It was five days into our holiday of doing absolutely nothing but relaxing by the pool—endless hours punctuated only by a drink or a meal or attending to a child’s squeal—when I decided to float in the crystal blue water. Pushing off from the sandy bottom, I floated up on to my back, stretched out my limbs, and turned my face to the steady sun.
And amazing things happened. I could hear my own heartbeat. I could feel myself stating to unwind. I could shut out the entire world, ebbed along to a gentle soundtrack of sloshing and breathing, sloshing and breathing …
But some amazing things didn’t happen. I couldn’t quite unclench my tummy muscles from their familiar knot. I wondered on and off whether I’d bump into the concrete poolside. And I couldn’t quite get to a place of totally trusting that another swimmer or a gustily shouting child wouldn’t collide with me, pushing me off balance and ruining my blissful meander.
In short, I couldn’t quite believe I would be safe in my serenity.
And then I realised that floating was a perfect metaphor for life. Can we ever feel completely free of our worries and concerns? Can we totally offload our niggling fear, however slight, that something might crash into our self and our serenity, ruining it forever? Can we float peacefully through the waters of our lives, bobbing and dipping with all the moments that make up each and every day, believing all will be well no matter how fast or choppy the flow?
And I thought: What would it take to completely let go?
In the months since our holiday, I’ve explored this idea every single day: in my thoughts, my reading, and my day-to-day life. And I’ve come to try this idea on for size: that surrendering to serenity, letting go and willingly relaxing into the flow of life is about pushing off from the edge fearlessly. Floating without fear. And we do that by finding fear’s opposite: love and lingering in its presence through faith.
There is a mountain of books dedicated to directing their readers to finding the love for and within themselves, and each of those I’ve read holds a nugget of wisdom that inches me ever closer. But the question for me always remains: how do we sustain this feeling of love? How do we wake up each day and be guided by love, not fear? What’s the life raft that can steady and protect the floater on the journey through life?
And I think it might be this:
1. We are all part of a greater energy, which some call the universe, many call God, some call the Divine power or source, and which can simply be called love. So what this means is love (and its attendant joy) isn’t something outside of us that we can grasp at and grapple to hold. It’s not found in other people or in money or in homes or in holidays or in hot cars or high heels. It’s in us. It is us.
2. This loving energy supports us, guides us, leads us forward every single time we bob and ebb and flail and fall. And all we have to do is surrender to it (or go within and ask).
These are big concepts to grasp and they’re either completely new to you or as familiar and comforting as a pair of old shoes.
I’ve come at this conclusion from many authors and speakers:
Oprah says: “[Love is] the wisest, most profound part of your very being … Real success; true success; lasting, rewarding, soul-filling success is sustained when we can embrace the greater energy within us—the energy of love … the energy of joy. … If you open yourself up to those forces, the universe co-creates with you … and your light gets brighter and your path gets clearer and easier always.”
Hugely popular author Marianne Williamson describes it like this:
“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”
The famous ‘Spirit Junkie’ Gabrielle Bernstein says in her book, May cause miracles: a six-week kick-start to unlimited happiness:
“When we release our ego’s false perception of who we are and who we need to be, we can surrender to the truth, which is that we are love. The love that I speak of is an intuitive voice reminding us we’re great and worthy, leading us in the right direction and helping us to let go of resentment and return to peace. This inner presence has been stifled, but through the practice of self-forgiveness and acceptance, we can reawaken this peaceful self-love state.”
Gabby Bernstein also says: Moving from fear to love is the definition of a miracle. (Isn’t that miraculous in its simplicity?)
Bestselling author of the smash-hits E-Squared and E-Cubed, Pam Grout (who refers to this greater loving energy as the ‘field of potentiality’ or the FP) says: “It’s about letting go—giving up old mental constructs and surrendering to the all-loving, all-powerful energy force that’s bigger, bolder, brighter, and, yes, stranger than anything you’ve yet seen. This Sacred Buzz is life itself. Life, which—no matter how many walls you erect, no matter how seriously you screw up—is always there waiting with arms wide open.”
The poet Rumi once said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it”.
Since I was a teenager I have felt that everything I worry about works out (even if it’s not obvious at the time). This can be hard to believe, but it’s often easy to see in hindsight. Or you might be more familiar with people saying, “The things that have brought me the most joy or that have turned out the best are often those things that just fell into place—the things I didn’t have to push.”
So, what would it take for me to completely let go? I think that it’s remembering that I am love—and believing that I am safe in that love.
In a world that can seem hell-bent on push, hustle, fear and control, I find this concept really comforting.
It makes me feel like I could float.