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To Effort or Not to Effort? On Change the Yin Way

How does stress take up space in your life? Do you even notice it? Or is it invisible only until you start to feel it so much that it feels overwhelming and it’s impossible to not see it?

Once you feel it, you see it. But then what? How do you let it go? How does anything change?

I am currently exploring the yin way–a passive release, a letting-go, a surrender. A way of non-effort, in order to open and make change, rather than to force your will, effort and control in order to make change.

But is this really a viable thing? What is the balance between effort and non-effort? And how can non-effort make more desired change come a bit more easily?

I’d guess that most people stumble across this method of change because they are overworked, overstressed and out of options. They come to a point of ‘giving up’ or surrender, because all of their efforts seems fruitless and they are exhausted. They are depleted. They feel like they have tried all they can, they are at a loss and they don’t know what else to do anymore.

I know because I too feel this way. But like most things in my life, it doesn’t appear as a loud punch in the face. It is not super obvious. Everything, my greatest challenges, are subtle, yet they aren’t any easier and they aren’t any less frustrating and challenging.

Pain is relative right? I’m sure many could slip into my life and feel like I’ve got it all. But right now the truth is that I don’t and stress has been weighing heavily on me too. I now see how this is mostly accumulated subtle stress. Stress that I try to push away, and try to push into the boxes of “things aren’t that bad”, “I have it pretty good” and “others have it way worse”.

So I keep going. I keep going to make more busyness, to fix my issues of financial security, relationships, stability, trying to create a nontraditional business out of the box while honoring the call of my heart.

I try to keep it all together, to follow the rules (basic morals and those of what society has imprinted on me as right) and do what I feel is asked of me (by who? I don’t know, that larger looming presence of trying to attain a good life, be a good person, and do good for the world).

But in truth I feel selfish. I worry if I am really any less bad than the others. I worry if I am doing the right thing.

I haven’t written in so long. And to write, right now, I feel the release of some of this pressure that I’ve created for myself. What is this?

A lot of times I feel myself complaining that I feel overwhelmed, overworked and as if I am tired from trying to keep it all together. Am I really convinced though that the universe needs my effort?

I laugh out loud. Well of course not, the universe does not need my effort at all. It will keep going. It will do wonders without my presence, without my pain, without my pleasure. It will go on with or without me.

I’m not trying to be woe-as-me or suggesting the extreme likes of suicide. No. And surely I can’t be evolved enough to claim the death of my ego. But maybe I can declare the death of me “trying to keep it all together”, because really I want all of this to explode and open right up. I do want change. The problem is that I work so hard to only allow into my life the change that I want personally. And I think this is where I’ve got it all wrong.

The small dream life that I’ve built for myself, might just have to break apart, for it to truly evolve into an even bigger dream life. Perhaps the world doesn’t need me to force my way here and in this and in that, and as I let go for the ride, change I didn’t want happens, but some change I do does too.

It’s this evil challenge we all face. To want, but not to want. To force, but not to force. To change, but not to change. We try to keep ourselves in stability, in homeostasis, in safety, and in the known. Anything but the known provokes fear, whether we want to admit it or not.

Energetically, I believe we can trap ourselves within the box of the known, thinking we are avoiding fear and pain. We “expand” our lives through our effort of what we believe will bring us the change we seek. We “effort” the change in our lives through our will of what we believe is the easiest, and most enjoyable way to get there. But this effort, this control, this only “allowing” of what we deem is the way. This effort, and fake non-effort, is energetically exhausting. It is unsustainable, and is unyielding to a flowing way of change.

It’s as if the universe wants to be in harmony, it wants to be oneness. But we exert our will against it (because we mistakenly think it’s the right thing for a better world, a better life). But it actually isn’t. A lot of times our efforts aren’t in balance with the will of the universe. And that can be a hard concept to let go of. It can be hard to recognize. And it can be hard to surrender, in loving peace, to the greater good of oneness, of harmony. That is what being humble is. The calm peace that is yielding.

I feel it in my body. I feel it in my bones. My energy wants to flow in a way where I control it. Where I deem what’s ok, what’s in my comfort zone, what feels safe for me. I try to hold on, to keep it together, to keep myself inside the box where it feels safe.

But now the box must be too small, or I must be too big, because I am starting to feel the pressure again, that it’s not sustainable doing what I’m doing. Living as I am living. Being busy as I am being busy.

Which part is wrong? Which part needs to change? I don’t know. And humbly, I accept that I don’t know the best way to be in the flow right now. Humbly, I bow my head and ask for the grace of God to show me the way, because it’s now clear to me, this past way is not quite right, and I need to shift. Even if I have to throw myself to the wolves (because lets face it, making the true change that is needed, will require me to face the unknown, and that’s scary stuff).

So now as I write. I close my eyes, I let go of my intention, one final surrender of the downward flow to release this pain, this heaviness, this burden that I am trying to control, I release it. I let it go. I take deep breaths and exhale exhale exhale. Set it down, let it go.

My experiment for the day, is to constantly watch how I am ultilizing my energy to stay in a feeling of control, to stay in a feeling of safe. I aim to notice in what ways am I not breathing fully, or how I am not open to the flow that is happening (whether I want to be a part of it or not).

And today as I watch, I will present fearlessly my ideas, and humbly let the harmony of the world take them in, take me in, and then in full surrender and I will accept how it repoints me in the direction of the flow. I will walk softly, gently and without force. Lightly I will go so I can hear her whispers that point me toward the true harmony and love that through her Divine, I seek.

The yin way.

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