I read a delicious book while camping. Well two, but I’m referring to ‘magical journey, an Apprenticeship in Contentment by Katrina Kenison. And yes, she doesn’t capitalize her title.
Surrender? To how things are, not how I want them to be? I chastise myself for my inability to do so, then quickly confront that negative voice.
“Look at your life, your past, your struggles. Have some compassion. Is it no wonder you dig in your heels and say, NO! NOT ME. NOT EVER AGAIN!
With heels dug in, the moat ready, and all soldiers ready, I say NO, to me, to you, to life. I overdo to make do. And in the process lose all flavor. By trying too hard, consuming too much, I lose everything; the nuances, taste, smell, touch, the looks between others, the richness, depth, intensity, vibrancy, the hum of humanity.
Adirondacks in the woods; colder and rainier than the last thirty years. But I don’t mind, until day five of pitter patter on the camper roof. I wake with the birds, before five, finally happy to have a good night’s sleep. The night before, the percolator had been prepared, pressing the coffee grounds down, packed tight in hopes of a cup in the morning strong enough to penetrate a sleepy brain.
After sitting awhile by the fire, restocked with fresh paper, kindling and wood on top of the overnight embers, I pour a cup, adding cream. Yuck. Creamy water.
Sitting awhile, I ponder why. For the last few years I cannot make a good cup of camp coffee.
Too much. Too tight. Removing half the grounds, I perk it again. Better. By trying too hard, by pressing too hard for a desired result, I lose what I want, need and am looking for; to be in the moment, but more so, in me. That may sound weird for those, including my husband, who have taken for granted the normalcy of wholeness. That is not something I have. Instead, I’ve lived a life of disconnect, shattered.
Yes, I want good camp coffee, a good full life, where the parts connect. But ease up. Surrender. Take it as it comes?
That will be hard for me. I’ve dug in my heels and said, “NEVER AGAIN.” That stance makes it seem like I had any choice. I didn’t. I do now. But I am always too tight, too ready to fight. Too clenched, all of my body and its parts.
Surrender? Not on your life. Yet that is what I need to do. Relax a bit. Let things unfold, let others unfold, and not control everything, direct traffic, which I can’t do anyway and lose so much in the trying.
See what is, accept, surrender. Sounds good. Doing so is harder, and may be my life’s work.
A few dental hygienists have asked if I grind my teeth. No. But as I drift off to sleep my jaw grips tight as if in defense. I’m ready to fight even then. I’ve led a life in defense of what comes next, the next attack, fists ready, jaws clenched.
Relax, unwind, surrender.
These are things to work on. Compassion leads the way. Gentleness. Gifts are to be had, if I dare relax my stance just a wee bit. She repeats it in her book. Practice, keep practicing.
I want to break out in song, Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!