“I let it go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.” ― Joanne Harris
I was catching up with a friend the other day (as you do), and they were telling me in absolute frustration about a situation of theirs that just wouldn’t change, despite their best efforts. They’d tried every which way of going about it, and yet they kept coming up against obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. It all sounded very familiar… I’d been there before… a number of times…and for an extended period.
A few years ago, my circumstances were completely turned on their head. It had in fact been a long time coming, but I’d managed to navigate around all the warning signs until one winter overseas when it hit me that I literally had no more options left bar one. So I took my only remaining path and moved back to my childhood home in the country, back in with my parents. But I also decided it was only temporary – this intense fatigue and moving home thing was just a little blip. I’d give myself a one-year sabbatical, and then I’d continue on with my life as planned – travel, professional writing, romance, money, energy and choice. The thing is, life had other ideas.
It seemed that after that year everything I tried to recapture of my old life was doomed. The more I tried to get away from where I was, the worse it all became. I was stuck and incredibly angry and frustrated.
Finally, when I realised that once again that I really didn’t have any other options left, I accepted my situation. I accepted that this was obviously where I was meant to be – whether I liked it or not. I decided to stop fighting life, as maybe there was something I had to learn –perhaps patience and acceptance? Perhaps even to trust that there was order, meaning and purpose to my life, even though I couldn’t see it right now.
And just like that, life began to flow again. When I stopped fighting life, it stopped fighting me.
But, my friend asked, isn’t this giving up? Where would anyone get in life if they didn’t use a bit of will-power to push past those boundaries and/or obstacles?
I had to admit that I’d asked the very same questions, and I hadn’t quite come up with all the answers. Determination, will-power and persistence had stood me in good stead a number of times before, so how did I know when it was time to let go? What is the difference between acceptance and quitting?
At the moment, I know it’s time for acceptance when a situation is consistently draining and overwhelming, rather than an energising challenge. I know that if things just aren’t working, whatever I do – it’s time to let go of that particular dream or goal…for now. I need to accept that it isn’t right for right now.
And maybe, just maybe, we need to have a little more faith in God, the processes of the Universe or even in simply in ourselves to “roll with the punches”?
I’m still working on these questions, but what about you, what do you think?
Do you fight life or go with the flow?
How do you define acceptance?