Paddling Upstream

Wondering, as I do, I am drawn to how fear propels us to control. As if paddling upstream, we navigate each other, ourselves, even our children, toward an illusive port we believe will harbor us from fear. Gasping for air, we drown our ability, and often the abilities of others, to love, create, and feel authentic joy.

With all our might, we fight against the current. We paddle frantically upstream toward an illusory shore that if we do everything just right, create ideal relationships, picture-perfect homes, supreme jobs, flawless kids, we’ll reach the harbor, and then, finally, we’ll be happy, others will approve of us, and we’ll no longer feel afraid. Yet, in the end, the current is too strong and pulls us under.

I’ve paddled upstream. I didn’t trust that I was lovable and deserving of love, or that someone would love me, unconditionally. My unconscious fear of not receiving love ran so deep that I compromised my values, my boundaries, my body, and my integrity. If I could be everything to everybody, give them what they wanted, look, speak, behave, and obey their rules, I could guarantee that I would receive love. I was too afraid to risk being me.

Enter insight. As painful and shameful as the insight felt, it was a blessing, a gift that inspired the inner work that I continue to practice today. When I released the fear to control love, I experienced the grace of unconditional authentic love from others, and most gratifying, from me.

Control might enable us to wade in shallow waters, but it won’t support us in deep oceans. Like paddling upstream against a strong current; eventually your arms will give out. You’ll feel the flood of depletion, exhaustion, and burnout. You’ll sink into the depths of bitterness, resentfulness, and anger. I know.You-dont-paddle-against

Through my own self-care practices, which stream from gratitude, fierce grace, and love, fear ebbs and my mind, body, and spirit floods with abundance. When we give ourselves permission to stop paddling upstream, cease controlling, and move with the current of fear, what we want and need flows freely.

As you move through your day, pay attention to how fear propels control. Reflect on what or whom you’re controlling and the fear at the helm of your paddling. What’s the fear propelling your need to control? What are you afraid will happen or not happen if you release the oar? Breathe into the current and feel the waters calm. Allow the tides of gratitude, grace, and love to sail you safely from the harbor.

Sending you inspiration,

Kelli

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