“I don't know how long I can do this, he said. I think the universe has different plans for me & we sat there in silence & I thought to myself that this is the thing we all come to & this is the thing we all fight & if we are lucky enough to lose, our lives become beautiful with mystery again & I sat there silent because that is not something that can be said.” Brian Andreas, Story People/Flying Edna
I’ve always loved this quote by Brian Andreas because it makes me think very hard about what he’s trying to say. I find myself chewing on it, circling around it, sitting quietly with it.
As I was thinking about it again recently, I was thinking about it in context of how we often get in our own way. There are so many sayings and “isms” that try and warn us against this very thing, that tell us to “let go and let God” or to “get out of our head” or to “don’t think just do.” In religion, in therapy, in recovery, in self-help and motivation… this message is repeated over and over and over. We HAVE to let go of our own stubbornness and trust the universe, because the universe knows better. It really pretty much always knows better.
And yet “this is the thing we all fight…”
Has this ever happened to you? Have you held on tightly to something because your brain told you that you should, or your brain told you that you had to, or your brain told you that you were right, or your brain told you that there was no other way?
When I was active in my drinking, my brain was screaming at me all the time. It was screaming at me to keep fighting, to keep trying to hide and to keep trying to prove to the world that I was “fine.” I was holding on tighter and tighter and tighter to my self-made belief that there was no other option, no way out.
But I was “lucky enough to lose.” Thank God, I was “lucky enough to lose.”
In my experience, every time I’ve let go of something I’ve been holding on tightly to, whether I have let go willingly or surrendered against my will, my world—the world—has expanded, not retracted.
And so as I walk in recovery now, I am trying to be mindful of the ways and places I get stuck in my own head. And I don't know how it is for you, but the clues for me are when I’m feeling extra stubborn, unreasonably defensive, or 100% “right.” When those feelings creep into my awareness I know it’s time to offer myself to the universe and to listen very carefully to what the universe offers in return. Because the universe really, really does pretty much always know better.
It takes courage to trust the surrender, I know. It takes a remarkable amount of bravery to walk towards "defeat." But I just wonder how much we are missing if we don’t.
How can you be “lucky enough to lose” today?