Yet another in a series of posts I wrote while vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina:
Today, I went kayaking for the first time in ages. I absolutely adore kayaking and have such fond memories of kayaking with Dad that it always makes me happy. Dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was in his thirties, so he couldn’t keep up with the rest of us when we skied, hiked, or danced. But in a kayak, Dad could out-row all of us, gliding along the water like a duck in heaven. Whenever we vacationed, my family would kayak, because we loved it, and because Dad could do it with us.
But having a three year old daughter has kept me from kayaking recently. The last time I kayaked, I was twenty-three weeks pregnant in Mendocino. So getting into a kayak today for the first time in four years gave me a major shot of mojo. I was grinning from ear to ear. It’s been so long that I kinda forgot how to kayak. You’d think it would be like riding a bicycle, but I guess not, because I found myself struggling, dripping water all over myself, paddling in circles, and getting stuck in the reedy bank.
My hunky guide with the rock hard abs and ripped chest said, “Lissa, you’re putting too much effort into it. Release your grasp on the paddle and don’t try so hard. You’re digging too deep, paddling too hard, flinging that paddle all over the place.” Easy for him to say! If I had muscles like him, I could glide like a bird too. But I was sweating already and we’d barely just begun, so I figured I’d listen to his advice.
He went on, “When you’re kayaking, you don’t need to put much effort into it at all. Just put your oar gently into the water, keep it pretty shallow, and let your oar glide through the water, just like this.” He demonstrated with a graceful, easy stroke that jetted him forward.
So I channeled my inner Pocahontas and imitated his stroke. And damn if the hunky guide wasn’t right. When I efforted less and let my oar glide gently through the water, I moved forward more quickly, and it didn’t hurt my muscles nearly as much. Before you knew it, I got my rowing mojo back and was drifting effortlessly down the river, having a good ol’ time and thinking of Dad.
Rowing silently on the peaceful, still river got me thinking about what my guide said. Isn’t life just like that? Isn’t it true that we sometimes put so much energy into efforting that we fail to achieve the ultimate goal? But when you surrender to the flow of life’s river and stop trying so hard, your goal rises up to meet you. I think of my infertile friend who struggled and efforted, trying to get pregnant, one in vitro cycle after another. When she and her husband finally gave up and signed the adoption papers, they conceived on their own. Or my friend who was so desperate to find the right guy that she signed up for every online dating site, suffered through blind dates every chance she got, and put an ad in the personals. Then when she finally gave up and decided she was swearing off dates forever, the perfect guy walked right into her life. Or my unemployed friend who sent out a gazillion resumes, tortured herself with a series of painful interviews, and suffered rejection after rejection. Then, when she finally surrendered and decided she would embrace the opportunity to just enjoy time off, a flood of job offers rolled in. Have you noticed the same thing?
I’ve recently surrendered the publication of my second book. My first book sold right away- no problem. But not my second one. I finished writing it a year ago, and my literary agent has spent the whole year working her ass off to try to sell it to a publishing company. It’s gone to the top of pub boards (the meetings where all the shirts sit around and decide whether or not they’re going to publish your book) a maddening number of times. Editor after editor has read my manuscript, fallen in love with it, and championed its publication to all the higher ups who fork over the cash and buy the book. Then someone at the top nixes it because I don’t fit neatly into anyone’s box. The book is a memoir about my life. It’s part doctor memoir, part spiritual journey, part girlfriend’s guide. But it doesn’t fit neatly into any one box.
So the marketing gurus don’t know how to sell it. They want me to put on my white coat, get up in my ivory tower, and act more like a doctor. But that’s not what my book is about, and it’s not who I am, so I don’t want to compromise what this book is. It’s been exceedingly frustrating because I believe (and my agent agrees) that the fact that my book doesn’t fit in a box is what makes it great.
But it’s been a year, and my agent can’t find a publisher. So what did I do? I finally surrendered it to Universe.
Maybe there’s a really good reason why my book is best left unpublished. Who am I to question the Universe and its destiny for me? So instead, I launched Owning Pink. I figure, if I can’t get my message across through that book, I won’t let it stop me from getting my message to you Pinkies. Since I stopped efforting, all kinds of beautiful things have been happening in my life, flowing in effortlessly. The more I go with the flow and quit struggling to make something happen, the more I attract magic, mystery, and mojo.
How ‘bout you, Pinkies? How are you expending too much energy, sweating and paddling and spinning in circles? Would you be willing to stop efforting and just surrender? Could you believe that if something isn’t happening, it’s because it’s either not supposed to or because you’re struggling too much and just need to release your death grip on whatever you’re trying to achieve? What if you just let it go- releasing it to the Universe and trusting that what is meant to happen will happen? What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?
What do you need to let go of? Can you do it? You just might be surprised how good it feels when you surrender to faith and trust in JABA (Jesus/Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Athena, etc). Let it go, Pinkies, and just go with the flow…
Floating (almost) effortlessly with the flow,
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