Getting in the Flow
"That's not your hole, babe."
I hear the phrase uttered in the crystal clear silence of the carpeted conference room.
I barely register the gentle but firm tone directed right at me - bruised elbows stretched against the carpet, my body and mind are contorted with concentration and effort. The clear directive is to desist. The teammates around me slowly back away from their poses, avoiding my eyes as they help me with my fourth attempt through the giant human spider web.
I am awash with anger and shame as my attempt is abandoned.
The feeling is familiar. How many times have you been absolutely determined to make something work, trying again and again, refusing to observe the mounting evidence that the timing or strategy will never work?
We are in the middle of a two hour silent leadership exercise in which our group must pass all 25 people through holes in a giant rope web without touching the rope itself. The rules of the exercise are mind numbing: Any touch to the rope requires we start over, easy holes are rendered off limits after two people pass through.
Patience and energy are running thin at the 1.5 hour mark.
For my part, I hung back, evaluating the web and scoping out my perfect sized hole: Close to the ground, just my shape, requiring the right amount of athleticism and minimal group assistance to get through.
At just the right moment I pounce, trying first once, then a second time, then a third - each time my teammates touch the rope and my frustration mounts. When finally the phrase "that's not your hole, babe" is uttered from our instructor, my temper breaks and I storm to the back of the room, defeated and indignant.
How often in life do we attach to the one way - the one path, the one project, the one partner, the one promotion - determined to make it work no matter what? That laser focus on the clear and obvious plan, and the feeling that it should work, no matter what, quickly clouds our ability to take stock and change directions.
When the flow of life is working in your favor, there is no forcing it. The path feels effortless, guided and timed perfectly; solutions reveal themselves and you can dance with the thing that wants to be created.
Deepak Chopra in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success calls this the Law of Least Effort: The principle of least action, of no resistance. Deepak says the first component is acceptance, making a commitmenet that “today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur.” This means knowing that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be.
When I finally made it through the web, it was almost by accident – carried by a dozen hands through a center hole I never would have picked on my own, so easy and quick that I barely noticed it was happening.
Where are you forcing the things in your life? Where have you grabbed on, refusing to let go, despite repeated attempts to make it happen?
My experience on the rope web has become a wake up call for anytime I find myself forcing a decision, pushing hard again and again for something I want or trying the same tactic multiple times without success. The trip to the grand canyon that keeps getting rescheduled for a year. The accountant who keeps blowing me off. The way I'm sure my business must grow in the next year for it to thrive.
Not my moment. Not my turn. Not my hole.
There is a gentleness to this realization, as there always is with surrender and allowance, that I find comforting and reassuring. Maybe it is not my job to make anything happen at all but rather to work with the universe in co-creation, honoring with ease and grace that thing that wants to come into being?
What if the force creating your life is revealing each miracle in its own perfect timing, and your only job is to tune in and pay attention.
This does not exclude us from applying effort to the things we want, from tossing our hats into the ring, from building a strategy moving forward with full energy and commitment.
But when things seem to stall, or get stuck, or fail again and again - open yourself to the possibility that it does not have to be hard. Open to the other options that might be calling you, or the prospect that maybe you'll be carried through your next hole to your own surprise and delight. Open to the magic and mystery of the unfolding that cannot be rushed.
The outcomes on the other side might just defy your wildest expectations.