Surrender 16: The Challenge

I’ve shared before how much I enjoy coloring. The current coloring craze that has swept around the globe has been so much fun to participate in. I have a growing collection of coloring books for adults and colored pencils, which is my preferred medium. 

I’m a member of several coloring groups on Facebook. These are supportive and inspirational as we post our completed pics and share ideas, techniques and trouble areas. Two of these groups have weekly or monthly challenges, in which instructions are given on what must be colored or how a picture is to be colored. 

  The four color challenge. Only four colors could be used to complete the picture. 

These challenges have been fun. I’ve completed the froggy challenge, the four color and six color challenges. And I just submitted my picture where I could only use shades of blue. I like pushing myself creatively and seeing what I’m capable of. That is, until one of the groups issued a challenge  for January that prohibited the use of colored pencils. Any other media could be used, but not pencils. 

 The shades of blue challenge.  

I immediately decided not to do that challenge. I don’t like coloring with gel pens or markers. I like coloring with pencils. The first week in January went by and that challenge kept nudging me. I’d push it away. Besides, I told myself, I don’t have markers or colored pens and I didn’t want to purchase them just for this one challenge. 

And then I remembered. I did own a set of Bic fine line colored markers, if I could find them. I searched through my house for another week, without success. Surely, I wasn’t supposed to do the challenge if I couldn’t find my markers. Right? There was that drag on my boat, as I flowed down the river. I recognized that feeling. Resistance. 

 

Once I realize I’m resisting something, which alerts me that I’m moving out of the flow of life, I have a choice to make. Continue resisting…drag, drag, draaaaggg.  Or release the resistance. The choice was not difficult. I would do the challenge.  I used my intuition, and asked, “Where are the Bic markers?” I returned again and again to the place I felt drawn to and searched through the interior of the cabinet multiple times. Finally, standing there once again, I looked in the closet to my left, and there they were. 

I am using markers to complete a challenge. I have until the end of January to finish the picture, a Johanna Basford Christmas print that I didn’t get around to during the holidays. And you know what? It’s fun. I’m enjoying using the markers and coloring with them is just as relaxing. 

I’m grateful for the challenge. It was a simple matter, but apparently a big one to me because it became a point of resistance. I’m learning. It continues to be good for my soul and my growth to move beyond my comfort zone AND my personal preferences, which tend to limit me. My awareness is revealing to me where I am not as open as I want to be. Open to everything…even using markers to color with. Attached to nothing…not even my favorite colored pencils. I believe I’ll be coloring with these markers again. 

 

 

Surrender 2: Experiencing Resistance

On the second day of my Year of Surrender I encountered resistance. That didn’t take long to pop up! And yet I am so grateful for both the experience and the awareness to realize what I was doing. 

All parties involved have given me permission to share this story. Are you comfortable? Good, then I’ll begin this short but crucial tale of surrender vs resistance. 

  
Last night, after viewing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, our little group consisting of me, Linda, Roy, and Greg went to dinner at the buffet style restaurant, Golden Corral. Roy surprised me by very graciously picking up the tab for all four of us. I appreciated his kindness and Greg and I offered to pay for dinner Saturday evening. That’s fair, right? And responding to generosity by being generous in return.  

Except that I woke up this morning with a thought. First thoughts are interesting as they are often the result of my subconscious working through the night on an issue or uncovering a deeper truth.  

The thought was, “What if Linda and Roy pick Red Lobster as the restaurant for tonight?” 

  

Anyone who know my sister knows that’s one of her favorite places to eat. But it’s not my favorite or Greg’s. And it’s a more expensive restaurant than Golden Corral, yet I did offer to pay. My thoughts began to spin out a story about something that had not even happened yet. 

And that’s when I noticed it. This dragging sensation, as if my symbolic canoe was barely scraping over submerged rocks. I was creating resistance with my thoughts, weighing myself down with concern over where we would eat. I had just exited the flow of life and was paddling upstream, in shallow water riffling over boulders. 

  
I am extremely thankful that my awareness kicked in. I physically and energetically felt the subtle effect of my resistance, and immediately released my line of thinking. How ridiculous it was anyway. If Linda chose Red Lobster, so be it. I’d try something different from their extensive menu and Greg would too. The cost wasn’t an issue. I wanted to focus instead on being present with people who are dear to me. Where we ate, and what I ate, didn’t matter at all. 

The drag my resistance had created dropped away. I was back in the flow, traveling light and free. 

And where did we eat? Not at Red Lobster. Roy selected Texas Roadhouse and we had a great meal together, laughing and chatting as we dined. I had smothered chicken and it was delicious. 

 

I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience resistance today. Doing so taught me that any time I feel myself struggling…lost in the past or creating stories about a future that hasn’t happened yet…I am taking myself out of the flow of life. I have figuratively picked up my oar and I’m paddling upstream or toward shore. I don’t want to do either. 

My first lesson this year came early. When navigating the river of life, watch out for drag, which indicates I’m experiencing resistance. Who is creating the resistance? I am. And knowing that, I can correct it, let go, and head downstream again, fully engaged, and in the flow.