Releasing Needs

Every so often I get stuck in a thinking loop and can’t get out.

Has that ever happened to you? Something seems to keep playing over and over and won’t let go, sort of like when gum gets stuck on the bottom of your sneaker. Ugh!

In this case, it was more of a ‘phrase’ that got attached to my brain. It repeated and forced me to consider it in more depth, even though I just wanted to get past it.

The phrase was, ‘as soon as you don’t need it, it can happen’.

There wasn’t any particular ‘it’ that I was thinking about. ‘It’ was just a general thought and could stand for anything.

I wanted to dispatch this notion and move on, but I couldn’t, so I surrendered and began to pick the phrase apart.

I was shocked by the depth this statement held for me and wondered if it might hold some value for you, as well.

My temptation was to read it quickly, as if I would inherently understand its meaning. As I struggled with it, I tried inserting different things for the ‘it’, for instance; ‘as soon as you don’t need others help, it can happen (they will help you).’

Hmmm, did that fit at all? My response…not really. There didn’t seem to be a direct connection I could see.

I tried another one, ‘as soon as you don’t need money, it can happen (money will appear)’. There were a couple of things wrong with this. First, who doesn’t need money? Second, if I didn’t need money, what difference would it make if it appeared?

Something was definitely missing, but what?

I tried other substitutions without any success. Perhaps I was going about it the wrong way. Maybe the value was in deconstructing the phrase, so I picked it apart, starting with the word, ‘need’. That seemed to be the key.

‘Need’ is a deep word to me, representing a statement of what I think or feel I want. But why do I want something? Where does the ‘need’ come from?

Clearly, ‘need’ represents an acknowledgement that I am missing something in my life. Whatever word I use in a sentence that follows the word ‘need’, becomes my focus. It represents a lack in my life.

So, what’s the connection that gives rise to meaning here?

After some more struggle I realized, I was trying too hard. I was overthinking. When I do this, I have to coach myself to step back and look at things from a distance. So, I closed my eyes and slowed my breathing and after a few minutes I came back to it.

And there it was, right in front of me.

‘Need’ for me is a loaded word. Every time I use it, it places some distance between me and the object of my need. The mere usage of the word prevents my need from being filled.

‘Need’ acknowledges ‘not having’ and ‘wanting’. It is self-fulfilling and all I end up with is a greater sense of ‘needing’, as if my initial ‘need’ creates more every time I think about it or say it. ‘Need’ blocks access and saps my energy.

Initially, I didn’t understand the ramification of this. It was only when I reached deeper into it that the meaning arose.

The phrase, ‘as soon as you don’t need it, it can happen’ became two sentences, not one.

And it offered me this…surrendering my ‘need’ frees me to receive and it unblocks my way forward. It allows me to think about things from another perspective, one that is creative and energetic. I can rephrase and direct my attention to helpful ideas and solutions that benefit me.

I’m glad I worked my way through this pesky phrase and hope it offers you some meaning too.

New Growth

There comes a point when I realize I need to let go of something in order experience new growth. Although this can be very difficult, I know it’s what I want and need. The hard part is deciding what to surrender in order to find a way forward.

In our upstairs bathroom I have an ivy plant. It’s really the first plant I’ve ever personally taken care of. It’s a job I take seriously. My ivy and I have a routine, a little ritual ceremony. Every Sunday, I pour a small cup of water on the dirt that surrounds the plants stems. After this I place my hands under the flowing water from the tap and then allow the excess water to drip from my fingers onto each ivy leaf. As I do this, I offer it wishes for good health. Then I close my eyes and let my hands hover just above the ivy’s outstretched leaves and send it loving energy.

Once in a while, when I open my eyes, I notice the leaves quivering a bit. I like to see this. It feels like a response. A connection between us. It’s beautiful and I feel closer to my ivy.

It seemed to thrive, sending up new shoots at the base and new leaves on the older stems. When the new leaves sprout, they are such a gorgeous shade of green, far different than the mature leaves. They are tiny at first, but then spread out and grow, unfurling and swelling in size.

We’ve been together now for many years and recently it needed a new container. It had outgrown the original smaller one and wanted more room to spread out. So, my wife repotted it, she being better at plant things than I am.

Everything went well and my ivy continued to flourish. That is, until we went on an eight-day vacation. I thought to myself, it should be okay, after all it’s only one more day than usual.

I watered it before we left and gave it a tiny bit extra.

We returned home and I went upstairs to check on it.

Disaster.

It looked so unhappy. Many of the leaves had dried out and no matter how much extra care I gave it, the leaves didn’t come back to life. Of the five stems, three looked really bad. I wondered what I should do. I felt as though the soil could no longer support all five stems and that if I didn’t do something soon, all of them would die.

Whether it was the right or wrong thing, I decided to cut the three stems that were withering. I felt I needed their surrender so that the remaining two could thrive.

So far, it’s worked. The two stems now have some healthy new beautiful green leaves forming. I am so happy to see them and welcome them into our world with love.

I wonder what would have happened if I couldn’t allow myself to surrender the dying stems. I think the whole plant would have died.

After some reflection, it became clear to me that this same process exists inside of me. What am I holding onto that is withering my spirit? What do I need to let go of or release?

It’s kind of hard to know the answer to this. I can’t just look at my outside world and see, like I can with the plant leaves.

It’s trickier than that and I wonder what gauge I can use to measure with.

So, instead of looking outside, I glance inward. I move beyond appearances and my thinking mind, to a place where my feelings reign. When I arrive, I ask one simple question, ‘how do I feel?’

I realize this sounds pretty general, but it’s not. If I am quiet, answers float to the surface. All of the things that concern me bob up and down waiting to be noticed. I come to understand that this is a process that is aided by my patience. I am helped by the inner knowing that all will be revealed, if I slow down and wait.

And there they are, lined up together, waving at me. My feelings of desire for control, the weighty sense of having to please other people and the chains that cling to my internal measures of success.

I see them as clearly as a dying leaf on my beautiful ivy plant. And I know my best answer is to surrender them. Releasing them gives me my best chance to thrive. I want that. I want that for me, and I want that for you, if that’s what you decide.

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