I really like a new book entitled Dropping the Struggle by Roger Housden. Through poetry and relaxed prose he encourages us to drop struggling for a number of things . . . to be special, . . . for a perfect life, . . .. for meaning and purpose, . . . for love, . . . with time, . . . with change, . . . and even to know. The main idea is to trust life and let go of forcing things in these areas. Thoughtful effort, yes; struggle, no. Housden’s main point is very consistent with the rest that works.
What I particularly like is Housden’s ability to point out the moon without trying to define the indefinable - such as a heartfelt, romantic feeling the moon might inspire. He invites the reader to enter and appreciate the nuances of life by staying open to the aspects of our experience beyond our control. Open acceptance forms a very different posture from forceful struggling, and dropping the latter is often a key to living the former. Housden helps us makes space to experience the unforced aliveness at work in each and every moment of our lives.
Case in point: As I write, I am flying over the Midwest. The moon is alluring and bright. What's been particularly fun for me is that the moonlight has been reflecting off a river as we've flown parallel with it (I think it’s the Mississippi since we are flying from Dallas to Minneapolis). The river’s twists and turns, breadth and beauty is being momentarily illuminated in gentle flashes. It's one of the most subtly beautiful things I've ever seen. I tried to take a video of it but my phone keeps automatically turning on a bright light, which simply reflects off the glass (hiding everything below). The assumptions and sensors built into my phone are causing it to try to force a certain situation it “thinks” would be ideal. It's trying to take control and add more light. But by doing so, it renders itself incapable of witnessing, let alone recording, the beautiful show below. Because of certain assumptions, my phone’s makers made it blind to the wonder of this moment. The forceful approach built into it simply doesn't work in this case.
Dropping the Struggle helps us let go of the assumptions that might get in the way of being present to the wonders of life, inside and out. Our assumptions and expectations push a lot of “shoulds.” We think, “I should be this way,” or “this should be that way” and get caught in trying to force things or people to be the way we think they should be instead of accepting them as they are and loving creatively from there. It’s advice is in keeping with the old saying, “Don’t should on me!” but in this case it would be, “Don’t should on yourself!” Dropping the “shoulds” in certain areas of life drops struggling that could never work anyway. Moving beyond the struggling is a key step toward peace and joy.
We feel most alive as the creative forces of Life in us rise to meet the creative forces of Life around us. Graceful acceptance of what is allows deep knowing and creative love to emerge in any moment. That’s what Dropping the Struggle and the rest that works are all about. I heartily recommend this book. (The interview above gives a good feel for it. If you’re interested in the book, it’s available at www.newworldlibrary.com/).
Thanks for journeying together and have a great day!
(The next series on the rest that works starts October 5th. Here are the details if you’re interested http://www.therestthatworks.com/events-calendar.html)