One day at the drop zone, I began working with a new skydiving coach, John. We were on the ground, rehearsing the moves we were going to make during free-fall time. He knew that I was having trouble controlling my body during free fall.
John noticed something about me, then suggested we try an exercise.
We stood up.
He pushed me, on the shoulder.
Instead of pushing back, I let my body go where he pushed it. I was practicing nonresistance, the skill I had acquired in martial arts. He pushed me again. Again I demonstrated non-resistance. I let my body naturally move in the direction it was pushed. This act of not resisting had served me well, both on the mats and off the mats. Not resisting people when they wanted to argue—learning to say, “Hmmm,” instead of engaging in battle—kept my life and environment calm. Not resisting when problems or experiences came into my life enabled me to go with the flow and be calm and centered enough to tackle these problems much more efficiently than if I was resisting them.
I explained this to John.
“Nonresistance is good to practice many times in your life,” he said. “But sometimes you need to fight back. You need to assertively push against what’s pushing on you if you want to get where you want to go. Pushing against the wind—directing your body assertively—is what you need to do if you want to learn to fly.”
Practicing nonresistance is good in our lives. Surrendering is an invaluable tool. Both these activities take us immediately into the flow of life. When we’re relaxed, we tune into God and our inner selves. Once we surrender, we automatically know what to do next, and when to do it.
But sometimes we need to assert ourselves, too. Surrendering and practicing nonresistance don’t mean we turn into pieces of paper being blown about by every wind. Sometimes we need to push against the resistance coming our way.
That’s how we assert ourselves; that’s how we guide and direct our course. That’s how our Higher Power guides and directs us, too.
We’ve learned to surrender. Now it’s time to learn to assert ourselves, too. Have you surrendered so much that you’ve stopped asserting and expressing yourself? Assert yourself. Make the moves your heart leads you to do. Know where you want to go and what you want to say.
Once you’ve admitted powerlessness, learn to connect with your power. Learn when it’s time to practice nonresistance, and learn when it’s time to push against the wind.
God, help me align with your power in my life. Teach me to express and assert that power as I go through my day.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
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