There is a flow to wake-up calls. A pattern that has a way of repeating itself, that – overtime – has become a familiar way of delivering its wisdom exactly at the timing I apparently needed. These wake-up calls don’t ask me whether I am ready, nor do they check my calendar to make sure the timing and the star alignment is fitting for me (how dare they, right?!).
They simply show up, uninvited, and sneak into my awareness without knocking first. As I write it, I think that perhaps they were invited, but not by my conscious human self, personality, or the ego. There was something else at play, whether my deeper Essence, True Self, or some kind of a Higher Consciousness that saw what I needed at this very moment. And made an executive decision to dispatch one my way.
“The only thing that is truly ours is the life that’s in our body that wants to unfold. Everything that we think, all our plans and all our values, all our projects, our self-image, our sense of personal identity—all of that is beside the point of what needs to happen right now.” – Reggie Ray
The lesson in surrendering to the gifts and wisdom of these wake-up calls was one that took me a very long time to master, and required a lot of repetition. If this last sentence sounds like it is all in past tense… it is not. This particular lesson appears to be of a lifelong kind. Practice, they say, helps build capacity, and it is certainly true here too. I’d like to say that I am able to remain open and welcome these uninvited guests when they choose to make their appearance; at least, better than how I used to be.
The juicy thing that I am reflecting upon here is what happens after.
“When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love. And in-between these two, my life turns.” – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
What follows the wake-up call is a process, or a phase, of surrendering to what is happening, which really means letting go of the agenda about the reality-in-the-moment that I might have had. I likely did, if I know myself well enough. The process is really the same in things both big and small, from wanting to get a particular professional gig/contract (and not getting it – could be substantial, depending on the gig) to wanting to go for a bike ride (and it starts raining – a small thing). When my wishes and desires clash with the reality that is happening, surrender is called for. In the past, true to my Enneagram Type 8, a lot of resistance, willfulness, and force was my initial reaction. There is a whole lot less of that these days, and a lot more of the softening, opening, and welcoming presence of surrender.
I thought I have learned that one very well, the surrendering of my plans and wishes, and accepting the reality that is emerging. The accepting part. Yet, this is not where the wake-up process ends. Apparently, there is one more nuance to address.
In a fairly spontaneous and unplanned manner, I found myself in Fiji during the recent year-end holiday season. When I landed, I found out that this was the worst possible time to be to Fiji. The torrential rain season has started, and with it, a blend of heat and humidity, which is something I really dislike. To augment it even more, there were lots of mosquitoes. And given that I went for 3 weeks, I had a wonderful and juicy opportunity to look even deeper into this theme of surrendering and accepting.
It did start with accepting the fact that the weather and the mosquitoes are not going to cooperate with me in the way I wanted and hoped. While it did ease my experience of such a reality, to an extent, it was still somewhat incomplete. During the first few days, I have noticed moments of conversations in my head that indicated of a certain quiet, deep-seated, resistance to what has been happening. There was a constriction within me, which led to a deeper inquiry of the experience I was having. And, given the weather, what else was there to do?!
“Use a mirror in difficult times: You will see both the cause and resolution.” – Tao
This inquiry led me to the realization that I was not fully owning my experience and my choice to take myself to Fiji. When I did, fully, the resistance I have been feeling faded away, allowing me to fully embrace what was happening in these seemingly non-ideal conditions.
Accepting + Owning = Embracing
Embracing the experience and the reality I was facing made the rest of the time much more enjoyable, even though the weather didn’t change, nor did the mosquitoes disappear.