Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board


I am in the process of launching some new products and projects: an online course called Empowered Wellness Through Self-Care, and, The Juju Company. They began as inspired ideas and now I am in the thick of the difficult, challenging, sometimes messy act of making them a reality.

Doing the Heavy Lifting

Which reminds me of that team-building exercise where four people pick up one person using only two fingers of each hand. Two of the times I participated in Nikken’s Humans Being More program we did this. The largest person in each group of five would be chosen to be in the seat in the center. The other four of us would position ourselves at one of the ‘corners’ of this person. One at each armpit, one at each knee, we stood at the ready.

Choosing the largest person helped to confirm the impression that it should be impossible to lift this person using only our index and middle fingers. We were instructed to use physical effort and on the count of three, lift. Of course, the laws of physics were firmly in place and we experienced the failure we expected.

Next, we were instructed that on the count of three we were to lift with no consciously directed effort or force, merely relax and allow. One, two, three, and voila! The laws of physics were excused from class and four people using only two fingers of each hand lifted this ‘largest’ person as if they weighed no more than a marshmallow.

Except for me.

Failure Through Strength

The two times I was assigned to be on a corner, I failed. I was unable to let go of my desire to use effort and force of will. I struggled to LIFT and was unable to duplicate the unstrained success of my teammates. I looked across and to the side of me and watched as they, smilingly, effortlessly, raised our man (they were nearly always men since they tended to be the largest) up into the air.

Did I not believe it was possible? That could not have been why. I did believe it because I’d seen it done and was seeing it being done. Smaller people than me had achieved this magical result. What was preventing me from trusting? What was it I did not trust? Was it me that I did not trust? Was it my three teammates? These are questions that befuddle me to this day.

Then there was the fact that because I was continuing to use force of will and effort, my corner of the person being lifted would sag, threatening to be poured out onto the floor. So not only was my use of force impeding my success, it threatened the success of the entire team and the physical safety of the very trusting volunteer in the center. This triggered even more effort on my part in order to keep him from slipping to the floor in a heap. Thankfully, by then, the group would have him lowered back into his chair.

It’s a Metaphor

This concept is something I have experienced in my life as I imagine and give birth to new ideas and new projects. At the beginning, the idea is light and free and flows effortlessly from my heart and mind. At some point I turn a corner and am met by sticky logistical problems, gooey details, and leviathan gaps in technology. At this, I default to ramping up my effort, often with success. After all, we do need to show up and take action in order to make change happen.

This doesn’t last. There is a fine line between showing up and a show of force, between a posture of trust and a stance of attack.

What’s different about those two ideas, trusting and allowing versus focused, directed effort may be best explained by Deepak Chopra in his book, Creating Affluence: The A to Z Steps to a Richer Life. He talks about having goals and knowing about the gap, the gap between thoughts. That deep silence in which our inner wisdom resides.

“It is important to have a clear goal in your awareness but it is also important to relinquish your attachment to the goal. And the goal is in the gap. And the gap is the potentiality to organize and orchestrate the details required to effect any outcome.”

When Deepak talks about the gap, he describes it as a window and a corridor, as the place where the personal psyche communicates with the cosmic psyche. Holding onto attachment to the outcome only pulls you out of the gap and leaves you straining and sweating as you try to push the ‘largest’ person up into the air using only two tiny fingers.

You Got This

I was hoping that writing this post would lead me to a third-eye-opening epiphany about my question: How do I navigate this boggy terrain of manifestation? I know it has something to do with showing up, doing the work, and, letting go, all at the same time. As we would say when I was a nature mentor for teens, ‘you got this!’ Neither the teen, nor I, would be able to say exactly how it was that they would be able to ford that slippery, cold stream, or clamber up those boulders, and yet, the act of saying ‘you got this!’ convinced us both that they would. In that moment, we were poised in the gap.

Like Deepak observes and those teens proved, having a clear goal and a commitment to reaching it, all the while releasing an attachment to that goal results in success. Who knows if the outcome will look exactly like I imagine, the real juice is in the trusting.