The other night I had dinner with a dear friend whose 96-year-old father passed away a few weeks ago. Always being extremely close with her father she told me, “All of these years, I thought I would have an absolute breakdown when my father died, but I have actually been really good!”

Day after day, I hear stories from people who think they know how they will react, what is best for them, and how things should happen. They tell themselves all sorts of things like:

 

  • I will never…get divorced, get married again, move in with someone, date a same-sex partner, a person of a different race, religion, or nationality, or someone ten years older or younger than myself.

  • There is no way I could…sing karaoke, do public speaking, eat raw food, run a marathon, live anywhere but NYC, travel by myself, work with a partner, jump out of a plane.

  • My child won’t…go away to school, live with their other parent, play football, go into the family business.

  • I could never…be friends with that person, make it on my own, emotionally survive the loss of a loved one.

 

But then something happens and Boom, they are confronted with some situation that challenges or conflicts with their belief system. They are faced with the dilemma of breaking out of the self-imposed box they have put themselves in or stepping over the line in the sand which they have drawn. They are confronted with giving up the safety of the self they have known themselves to be as well as the false sense of security that comes with their myopic definition of themselves. They are challenged with giving up control and stepping into the vulnerability and the sobering thought that they may not have a clue!

Although I am a great believer in learning from our past and being conscious of what has and has not served our highest, I have come to realize that often thinking we know ourselves limits ourselves.

Many of our self-imposed rules, although masquerading in the guise of “this is what is best for me,” come from our ego’s need to control, to protect us, or to be right. Driving this ego’s need is generally some shadow, some fear that if we let go or at all digress from the self or beliefs that we think we know, our lives might spin out of control. Unfortunately, when we are in this place of attachment to thinking we know, we resist any outcome but the one we want or are attached to. Our present becomes a repeat of our past, and any new possibilities for the future cease to exist because we are locked in the prison of the person that we know ourselves to be. We become firmly entrenched in our righteousness, seeing things as black and white, good or bad, right or wrong. We become rigid in our perspectives and lose touch with the fact that our righteous positions are not the truth but thoughts that we have turned into truths. And even though our ego on some level is trying to protect us, on the other hand, since it is fueled by fear and shrouded in shadows, the result is that our ego limits us and actually keeps us from breaking free from the cage of our comfort zone and taking a leap of faith or waking up to what might be right in front of us that we’ve been too blind or fearful to see.

An antidote to thinking that we know is surrender.

As Debbie Ford writes in her book Courage:

When we surrender and let go, we must resign as general manager of the universe. We must mind our own business. We must stop believing that we are in control of everything. We must take our power where it lives – in this moment – and surrender to a path even if we don’t know where the path is going. The hardest part of turning our lives over to the care of a power greater than ourselves and choosing surrender over control is that we have to resign from this lofty position. We have to give up our way of doing things, our effort to control the situations and circumstances of our lives. We must let go of the things we believe to be true. The truth is that we really have no idea where the universe is trying to guide us.

I have come to realize the more I learn, the less I truly know. For me, a person who always tried to “get it right” and keep myself safe, it is now with a sigh of relief and a smile that I can admit, “I have no clue!” And for me, that is the good news! It is the exciting part. It is exciting to think I have no clue what is in my highest. It is exciting to trust that if the Universe is bringing me to it or it to me, then there must be a reason. Life becomes like a great treasure hunt, never knowing where the next clue might lead but believing that there will be gold…even in the dark.

So this week I invite you to join me on a treasure hunt, to open up to the miracles and magic that are dancing right in front of you, to open up to a whole new level of possibilities and wonderment by letting go of what you think you know!

As Lao Tzu said, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

Transformational Action Steps

 

  • Make a list of situations in your life where you are experiencing some sort of frustrations or conflict.

  • Pick one situation:

      • Allow yourself to see how you have been trying to control the situation. Is there a particular outcome that you think should happen or are attached to? How has your attachment to that outcome impacted the situation?

      • Now imagine yourself cutting the cord of your attachment and letting go of what you think you know. What can you now see is possible?

      • If you were to admit to yourself that you have no clue what is “right” or “the way,” what other perspectives can you see?

      • If you were trusting that what was showing up was as it should be, what new insights can you glean?