How to Do Less (to do more)

This funny thing happens when I go to Winners: if I go in looking for something, anything, specific, it is guaranteed to not be there.  Shoes won’t be my size, jeans won’t exist, they’re fresh out of white towels, the great pasta that is always there, and has been stocked there for years, will suddenly be discontinued.  However, if I go into Winners just for the hell of it, I’ll walk out with all the things, even the obscure stuff that I had no idea where to even start looking for.  It’s like as soon as I release expectations of what I hope to find, all the good stuff comes to me.

I was thinking about this on the drive home from exactly that kind of a Winners trip the other day, and that last line hit me hard: as soon as I release expectation, all the good stuff comes to me.  Stuff I didn’t even know I was looking for but definitely have been needing, tends to find me.

A couple weeks ago, my best friend looked at me (while I was in prime mid move / reno meltdown mode) and said: “do less.”  Just a few days after that, my aunt had the same conversation with me: “Leisse – do less.”  My response, of course, was that if I were to do less, everything would fall apart.  All of it.  I constantly feel that I have to drive this ship, and take control of all the moving pieces, to ensure that everything runs smoothly.  Many of us do this with many aspects of our lives: we work to stay in control of our relationships, our parenting, our jobs, our bigger career goals, our families, our schedules, our ability to get pregnant, all of it.  It’s like we think that “if we can just” stay ahead, control all the details, things will work out exactly how we need.

Well crap, guys; it doesn’t work like that.

When we force things, we tend to lose sight of the big picture.  Ironically, it’s usually the big picture we’re trying to preserve by controlling all the details:

“I have to make my body a perfect temple so I can get pregnant.”

“I have to be on all the dating apps so I don’t miss out on meeting the one.”  “I have to enroll my kids in extra

“I have to enroll my kids in extra curriculars so they’ll develop body positivity and empathy and team skills and get involved so they won’t do drugs in their teens.”

“I have to do everything perfectly at work and stay ahead of schedule so I can predict a better outcome for our team, and climb that ladder just a little faster.”

I am a big believer in setting intentions, and even in the ability to manifest that which we truly desire.  The thing is, everything we want, everything we do, takes time and patience.  We can intend, declare, desire, and ritualize all of that to put a plan into fruition and make it happen – and in my short experience on this planet, it does.  It’s almost eerie sometimes, when the exact thing you’ve been craving appears – the phone rings with the perfect job offer, a cheque arrives in the mail, the right social scenario opens up and you make a new connection.  And it feels so good to be in that space of alignment, that we want more.  We want to get real with our desires, and keep calling in the miracles.

But sometimes, and I would argue most times, part of the success in getting what you want, and finding what you need, comes from letting go.  We have to be open to letting things happen on their own timeline, on their own course, in the time that it takes.  And we absolutely cannot control that.  Weirdly, we have to do less, in order to do more.

And we absolutely cannot control that.  Weirdly, we have to do less, in order to do more.

When we feel like we’re losing grip or are otherwise not in control, we can start to force things; forcing things makes us feel great in the short term, because the focus we apply to diligently making something happens distracts us from the fear that we might not get what we want.  It makes us feel like we have more control than we do.  But over time, forcing and forcing will leave us feeling worse, when our efforts don’t pan out.

Conversely, if we make our intentions clearly known, and engage in supporting them (versus the “I will do this come hell or high water” mentality), we have the freedom to just let go, and let the natural course of life flow over us.  Get your tree hugging hippie on, because this works.  Get clear on what you want, write it down, and say it out loud.

That might be the baby, the partner, the family, the job, the house…even the perfect size 10 leopard heel.

Release the control over whatever it is you so desperately want, exhale, and trust that everything you want and need is on the way, often a better version than you can even imagine right now.  You do not need to force or rush anything.  Set your intention for what you really want, and then let it go, knowing that what is for you is coming; the wait will be worth it.

 

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