Saturday, October 23, 2010

In the meantime, you can relax

Hi Carina,

I am a strong fan of Ram Dass and I try my best to follow his suggestions in Be Here Now.* However I have two questions. One is referring to my love life which is: why do I keep getting let down by people or am quickly disinterested once they are [interested]? And my second one is referring to my passion which is music. I am in college but my dream is music. What should I do?


*The writer mentions Ram Dass and Be Here Now because I've been writing on a blogging project related to Ram Dass's classic book. - Carina


Dear Coen,

Thank you so much for writing. I'm confident that a lot of readers are wondering similar things in their own lives.

Relationships come when they come and stick around when they stick around. As does everything else. Surrendering ourselves to this natural flow comes, in part, from quieting the mind. Then we are present to the fullness of each moment, exactly where we are. When that happens, the desire or expectation for a relationship can relax. And I'm not making any promises, but they do say that when we're not seeking something is when it actually shows up.

A time will come when eventually you'll meet someone whose disappointments and affection don't drive you away. In the meantime, you can relax.

It could be, too, that you don't really want to be in a relationship right now. For ages I thought that I should want a relationship. It was liberating for me when I realized that wasn't something I was seeking at the time (even though it seemed like that's what all single people should want). With that realization dropped all shoulds and pinings and wistful wishings. So much space opened up and- lo and behold - who walked in but a pretty awesome man.

And now we get to see if we can live with each other's disappointments and affection. It's an on-going process, and it's a lovely gift for our growth as individuals. When you can receive genuine caring from another, and when you can observe your automatic responses to things that ultimately have no meaning but which we're convinced are offensive, you're given the gift of a heart that can relax, open up and breathe.

For now, don't make yourself wrong if this isn't where you are. I say, don't worry about it. We can analyze the heck out of ya and say you have a fear of intimacy or you weren't raised right or any other psychological avenue, but shoot, who doesn't have that fear? What was raised right?

Allowing nature to flow and to present us with opportunities in the exact right moments - because there's no other way those moments can be - leaves room to chill out, enjoy the ride, and watch with curiosity.

You can apply this to your school question, too. That is, go by your intuition, which is ultimately aligned with the flow of the universe. If you can't hear it, perhaps a little meditation, journal-writing, cleaning, walking on a trail - whatever shifts you out of your thinking - will help you hear. And remember, sometimes what you hear is nothing and so there is nothing to do.

If you find that you're in a situation that you really don't want to be in (i.e. school versus focusing on music), check in with yourself and find out what the natural next step is. Again, it may be to do nothing. It may be to continue on as you are and watch for the next message that directly guides you.

Surrender, man. It's not always an easy thing. But I know for sure that churning the mind around on such issues as relationship woes and career/inspiration path can be a dangerous and muddied road. Shoulds do their best to crowd out intuition. Nevertheless, what is to be will be, and there's no way around it.

See if you can relax. Then let us know what happens.

Thank you so much for writing.



P.S. I would be remiss in not mentioning Julia Cameron's The Artist Way here. This book is a 12-week self-guided course that did heaps for me in sloughing off "shoulds" and getting to what I really dig, in a natural and fun way. This column came out of that project. Do it with a friend. (Thanks, Deborah G.!)

If other questions arise from this writing, please email