remained folded up is really that about us that was never loved. This is the sadness in the folded rose of ourselves. What was not confirmed and loved by others, especially our parents, did not have full permission to emerge. It is up to us to find this confirmation now from within ourselves, our relationships, and our spirituality. Joy results from permission to unfold.” (pg 110-111).

“Joy results from permission to unfold.” Wow. How powerful this statement is.

We are the only ones that can give ourselves permission to do this – to unfold those oh so sweet leaves of our being, those that hid away because, for whatever reason, it didn’t feel safe.

Now, we are adults. Now, we can hold these sweet and tender places within our own heart, hear what they have to say and give them permission to unfold, permission to be seen. Perhaps, being seen first by ourselves is the greatest gift we can give to them.

With this permission comes joy. And peace. And, as these parts come back into the light, wholeness naturally occurs.

The other piece is about the exquisiteness of vulnerability. Complete unfolding brings no more separation. When we open to the fullest extent possible, nothing hidden, petals outstretched, there is no longer anything that knows separation, and this can be frightening as hell.

But, our lives are really about the flower unfolding. We yearn to unfold, to blossom into complete nakedness, raw vulnerability that allows one to be seen and known.

This ripe blossoming is also the very last step before the petals fall and the blossom dies. This is our return to the whole, the moment of wholeness that is simply a breath away from death, where death ends our separation from the whole.

At the singular moment when we unfold every ounce of our being and exist at the height of vulnerability, that of out-stretched petals, we know our sense of separate self will fall away. When nothing is hidden, we can no longer be separate. In our complete vulnerability, we open to all and to everything.

There is a peak of each blossom, when it is poised at its pinnacle of beauty. This is our moment of realization of all that we really are. In this moment, our sense and identity as a separate flower falls away and we let go into our true identity as all that is.

When our petals fall and decay, we can grow into the fullness of a human being, wise and unconditionally loving, for who we now know ourselves to be is the life force that compelled the flower to emerge, bud and blossom, the instinctive drive to open fully to the light, the air, the wind, and all of the world around us.

The edge of wholeness, this edge of ripe beauty, happens many, many times, over and over, until we know ourselves to be the beauty itself. Nothing lasts forever. And, it’s in this knowing of our ephemeral nature, that we know what it is to be fully alive.

So, here is what I wrote, back a few years ago:

On The Edge Of Wholeness

Standing on the threshold of the one true moment of existence
I know myself as both blossom and the urge to bloom.
Every ounce of my journey has been to unfold
To follow the blueprint of this flower
From young rosy bud to powerfully stretched petals
From nubile possibility to the height of complete engagement.

As my petals open to the arc of full bloom
my arms stretch open wide and vulnerable
my chest aches with joy and
I am completely available to Life.

It is in this moment of complete openness
I know that I have loved to wholeness
Every ounce of who I am
Even those parts that once felt impossible to love.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of Being
I realize the natural path of this process and
begin to feel the life force that has propelled
my unfolding welcoming me home.

I know there is this one moment
When my petals are at the height of ripeness
The height of the arc of fullness
just before I turn to the face of release
This moment happens many, many times
And at the same time is a singular moment in my life

I can now see that petals falling is also an act of grace
For as I stand on this threshold of change
I realize it is only by being courageous enough to open
That I have come to know what I truly am

The sunlight and soil of grace have held my becoming all along
my urge to bloom was always at the heart of who and what I am
This urge to blossom is also my urge to return
To the one constant in all of Life, the very nature of all that is.

~ Julie Daley

Just look at the beauty of this inside of this flower. We would never see it if it remained closed.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

(Image permission granted by Connor365 under CC 2.0.)

Posted by Julie Daley on January 29th, 2010 in Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

09 dec

Cultivating Self Trust

Self-esteemSelf trust is a virtue, like patience, that has been all but lost in the externally focused society that has increasingly evolved over the past fifty years or so. It is the capacity to know ourselves deeply and to rely on ourselves confidently as the source of our decisions. It is a combination of two dimensions of well-being: self acceptance—this is who I am–and autonomy–this is what I choose to do regardless of what anyone else is doing because it’s right for me.

Self trust has always been an important quality of heart and mind, but it is even more crucial in these fast-paced, challenging times. Here’s how James C. Collins and Jerry Poras put it in Built to Last,

“With the demise of the myth of job security, the accelerating pace of change, and the increasing ambiguity and complexity of our world, people who depend on external structures to provide continuity and stability run the very real risk of having their moorings ripped away. The only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core.”

According to Webster’s, the first meaning of trust is,

“Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.”

When we trust ourselves, we’re in touch with that inner core Collins and Poras are talking about. We have self possession—an ease under stress that reflects a command of our powers. Consequently we know we can handle what life throws at us—we can complete the assignment, juggle our schedules, organize our desks, handle the difficulty with our boss, say no–or make a mistake and survive.

Self trust is also blind self esteem—it’s not thinking “I’m great.” It’s about coming to understand how I am great, where I want that greatness to manifest, and how to use that greatness when I encounter the big and little difficulties of life. If we know these things, we can move through life like a regal schooner, rather than a tippy canoe. For the more we come to understand our unique capacities and how to use them, the less overwhelmed we will be no matter the circumstances.

When we trust ourselves, we can better navigate the waters of challenging emotional times—when we feel lost or grieving, angry, or afraid—believing somewhere in our hearts and souls, that we will make it, even if we’re not sure how or when.We’re safe in our own care. We treat ourselves well, kindly, as a loving mother would nurture her beloved child. We learn from our mistakes instead of beating ourselves up about them, because we understand that life is about learning and therefore seeing errors as valuable information about how to go forward. We don’t consider ourselves bad when we screw up, just not yet as skillful as we would like to be.

Precisely because we accept ourselves exactly as we are, we are more able to change. Shame and guilt loosen their grip. We may be in difficult or challenging circumstances, but rather than getting mired in them, we see ourselves like the lotus flower. The lotus’ roots are deep in mud yet its flower is one of the most beautiful in the entire world. Each and every one of us is like that lotus—precious and whole, despite the mud of our lives.

About MJ Ryan: She is a member of Professional Thinking Partners and is recognized as a leading expert in change. M.J. Ryan specializes in coaching high performance executives, entrepreneurs, individuals, and leadership teams around the world to maximize performance and fulfillment. Her clients include Microsoft, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Hewitt Associates, and Frito Lay. Her work is based on a combination of positive psychology, strengths-based coaching, the wisdom traditions, and cutting edge brain research. Her new book, titled “AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For” was recently released published by Random House’s Broadway Books. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.

www.MJ-Ryan.com

Posted by MJ Ryan on December 9th, 2009 in General, New Directions, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , ,