By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(August 1, 2018)
Packing and moving to a smaller living space tries one’s patience to the max. It certainly tried mine during our recent house sale and move!
After my husband and I had decided to put our house up for sale in the spring, the sorting and packing chugged along rather smoothly. Although stressed, I felt good that I could, for the most part, stay away from worry. Internal jitters grabbed at me from time to time, though, because we had a contract and a closing date on our house. And Steve and I had not found a place to which we could move. We had looked at several options, none of which, for one reason or another, felt “right.” Day after unsuccessful day passed, until it was about 3 weeks before closing and we still didn’t have a place.
I awoke that Saturday morning with my heart beating rapidly and feeling short of breath. I recognized the symptoms as anxiety. My thoughts raced, imagining a future with no place to go, living in our car, moving everything into a storage unit. One friend, in a moment of comic relief, said he would look out for a sturdy refrigerator box! The more I dwelled on future scenarios, the more anxiety-ridden my inner world became.
I knew enough to sit still for a while and to center myself, anchoring in what I knew to be true — that in this moment, all of my needs are met. No matter how much I practiced this sitting still, however, it didn’t do its usual thing and carry into the rest of my day.
I felt as if I were caught in an emotional undertow. As a teenager, while swimming in the ocean, I had an experience in which an undertow pulled me under the water. I felt helpless and scared. From that experience, I learned to relax and allow the undertow to happen, knowing the force of it would eventually release me.
I applied that experience to being caught in this undertow of anxiety. Recognizing an opportunity for strengthening my “allowing” skills, I didn’t resist. Instead, I let it pull me under. Then I waited for the release. It didn’t come at all that day. However, the next morning I awoke and felt it no longer had me in its emotional grip.
The experience, one of intense emotional suffering, had drained me. As I reflected on it, I saw how the anxiety had been a product of trying and striving, from a place of driven-ness, to find a new home. The ego wanted to be in charge and to make it happen. I let go of the striving, leaving it in the hands of my highest Wisdom to solve the problem. I called off my frantic searching and trusted I/we would know what to do next.
Four days after the undertow-anxiety experience, we received two phone calls from inquiries my husband, Steve, had made a week before. They were for apartments, and suddenly we had two appointments to see them both that day. One of them fit our needs perfectly. In a short period of time, we transitioned from having no place to go to having a home we could move to for now.
I learned a lot from this experience, and I pass this on to you: Emotional undertows happen, and we can’t always control them. When we resist them, they persist. When we recognize an undertow for what it is, and when we go with the movement, relaxing and surrendering, the force of it can easily let go. From there, it’s a short distance to peace and simple waiting.
Our surrender creates an inner space that can welcome gifts and wonderful surprises.