You know how when a concept enters your brain and you take note of it, everything around you seems to reflect the same thing? Like you’ve been pining for that long-lost vacation you may have had planned pre-pandemic and then every billboard is that magical white sand beach of your daydreams?
Last week, I read the following quotation and really took it in:
It takes strength and wisdom to live between effort and surrender. – Scott McGee
So I pondered this unnameable space between.
And then, Thanksgiving weekend hits. We are asked in every which way imaginable the same question, annually: So, what are you most grateful for?
We can and usually do give the rote (if accurate) answers. My family and friends. Having a roof over my head and food on my table. Hard to ‘compete’ with these big guns. Sometimes, bringing true attention to these for-granteds really does do the job of filling our souls with heart-expanding gratitude. Other times, we mention them, we mean them, but we don’t feel full. In these moments, we try really hard to find cracks of light in the shadows. It either works, or it leaves us exhausted and low.
Living between effort and surrender.
It comes back to me. I’m seeing it everywhere, remember?
It’s been a rough little go for a lot of us. Personal, professional, spiritual… whether physical, mental or emotional… the last year or two have brought us some collective and individual challenges. Often, we push our way through and past these. We use brawn and brain. Without question, effort is often required in order to move our way out of ruts and into wellness. But is it sometimes too much, ‘too hard”?
Other times, we surrender. We are either too tired, too burnt out, too out-of-ideas to continue the push. We lay back. We let the wave wash over and let ourselves move with the tide. No more fighting. This, too, can be the medicine necessary. Especially at first, it feels good to let go. When we stop the all the effort and grasping, we can usually gain some massive perspective. But how much time can go on before the passivity starts harming? Is it a week, a month? When is the efforting too little, “too soft”?
So… gratitude. When we’ve been living in that automatic, head-down, this-is-tough mode for so long, we could benefit greatly from some intentional looking up. When we’re saying it and not feeling it, when it’s feeling forced or out of alignment, it may be time for some surrender. More often than not, it’s about the space between.