Knowing when to push, when to surrender and when to quit

My life has been about going hard, pushing, struggle, winning. It has felt like the Sisyphus journey, constantly pushing a boulder up hill, only to have it slip back down again almost as I reach the top.

Recently I have been exploring the life of ease and flow. Tuning into the pace of the Universe, the pace of the unfolding of my business, the alignment between my business and my purpose. Not pushing to the tune of my own egoic pace, or the pace that other business people seem to espouse is ‘right’. (Go hard or go home…just do it…)

I have been questioning my beliefs around ease and success. What they really mean to me? Do I see ease as a fairly consistent state of possibility rather than some exceptional aberration?

As an endurance runner, I know well the feeling of being in the flow. And I know well the feeling of pushing. I have, on rare occasion, quit. Many times I have surrendered.

Flow is not effortless. Effort is involved. But the effort is more like turning on the ignition of your car. It starts.

Flow begins with showing up. The act of showing up, really showing up, is one few people take.

Sometimes flow is there, and sometimes it is not. 1000 things affect the presence of flow. The weather, the people, your attitude, what you ate recently, how much you slept…and all the tiny little biological and emotional events that make this now so unique.

As a runner, you take the flow when it arrives with grace and joy.

The days that it is not there a choice needs to be made if it is right for you to be running at all?  If the flow and rhythm are absent but you have no pain, then it is probably right for you to stay running…to ‘surrender’ through the lack of flow. Occasionally it arrives out of the blue when you do this. It is as it is.

As a high state of flow is more likely to be the exception, surrendering without attachment to the non-flow state is vital. Neither expect it or demand it.

Sometimes you have months when the flow seems to be absent. But you are still not really pushing…you are just not working with such a high degree of ease.

And then there are days where it is flat out wrong to be running at all. Either fatigue, injury, illness….on these days quitting, or not showing up at all, is smart.

Quitting is valid when not quitting will cost your health and well being.

So where does pushing come in, if at all? Pushing is a rare exception, not the norm. If I am running a marathon and I am in the last 10 kms, and it feels really hard (which it almost always will by this stage) choosing to keep going is the discipline. Actually, it is not even a push. Its a gathering in of all my resources, all my will, all my energy, all my breath. And not quitting. It is more the absence of quitting than the experience of pushing.

Pushing is relevant for very particular events, like the final moments before a baby is born. (That baby may be a real baby, or the new project) Push too soon and you will do damage and/or waste energy. Rarely is pushing as a way of being either sustainable or productive. It can feel productive, because we have been seduced to think that being busy is being productive. But for the most part, pushing is a waste of energy, effort and time.

The question I am asking…after a life time of pushing…how different would my life and work be if I showed up fully, in alignment, and went with the flow? Inviting, attracting, being, demonstrating, living….but rarely pushing? And when I do push, doing so with a great deal of discernment?

This requires enormous trust and surrender and an attunement to timing.

I am truly over the pushing…maybe it is time to give this alternative path a committed chance?

 

Photo credit:

Creative Commons License dann o_O via Compfight

 

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