If I Try Hard Enough, I Can Control EVERYTHING (insert evil laugh)

I wish I could go back and meet the 20-year-old Desiree.  She was smartest version of Desiree that has yet to exist.  Her world was black and white; right or wrong; good or bad.  She knew what she wanted, why she wanted it, where she was going, how to get there, and pitied all of the sad people who knew none of those things.  She never wasted time doing “fun” things, for they were pointless.  Her opinions were strong, and if you had the pleasure of knowing 20-year-old Desiree, I am sorry.  If you knew her, and are still part of my life, thank you.  This means you endured a lot of impatience, quick words, and frequent insensitivity.  

 Rare photograph of the smartest Desiree 

Rare photograph of the smartest Desiree 

    If 20-year-old Desiree met 31-year-old Desiree, she would not approve.  With age, I have miraculously gotten dumber and more unsure of nearly everything in life. (I fear what my mental state will be in 25+ years.) I often wonder how I got here and question if I am on the right track, but all I have to do is take a sweeping look around to realize I have never worked, loved and lived so fully. I've also never been happier and the surprising part is that it is borderline effortless. I hesitate to use that word because, believe me, I put a lot of effort into everything I do, but rather than fixating on a goal and jamming my way there, when opportunities present themselves I simply follow the “breadcrumbs.” This has led to life becoming less of a grind and more of a joy.  It is taken a lot of letting go to get here though.  In fact, letting go has become a daily practice.  Letting go of what people think of me (number one most FREEING thing ever), letting go of a lot of beliefs and habits, letting go of my illusion of control over my life, and most of all, letting go of what I thought my life would be like.  For most of my life I forced everything.  I forced myself to start college immediately after high school and finish in no more than four years; I forced myself to work as much as humanly possible; I forced myself to believe things that intuitively felt wrong.  Oddly enough, the few times in my early 20’s when I didn't “force it”, things turned out beautifully. The main example of that is my incredible husband.  Contrary to everything I was raised to believe and taught in church, I dated a guy who was not in the church.  It felt right though.  At one point, I seriously considered ending things with him just a few months into our relationship when he told me that he “didn't know” what he believed.  I couldn't understand that, and I envisioned all the terrible things that would result from his honesty with me.  I thank God every day that I went with my gut and stayed with him, and shudder to think what would have happened otherwise.  

 First glimpse of Desiree throwing caution to the wind.

First glimpse of Desiree throwing caution to the wind.

    The second most significant time that I surrendered to what was happening was when I found my yoga practice. It seemed as if it was by accident, but in retrospect, I think it was trying to find me years earlier in the form of my pilates class at Fresno State.  It was closer to yoga than pilates, and I loved it.  When I took a pilates class at GB3, a yoga teacher was the substitute and she instead taught yoga, and I loved it.  When I took the Tone It Up challenge and they had a yoga workout, instead of skipping it, I did it.  I'll let you guess if I loved it.

    I continued following my yoga curiosity and, at first, stuck only to Tone It Up and a yoga app because they weren't “spiritual.”  I cautiously began letting go of my preconceived beliefs about yoga and the rest of my yoga journey unfolded quite quickly and spectacularly (read journey here).  I've heard that success is a combination of luck and preparation and I have had both, but I also feel surrendering is just as important. In fact, when I reflect on the moments just before I broke my finger, I realized that a forceful thought went through my head. I had been falling out of my posture over and over and as I tried it again I said to myself "I am not letting go of my shoe this time." I am no match for gravity though and my shoe explained to my unrelenting grip that it was going down with or without it’s consent. Snap! Broken finger. 

    Moral of the story, boys and girls? Stop fighting, resisting, forcing. Surrender. Live your life, follow your passions and curiosities and stop living in fear of the outcomes. Put out there what you want, take actions in your control and then sit back and watch it unfold.  When detours and unexpected bumps arise, surrender. When things "don't go your way," surrender.  You really are not in control anyway.  This is not a concept 20 year old Desiree would have accepted and it's one that I currently struggle with daily.  Thankfully, I am now aware of how little of my world I can control and I remind myself of this every time I begin to feel overwhelmed.  What are you fighting, forcing or resisting?  Take a moment to identify it, name it out loud, and, in the wise words of Queen Elsa, “let it go.”

-Desiree Heckman