We are conditioned from an early age to make plans and achieve goals. COVID-19 is reaching deep inside every one of us and turning our world upside down. What happens when we attach to planning in an unknown future?
With the unpredictability of what's coming next the pandemic reminds us that the future cannot be controlled.
Like many people, I started planning what I'm doing for Christmas. Excitingly, I booked flights to visit my family in USA. This would my first time abroad in two years, and my first time meeting my new nephew. I'm very attached to my plans.
And then came the news about the new variant. A whole array of thoughts invaded my mind, What does this mean? How bad will it be? Will I be able to travel? Will there be another lockdown? Do I have to cancel my Christmas plans?
By projecting into the future I felt stressed, frustration, a low mood and low energy. Time and time again I am amazed how our emotions have a physical impact on our bodies. In the last couple weeks I started grinding my teeth at night, disrupting my sleep, and creating pain in my jaw.
Trying to control and uncontrollable future is exhausting. Attaching to plans and expectations causes stress, frustration, maybe even suffering.
That was when I was reminded of this poem by Danna Faulds called "Let it go";
LET IT GO Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go.
Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go. Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith; the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless. Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation. - by Danna Faulds Published in her book Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga
This poem really resonated with me and what I've been feeling recently. By attaching myself to plans and expectations I've be swimming against the tide.
Instead, I've started practicing letting go of control - what will happen, will happen. I don't what will happen this Christmas but I've surrendered to not knowing what's coming next.
In yoga practice there are many ways to feel "letting go". We could let go of the need to know what posture is coming next. Or we could breath into a posture and let go of tense tight gripping muscles. In restorative yoga, which is all about slowing down, opening your body through passive stretching, we can let go and surrendering to the props/ground.
In a short space of time after shifting my outlook, I feel more at ease and more at peace. Almost by magic the pain in my jaw began to subside, and I was sleeping better.
That is because the energy of surrender accomplishes much more than the energy of control. Letting go of your plans, letting life unfold, and surrendering is profoundly nourishing.