Sitting on my mat with my eyes closed at my first yoga class of the year, our instructor shared a beautiful story about letting go of our attachment from outcomes. The story was about an orchid that her friend had been gifted a few years ago which then lost all of its flowers. And as time went by, she simply committed to watering the plant once a week with no expectation of seeing it in all of it’s glory again. Although in physical sight it appeared that nothing was happening, profound changes were taking place in the plant’s root system. And one day, a year and a half later, the orchid bloomed again!
I got shivers listening to this story because just as the New Year began, I myself began to doubt in the Universe’s outcome for my life. I am not alone here and find myself to be part of a vast collective of people wondering the same thoughts day in and day out and specifically asking When? When? When? [queue Michael Buble’s Quando Quando Quando but with less softness and more frustration!!]
Although I’m no stranger to getting on my knees and asking for help through prayer, or to reading and learning about the different universal laws that govern our lives, I still found myself from time to time falling into the rut of asking some of the above questions. I’ve been a student of Michael Bernard Beckwith’s teachings on manifestation and visioning for years now and even carry around my copy of Gabby Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back – although sometimes more in desperation (or hope!?) that the Universe will grant me my desires.
For so long we have been told that we are in charge our own destiny. That we are not victims of circumstances like growing up unprivileged, having a lack of good education, lack of good family values, etc. etc. That we are in charge of the outcome of our lives – whether it’s the house we want, the amount of wealth we’d like, the places we want to travel and the success we want to achieve. This is also prevalent in every book from The Pursuit of Happiness to any literature on the hero’s quest. Hard work and persistence ultimately leads to a positive outcome. So it is only natural for us to want to control our “life plan” including the career we want, the person we want to settle down with, and ultimately the life we want to lead. And this then makes it unnatural to surrender to a God/Universe/Higher Power than ourselves when we cannot “make” the things we desire happen. The question we then ask ourselves is “What Am I Doing Wrong!?”.
As I’ve spent the last two years honing in on honoring myself, practicing self love, and finding anything and everything to be grateful about (seriously!), listening to the story about the orchid lead me to my lightbulb moment. My profound realization was that we need to trust in the process, and let go of the specifics of the outcome. Isn’t this what all the books I had read in the past tried to teach me? Yes, but I didn’t get it until now. For the longest time, I thought that letting go of the end result meant still trusting that the very result I had desired would eventually come about – perhaps just not on my timeline. But what I realized on my mat that day was the steps we take toward wanting a specific outcome are more profound than the outcome itself. Think about it: If we learn to love ourselves but still can’t attract a soul mate, the work we’ve done on ourselves isn’t going to waste. Just like the habit of watering the orchid cultivates a habit of care giving, the self work to attract true love in the end transforms us into more loving and extraordinary beings.
Perhaps the Orchid will bloom, perhaps it’s not meant to. Perhaps the things we desire aren’t in the cards for all of us. I have to believe that the Universe is more benevolent than objective, and in this belief, all outcomes are for the highest good of all. Case in point, Fleming was investigating a specific influenza bacteria but his serendipitous discovery of penicillin would end up saving lives around the world. As long as the steps we take pull us forward, then we must be open to other possibilities than what we had initially desired. Possibilities that could be even far greater than what we could have ever imagined for ourselves.