Dear Yogis, Travelers, and Healthy Lifestyle Enthusiasts,
I’m back from our retreat in Spain, and it was fabulous! I thought I would blog from there, but technical difficulties ensued and I was only able to upload some photos to my Facebook page. I’ll write about it as soon as I unpack and have a chance to go through my photos, but in the meantime I want to talk about a great little book that my friend Beth recommended to me. It’s called Outrageous Openness and it’s by Tosha Silver.
This little gem is about 180 pages on e-book, and it’s a collection of stories that illustrate the power of letting the Divine take the lead. Please note that this is not about being passive, it is not tied to a religion, and anyone can do this. Also note that you can call the force that lives within each of us anything you want: the Divine, God, the Universe, Goddess, the Holy Spirit, the higher self, Prana, Chi, Krishna, etc., etc. I once went to a Puja where we chanted the one-thousand names of God in Sanskrit. Not one-thousand gods — one-thousand names of God. With all the cultures, traditions, and languages in the world there are bound to be lots of different words for the Divine, so please don’t get hung up on words and let that stop you from growing in spirit. Use the word that resonates for you — intention is everything.
Anyway, Tosha Silver demonstrates the power in offering our circumstances to the Divine. Offering a situation to the Divine creates space for the Universe to provide the best outcome for you. Then you go on about your business and pay attention to the signals that guide you to action. Basically, it’s a way to live in flow. Instead of fighting with the Universe and trying to push and pull to get your way, you offer it up and allow the Universe to bless you.
I’ve lived much of my life this way. I attribute this mind-set to being able to support myself and my son on a yoga teacher’s salary when I was a single mother. On paper, it seemed impossible to live on what I was making, yet miracles kept happening and we always had enough to pay the bills, eat healthy food, and we even got to go to Costa Rica many times because I ended up with a job there. Here’s an example of a situation that I gave to the Divine:
I was driving a 14-year old Honda, and my mother was worried sick about what I would do when that car finally gave up the ghost since I didn’t even have enough money to buy a bicycle. She’d call me in a panic and say, “What are you going to do when that car dies?”
I’d say, “I don’t know, but I think something is going to happen.”
“What do you mean, something is going to happen?” (My mom is a very practical person and doesn’t have patience for silly, magical thinking.)
I imagined that maybe I’d win a car, or that someone I knew would buy a new car and give me their old one. I just knew I didn’t have to worry about it, and not worrying is definitely a lot easier and provides a lot more space and freedom than getting anxious about the unknown. So this is what happened:
I met my future husband, Jorge, in a salsa dancing class. While we were dating I had to take my son to a college visit that was two hours away. Jorge was worried that my car wouldn’t make the trip, and he offered to switch cars with me for the day. He dropped off his BMW and got into my car and took off for work. I had never seen my car in motion from the outside, and it was quite a sight. Most of the paint had worn off the hood. It had several dents and was missing a hubcap, and a large plume of blue smoke streamed from the tail pipe. This car might have been fitting for a free-spirited yoga teacher, but it looked absolutely ridiculous with a business man wearing a suit behind the wheel. It even made a putt-putt sound as it stuttered down the road. With that image in my mind, I laughed like a hyena all the way to Richmond.
Jorge called me later and said, “I can’t believe you’ve been driving that car. It’s not safe. I had to postpone my morning meeting because I was dizzy from the fumes.” I told him to make sure to keep the windows down no matter what the weather.
He was so concerned about me that he let me keep driving his car. Eventually he bought a brand new BMW for me so he could have his car back. I had a neighbor who was mechanically handy and had to walk 7 miles to work every day, so I gave him my car, and he was happy to have it. So that’s the “something” that happened.
Recently I’ve been listening to all of those voices that say I have to push and grab and make things happen for my business. I need an elevator speech, and I have to think about SEO and I need to network more, advertise more, do more, etc. So I’ve been trying that, but things have not improved and I certainly feel worse — I’ve been more worried and anxious about the state of my business than ever before.
Outrageous Openness was just the reminder I needed to go back to living in flow, living in Spirit. Will my business pick up? Will I get more readers for my blog? I don’t know, but I know that I’m not worried about it. I offer my business to the Universe and I know that those who need what I have to offer will find me, and I don’t have to worry about the rest. Not having this burden in my mind creates the space I need to be more creative, more contemplative — and that means I have more to offer.
It’s a huge relief to live this way. For me it was easy to slip back into my old pattern, but if you’re new to giving up control, it will take some practice. While reading this book, I often read one chapter and then sit with it and let it marinate. I go back and read the stories again and again. Tosha Silver is funny, honest, and really knows what she’s talking about. I highly recommend this book.