By Donaia De Marco
To continue our trend of attaching words to each month, October conjures up the word "allow" in my mind. One of the most impressive shows up here in New England is how the trees allow the leaves to turn into patches of reds, oranges, yellows and browns, and then the leaves drop to the ground. The leaves are dead, the color's gone…decomposing in their return to the soil from whence they came…only to be re-configured and re-manifested again. This letting go is done with such splendor and grace. It happens gradually as you daily watch the trees let the leaves do what they will… depending on how much rain and wind and sun has also manifested in the year. Each fall is quite different, yet always something to feast your eyes on. The feeling is one of awesome stillness as your drive up a highway completely lined with the slow, colorful turning of autumnal vibrancy.
But, this particular word, "allow," can create much soul-searching in the realms of spiritual integrity. How good are we at allowing? How many allowances do we give, or do we give any allowances to others? For that matter, how much allowance are we given? Do you remember ever getting an allowance? I remember getting an allowance, but I also remember I had chores to do for it. In other words, there came a time when I had to earn my allowance. Has it been the same way since? Do people have to earn the allowances we afford them, and do we have to earn the allowances that are afforded to us? Good grief…we have to work our buns off in order to be given allowances for our mistakes, our idiosyncrasies, our foibles. In many a destructive marriage, one allows all kinds of weirdness while the other is kept under scrutiny for the least signs of imperfection. Or, there are families where no one is giving anyone an allowance of any kind. Often this is called love. They say, "I point it out to you because I love you!"
I was impressed by something in a wonderful little book called A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson. She says, "Acceptance seems the biggest stretch that newly independent people must extend to one another. It is a strength I must acquire, or risk being estranged from the ebb and flow of the rest of my life. Like the tides that come and go at their will not ours, we who frequent the beach must be mindful to time our swims and walks to the ocean's flow. So it should be with the people who move in and through our lives." Will…or even can we allow our immediate environment to dictate our movements? That's the very thing we all rebelled against! To me, the key phrase in the quote is "we who frequent the beach" for isn't it interesting that when we choose to spend some time at the beach, it is usually to recharge…getting fueled with sun and sand and water. In my spiritual lexicon, we who frequent the beach are those who are consciously plugging back into Source.
Anderson says we must be mindful to time our swims to the ocean's flow. That smacks of the spiritual principle of Divine Order…to me one of the most frustrating basic truths to appreciate. We just had an experience up here in New England with the threat of hurricane Floyd bearing down for us. We did what we could do physically, and then we tucked ourselves in and waited. Many of us envisioned a downgraded storm…like, if it had to pass through, we'd allow a good shaking but not any destruction. We were thinking we were taking part in the co-creation! In the February column entitled "Love," I cited a passage by Richard Moss, which refers to love as a quality of attention that supports others to enjoy themselves and grow in their uniqueness. Basic to that quality of attention is this attitude of allowance. Whenever a storm passes through our lives, we almost always ask, "Why us? What did we do to deserve this?" You see…we are still subscribing to the belief that we must earn our allowances! "Why weren't we allowed to be spared?" we wail.
If you speak to actors, they will say that ultimately timing is everything. We are given or have created (no matter which) a coincidental reality, and if we become quiet and open enough, we find the rhythm of Presence…which we contribute to…by our very own actions and presence. We can allow each other our true nature and still act accordingly from the deepest recesses of our being. From this perspective of shared space, we gradually learn to dance in the moment, interjecting our own little tweaks of uniqueness. For ultimately, what we learn to allow is our own "little ways." The more I allow myself to be me, the more I discover who I am. The more I allow others to be themselves, the more I engage in workability, so to speak.
For what is workability but knowing when to surrender and knowing when to lead? With hurricane Floyd, we did what we could and then surrendered. For those who frequent the beach, the focus is on timing and rhythm. Having faith in Divine Order is a great lift toward getting in the flow. I look at these trees up here in New England, and they're starting to turn, forecasting the coming of another winter. We, too, have quietly started shifting gears…again…getting our jackets and socks out, closing some windows. The trees are our touchstones. This year, because it was so dry this summer, the leaves seem to be quickly leaning toward different shades of yellowy brown. Perhaps they will fall to the ground sooner. Perhaps they will not. We let go and let all do as it will. Not victims of circumstance, but conscious co-creators in a swirl of unconditional live.
Love Letters International
4101 Dauphine Drive
Austin, Texas 78727
Phone: (512) 833-7972
Fax: (512) 491-6565
©1998, 1999 & 2000 Love Letters International.
A division of unCommonBond Inc. All rights reserved.