“Therefore the Master takes action
by letting things take their course.
He remains as calm
At the end as at the beginning.
He has nothing,
Thus has nothing to lose.
What he desires is non-desire;
What he learns is to unlearn.
He simply reminds people
of who they have always been.
He cares for nothing but the Tao.
Thus he can care for all things.”
—TAO TE CHING
Ooh!! I love the above verse from the Tao Te Ching. This is one of those passages that I re-remember every time I read it! Like, oh yeah, that’s right…I have to let everything “take their course.” Why did I forget that?
Of course, it’s tough to allow things to develop and unfold in their natural time. I know I get impatient just waiting for the tea kettle to boil! Accepting the natural development of things requires TRUST. Which is the seventh and final step in this ‘ol blog series.
As creators, when we have a deep trust in timing it allows us to find the place within where we can “remain calm,” and also be open and present. This gives us to access to our great well of wisdom inside — which we need to be the best artists that we can be.
I always have to remind myself that peace is an inside job. I love that line from A Course in Miracles: “peace begins with me.” Gabby Bernstein has an exercise she teaches where you count on your four fingers with your thumb: Peace. Begins. With. Me. I find this very helpful when I get caught up in stress — like when I’m going through security at the airport, or during a hectic tech rehearsal!
We can take this into our art and learn to sit in peace at every stage of a project: as blocks occur, as problems arise, when conflict comes up, when our own natural fears and reactions rear their ugly head — then we can see that these are just passing moments in the human existence. They don’t have the power to take our peace away, unless we let it.
Another great reminder in this verse is when it states the Master “has nothing.” I interpret this as not being attached to anything. Not clinging to one particular person, or situation. When we aren’t attached to a project having to manifest in any particular way, we can really listen to Life telling us where to go and what to do. We are not stuck on our own way, and the Universe always has a better plan than what we have in mind.
“He simply reminds people of who they have always been.” That is our job as artists, isn’t it? We are here to bring great virtues through our art to others. We are here to say the truth out loud, to expose injustice, to stimulate joy, excitement, and laughter. We are here to help people remember their spirit, to see Oneness, and to see that we are all connected.
So, what are some of the ways we can work with TRUST in our masculine and feminine energies?
The Feminine Principle behind Step 7:
Letting go…it ain’t always easy!
I think Life sometimes asks us let go of “stuff”: people, places, ideas — so that we can remember that our happiness is not in the world of form, its in the Source. The things we think we are looking for, they aren’t on the outside, they are on the inner.
We all have to deal with “letting go” on a daily basis…whether its in how a meeting might go or our plans for the day… It’s a releasing of control, a release of inner grasping, or even inner labeling. As soon as I feel like I might be fighting or pushing against life, I know its time to let go…step back…surrender…
As an artist, there are so many times I thought a project was going to happen this way, and then it didn’t. And I had to trust there was a better way trying to emerge, and there always was. I’ve had times were I lost who I thought was the perfect lead actress for a part, only to find someone better. After it happens enough times, I don’t worry about loss, because I know its an infinite Universe, and what is RIGHT for me, always comes to me.
There is a spiritual teacher named August Gold who I adore, she talks about shifting our inner dialogue from “Why is this happening TO me?” to “Why is this happening FOR me…?” It’s a really powerful exercise, and it keeps us from playing victims in our lives.
For example, we’ve all had a relationship or a job end abruptly, and thought “why is this happening TO me?” But if we can do a 180 on the question, and be able to look how this situation might be here to benefit our soul, to give us what we are REALLY looking for, then we see how Life is trying to help us.
When I find that I’m really holding onto something, or trying to fix or control it, I just imagine myself holding it up and letting it morph into a balloon as it floats into the sky… it becomes weightless, and at that moment, I give up carrying the heavy load around with me…
Once you play with the magic of letting go, you start to realize something very powerful: you’re actually making room for what wants to come towards you…and sometimes its exactly the thing you just let go of, but it a better (and more appropriate) way!
The Masculine Principle behind Step 7:
KEEP ON KEEPING ON
These the Masculine and Feminine Principles are often opposites…so, as we let go, we also need to “Keep On.” Letting go isn’t about not taking action, its about taking the right action — inspired action.
When things get tough, its easy to want to bail on our dreams. Or, as we get closer, there is often a point where we may be tempted to self-sabotage. We may be tempted to somehow cut and run, pushing our soul’s work aside. We may be tempted to hide or shrink from our light — sometimes because of bad feedback we’ve gotten from others, or sometimes we can get stuck in some negative thought pattern. Whatever comes up – no matter how rough it gets – the most important thing is NOT TO GIVE UP. Think about something as basic as exercising the human body – it is only after our muscles at first collapse and “break down” that we are about to gain the strength and results we have been seeking. It is at precisely this point when we are about to make real progress.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” — Calvin Coolidge
I know Life is a self-refining system. The Universe wants us to evolve. And we will be given those opportunities to grow, and it often looks like struggle or hardship. But what is really happening is that our soul is being asked to expand, to get bigger. I’ve heard it said that we will be given a dream that is bigger than we are, and then we have to grow bigger (often through challenges and obstacles) in order to be able to be large enough to hold that dream.
“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.” — James Whitcomb Riley
Discouragement is part of life, it happens. As the quote above says, its inevitable. But its our job to rev our own engines and up our own enthusiasm. We can stand in peace, knowing that our good is on the way, and the seeming road-blocks are just part of the creative process.
When things start to become slow, or I feel like I’m not seeing the progress, I like to think of it as “under ground” time. There are things going on under ground: things growing, shifting, and changing that I just can’t see yet! And soon it will be Spring and I will see the fruit of my labor.
I like to think about how many start-ups were built, slowly, brick-by-brick. People just doing what they love created something massive. It’s a little bit of work consistently over a long period of time that creates real, lasting change.
So, we keep on keeping on as we keep letting go…
Sometimes, I imagine holding one in each hand: my right hand continues to move forward, build, create, and generate while in my left hand, I continue to surrender, listen, and release attachment to the “how.” Then, I get to live in the amazement of how Life makes my dreams come true in the most beautiful, miraculous, and unexpected ways…
That’s it for this series! Have you enjoyed it? Are you ready for another series? I would love if you left me a message below…
Also, if you are in NYC, Natalie Roy and I have 3 more nights left to our Revol-YOU-tion workshop: April 12th, April 19th, & April 26th. Drop-in!
If you are in LA, we are doing our Revol-YOU-tion Workshop there in one weekend, May 15-17!
For more information on either workshop email: [email protected]