There is a strong Western culture of pushing. Of striving.
I want to challenge that belief. The belief that the only way to get the result you want, is to push for it, to try harder for it, to keep going at all costs.
I have come to experience a real power and strength in the NOT pushing. It's actually harder than it sounds.
Life is always giving us feedback and guidance on the next steps to take, the questions is - are we listening?
A friend said to me recently - just because you COULD does not mean that you SHOULD.
This was so simple and stunningly true and I realised the beauty in restraint.
The beauty in holding back. The wisdom in waiting for more clarity. The courage in sitting in uncertainty and the not-knowing. The utter strength in surrender.
When I birthed my first daughter Avi, despite having all the intellectual tools I needed to have an empowered birth, I had never felt more disempowered, scared or hopeless. Everything I learned went out the window and I was just trying to survive the experience.
When the midwife told me to PUSH or she was getting the forceps, fear overtook me.
Every fibre of my being was telling me "DON'T PUSH", it felt dangerous, it felt counter-intuitive, it felt like if I pushed, I was going to do serious damage to my body.
I could feel that I was at my capacity. I was stretched to my limit in that moment and I just needed to wait.
But I was scared, so I pushed.
Now, it could have been far worse, but I did end up tearing. And right before I pushed, I could feel that if I pushed that I would tear.
I felt like James Franco in 127 hours about to cut off my own arm.
I didn't trust my intuition or my body that was saying "no" - I trusted the midwife who was the 'expert'.
It was a powerful lesson for me that I didn't fully understand until I was having my second baby.
Cut to round 2 when I birthed Millie, my experience was completely different and it was honestly one of the most empowering and love filled experiences of my life. It was incredible. It was everything I knew birth could be.
When the time came to 'push' - I didn't. Instead, I breathed. Instead I visualised being soft and allowing. In a few moments I felt an involuntary urge to physically push, and so I did a couple of times I think, but mostly I just breathed and let my body do it's thing. I actually didn't need to push, my body was doing it for me, and she was coming at the pace she needed to. When that feeling of restraint came in - that feeling that said "don't push, just breathe and allow things to open" - I did.
The midwives were telling me to push - but this time I listened ONLY to my body. I trusted the sensations. I trusted myself.
And I birthed a significantly bigger baby with zero tearing, grazes or physical damage.
And I could feel the whole time that my body was safe.
I never pushed. I never did something that felt unsafe.
I believe this translates into all areas of our lives, including our direction and love.
If something doesn't feel right - listen and adapt.
Listen intensely to your inner guidance. NOBODY can tell you what is right for you. There is no expert that can give you your answers.
Your answers lie within.
I'm not talking about giving up when things get hard, but I am talking about continually asking the questions - "does this feel right?" "is this truly what I want?"
Similarly in love - if you have to push too hard for something to work, if you have to compromise too much of yourself, if you have to drag the other person to the half way line for an extended period of time - it doesn't feel good.
There is a courage in surrendering to that some things are just not meant to be, and knowing when to let go.
And in fact, in that letting go, we create space for what is truly meant to be ours to step forward and reveal itself.
Ask yourself, where I am pushing beyond where it feels safe, reasonable or intuitive?
Yes - work hard. Yes - stay strong. Yes - believe you can and will.
But only as long as it feels right in your soul.
Practice listening to you and you can't go wrong.