One word. Allow. I recently completed a 30-day dream online course led by a good friend, and this is the word that has manifested as a core theme of learning that I’d like to carry as an intention word into the new year that’s approaching. Here are a few ways I am intending to apply this intention and I thought I’d share in case it resonates with anyone else 🙂
1) Allow whatever arises without judgment and let it flow through. Something that I can be guilty of is resenting difficult emotions and experiences that come up. It’s magnified if I had a certain expectation that was not met. Instead of just allowing this change and new experience, I am prone to fight against it, kicking and screaming inside my head at the unmet wish. Naturally, this makes everything even more challenging. A better approach would be to simply allow this new experience without judgment and preconceived expectations and let the energy flow to those unmet expectations.
2) Allow and hold space for discomfort and a whole range of feelings. Nobody really likes discomfort whether it is a physical discomfort or emotional one or both. When discomfort comes up, I often have the inclination to either distract and run from it or lock it away and compartmentalize. What happens in either situation is the energy of that discomfort gets stuck and later has a tendency to rear its head again or materialize in some way I didn’t expect (and not for the better). What I want to work on doing better is simply allowing and holding space for that discomfort. And moreover, allowing space for all emotions and sensations. This often means holding space for some flavor of discomfort alongside a more “comfortable” emotion or sensation.
3) Allow the energy to discharge. When I was first thinking about this idea, I thought about it in relation to unintentionally picking up and absorbing energy and emotions from others. This could be anywhere from feeling sad if a loved one is sad to getting upset after hearing about an awful happening on the news. While these reactions may be normal and are a sign of empathy, what isn’t healthy is if that reaction and energy gets stuck in our bodies. We need to consciously allow the whatever we may pick up as we go about our days and lives, to discharge and flow out. This of course applies to any emotions that we create from our own inner landscape as well (perhaps related to the first point on failed expectations or anything else). Otherwise, they get stuck and can pop up in all kinds of unsuspecting emotional, mental or physical ways.
A couple poems that I feel beautifully encapsulate this idea of allowing are Rumi’s “The Guesthouse” and Dana Faulds’s “Allow”; both are shared below.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.