Liberation is a process, not an end. We don’t just reach a point when we feel free. We keep getting the chance to enact this formula:
Notice. Engage. Release. Notice. Release. Engage. Notice. Engage. Release. Notice. Release. Engage.
We cannot control our lives. What we can do – by noticing, engaging, and releasing – is stay in active engagement with our lives and the process we are in. We can adjust attitudes, habits, actions, thoughts. We can come into right relationship with emotions. We can learn how to better be a part of community. We can of better service. Control can be a useful concept, but more often than not it becomes a stand in for what actually helps. Think of muscle control. An athlete wants this. But really, what the athlete wants is to engage heart, breath, attention and muscles all at once, so as to move precisely, with strength and flexibility, in the moment. Eventually, this becomes a state of pure presence, the athlete is one with herself and the water, the track, the grass, the mat. We can call that control. I would rather call it engagement. Relationship. Presence. Why? Simply because the concept of control can turn into rigidity of form and attempts to force an outcome.
I was discussing this with a client this week. S/he is discovering that life is working much better, and there is greater satisfaction overall, because s/he is more present and less controlling, less hung up on things looking and behaving a particular way. I spoke of the task I once gave myself of noticing a thought-form habitual at that time, “I just need to figure out.” I trained myself, when hearing that internal voice, to pause, breath, and open again. To notice, engage, and release. To notice, release, and engage. I did this because I realized “I just need to figure out…” meant I wanted to control a situation and thought I could come up with the answer that would fix things. I couldn’t. What I could do was invoke presence and relationship. That habitual thought-form has gone away as a consequence. Not because I forced it away, or controlled it into submission (two things which do not work, in my vast experience with them), but because I worked to shift how I responded to it.
All of this rings true not only in the personal realm. Think on today’s political and economic climate. We cannot force this away either. What we can do is notice, engage, release. Notice, release, engage. We can continue to find ways to shift our presence and relationship to our countries, to global economics, to the plants and creatures of this beloved, Earth, and to each other. Remember: liberation is a process, not an end.
We cannot control politics or economics. We cannot control our lives. But we can co-create them.
How do you co-create? I invite you to share insights into how you engage with the process of liberation. How do you remain present? How do you notice, engage, and release?