Natalie Rohman

A Chicago Girl Paving Inspiration

The Power of Surrendering

One of the biggest challenges I face in my life is letting the world around me take its lead. There's nothing more constraining than simply allowing the fate of the world ride its course in front of you—it seems so "simple". Yet the greatest things in life come when we least expect it, or at least that's what we're told. The inspiration for this thought comes from a self-help book I read a week ago called You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero, and she is a badass indeed. The author, speaker, and success coach writes all the ways one can use everything they've got to live one extreme, helluva life; it's advice we all could hear. So, I would highly recommend checking it out. I won't go into full detail about the book itself, but one chapter titled "Remember to Surrender" includes this Eckhart Tolle quote I found striking: 

"Surrender to what is. Say "yes" to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you, rather than against you". -Eckhart Tolle

I had to take a step back and think, "do I really say 'no' to a lot of things?". I mean I think a lot of us can agree that there are many times saying "no" is the only practical answer to things, but when opportunities present themselves, do I find myself dismissing them for dumb and profound excuses? Am I not reaching far enough? What are the things I say, do, react that make things harder to achieve? How am I presenting myself and comparing myself to others, why does it affect me so much? Why do I let it? 

I am a Control Freak.

Those of you who know me, love me, care about me, talk to me, laugh at me, laugh with me, or anyone who's just seen my room knows I like things a certain way. I'm not a hypertensive drama queen who whines about small, irrelevant details, or I like to tell myself I'm not anyway. My personality wants to make sure that every little thing in my life, emotional and physical, is spick and span so that I can manage to tackle every big thing in my life. If you met me, you would think I'm to myself, but really I'm planning and processing every minute of my life in my head as new information comes in. Oh, the anxiety!

Without a doubt, anxiety fuels this need of perfection and preparation. If I'm not thinking about my future or the effects of the present, I don't know how I can make sure I'm on the "right track" of life. The direction I at least tell myself I'm going in—hell if I knew I would tell you. Little moments in my life have shown this, my parents have seen me go through it when I was trying to apply for college.  It was not easy for any of us. I spent hours and hours perfecting my application, days spent emailing scholarship and financial aid offices, dragging my parents into more stress about which college I was going to, pulling my hair out after being waitlisted for a deciding scholarship, and finally finding out that I had gotten it for my number one school, DePaul, a week after I graduated high school. While yes, everything worked out, I persisted an immense amount because I knew I wanted it. However, I knew, in the end, I would be going to any great college. I definitely wasted a lot of my senior year in dread about it. 

There are so many things in my life that I don't let go of: where I'm studying, how much money I have, how much money I don't have, who my friends are, what friends I've lost, family I haven't seen in forever, jobs, my purpose, and every existential crisis you could think of, I've probably thought about. I realize that my worries are not similar to many, because there's a lot of bad happening in the world, and also that I can't control everything in my life or the world itself.
Hands-Off Mode.

Obviously, there are things that you can control, like your motivation and persistence to find a job, the effort you put into that job, etc. However, when it seems like all of my force and energy is pushed onto millions of things or one big thing in my life, I live less. I find those moments unenjoyable and just exhausting. Why do I do it then? Well, for one thing, I really like to fulfill passions and expectations. I know people expect great things of me, so why settle? I make myself bite off more than I can chew because I thrive on it. I also suck at it because I dig myself into a big self-deprecating hole of doubt and comparison. 

So, with reading this self-help book, How to Be A Badass, it has become clear to me that taking my hands off the steering wheel sometimes is in my best interest. As I sit on my bed now, petting my oh-so-space-generous golden retriever that is literally taking up my half of the bed, I am deciding now that maybe living a "go with the flow" kinda life might seem like the perfect ideal. Not worrying about what comes next, but enjoying the small moments you have now. Yeah, I've already awed and ooed about presence in other posts and all that, everything my yoga instructors instruct me, whatever my parents confide in me, and every Tumblr post in between—I know don't listen to myself when I need to the most. 

Taking my Own Advice.

It's really not easy listening to my own advice. "Read your blog posts, Nat. You already know what you need to do," my mom urges. Sometimes its nice hearing other people's thoughts about what direction they think you should go in—getting outside perspectives is always a great tool for you to go from, but you should never let it consume you. I know I'm smart. Millions of people could tell me how to apply for internships, successful job interview tips, what should be on my resume, how to dress, how to be productive, how to not worry about everything, but at the end of the day, I know what's good for me. Sometimes it takes letting go of all outside factors (opinions, ideas, dad's advice) or just letting go of one. 
Just saying "I need to let go," seems so easy, but it is so multi-faceted and complex in my mind. In moments when I need to be the most present, my mind is usually back in the fifth-grade regretting friendship decisions I made. There just seems like no getting past it. When I'm not past it, I'm behind it. I'm never here. I keep saying how time is flying by in front of my very eyes and this is because we are all so time oriented. 

Everything revolves around time, it's all we got to keep us going (well I guess maybe not all we got): when we gotta be there, when we have to leave, when the thing starts, when the thing ends, when we have to live, and when we have to die. Time is so precious to us and it taunts us. If we don't get something done in time, we fail. If we don't make it there on time, we fail. If we forget the time, we fail. 

I can't worry about time or as much as I have. I can't worry about a trip I'm planning with my college's study abroad because it's six months from now, I can't worry about what internship I might have in a year from now, I can't worry about my relationship status because I have time to meet people, I can't worry about who I will be around when I'm older because all that matters is what I've got at this moment and how I'm spending it now. Surrender to the flow of life, be present, listen to yourself and others, and the rest will follow. 

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