The Art of Allowing

The Art of Allowing

Breaking my wrist this summer forced me to step back, reevaluate, and gave me the opportunity to learn more about the art of allowing.  After indulging in some heartfelt but ultimately unhelpful, “Why me?! Why now?!” drama, I gradually surrendered to a state of allowing.

It turns out allowing has a lot to do with witnessing, noticing and accepting what is. To be in a state of allowing is to become an empty vessel with space for whatever is wanting to emerge.  The self-portrait, The Vessel (shown above) was painted in 2010 when I was finishing up my core training with the Four Winds Society and trying to integrate the teachings with my art practice. The brush strokes are loose and earthy, suggesting the malleable nature of the self being explored.  Nothing is certain or fixed. The focal point is on the third eye which appears to radiate an ethereal being.  The third eye activates our inner vision and dreaming. It’s a portal to the fertile Field of Pure Potential where all things are possible.

I suspect the state of allowing accesses the same creative life force of pure potentiality. When we become empty vessels, we offer a clear channel for Spirit to work through. As many teaching stories illustrate, “you can’t fill a cup that’s overflowing.” To become empty, it’s necessary to let go and trust.

While I am a big fan of positive thinking and the power of intention, I struggle with the dance of true trust.  On a conscious level, trusting in ease and grace is my main tagline and living mantra.  On another, less conscious level, I easily move into trying to control my universe and pushing to make things happen according to my own ideas of right timing. Embedded in that thinking is a whole lot of judgement – of myself mostly but also of anything that gets in the way of what I have decided should be happening.  The telltale words are judgment and should.  Whenever should shows up, it’s a given I’m not in the flow of allowing.  Not to be confused with its more agreeable sister discernment, judgement never brings good vibes.  Notice how easy it is to judge the judging.

I’ve been reading Anita Moorjani’s inspiring book “Dying to Be Me”. Following her Near Death Experience (NDE) and choice to return to this world, Moorjani shares her struggle to embrace her own voice, the suffering that resulted and the power of love to heal all. She explores the state of allowing as the place where the most positive change can occur.  Personal transformation, which is about change, has been a major theme of my life and my creative expression.  While transformation has sex appeal, change often conjures notions of chaos and turmoil. Messy, random, frightening and uncontrolled, change is something many of us resist wilfully or reflexively in a knee-jerk reaction.  Even longed-for positive change can be unconsciously sabotaged by lingering beliefs or simply by refusing to accept feelings that don’t fit the new desired objectives.

The state of allowing prompts me to sanction all of my feelings without getting attached or judging them as bad, immature, or unworthy.  To let go of good and bad labelling and find a neutral space of acceptance. Not a new idea I know, but one that is very up for me right now. There’s arrogance in denying negative feelings. It’s humbling to spiral around the same challenges repeatedly. And, my feelings, like everything else are always changing. Especially if I allow them the dignity of being expressed.

Heart-Centered Coach Mary A. Hall, who is fondly referred to as the Abundance Queen, wisely counsels the benefits of honouring the dignity of our experience. I think the state of allowing embraces what is being experienced including any expectations or assumptions about what the future is bringing. I understand it to be about acknowledging the magnitude of our suffering regardless of the scope or form it takes. Honouring and allowing both hold the seeds of discovery.  With space and time, the inevitable gift is revealed along with the key to genuine gratitude. It’s not something you can fudge with lip service.

Nor is allowing about fixing anything. Fixing suggests something is wrong or shouldn’t exist where allowing simply notices with unconditional love and compassion, “This is the dignity of my experience in this moment.” Until it isn’t. It’s true that without space to be felt and expressed, feelings go underground and leak out in sabotaging and damaging ways but allowing is not about trying to control them as much as it is about simply allowing them to exist.

Allowing is also about getting out of your own way. It includes letting go of preconceived ideas, agendas and plans and making space for something new.  Allowing requires the ability to trust and give up control. The gift it offers is access to my own inner guidance and wisdom. The still, small voice of beckoning inspiration.

Recently, letting go included a major de-cluttering of my physical home as well as my mental and emotional inner rooms.  Allowing myself to let go of car loads of books, clothing and other “stuff” simultaneously released old scarcity beliefs, personal stories I’ve outgrown and limiting patterns that have become obsolete or burdensome.  The sweet feeling of lightness and spaciousness continues today as a breath of fresh air but there are more layers awaiting my attention.

It’s been a time of paying attention and noticing where I am drawn and, as importantly, where I am not.  I’m happy to feel genuinely inspired to write again. Stay tuned!

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2 Comments

  1. Beautiful Janet! I struggle with this daily. Allowing life to unfold and not ‘force’ or wish for preconceived ideas or results. I will re-double my efforts!

    Well said!

    Reply
    • Thanks Wendy. Allowing is a dance of letting life lead. I’m still learning this dance too!

      Reply

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Giving Back

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Giving and sharing are the foundation of my practice and I'm delighted to be able to support organizations like the Unstoppable Foundation which strives to ensure every child has access to education.  Over the years I have donated works of art in support of several hospitals, survivor groups, environmental and gallery fundraisers like the MacDonald Stewart Art Gallery now known as The Art Gallery of Guelph.