How to Let Things Come to You. Updated 12/31/21
Is this your year to let things come to you? I know that might sound a bit passive, particularly in the world in which we live. Normally you’re advised to go out and get, to pursue rather than receive.
Although letting things come to you is definitely an act of receiving, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is far from passive. While it may not be as purposefully active as you’re used to, without a doubt there is forward movement involved in it.
What does it mean to let things come to you?
When you let things come to you, you traverse the space between being and doing. There is movement in that space that’s more like the meandering progress of a journey rather than the deliberate pushing forward to a specific destination.
It’s the leisurely road trip rather than making time and getting there fast. It’s not caring if the old pickup truck in front of you is poking along. And it’s definitely opening up to those unexpected detours that take you places you never could have imagined.
You practice being with the comfortable discomfort of waiting rather than forcing. You move toward patience rather than urgency.
At least, this is what I believe, as I begin to turn toward the wisdom of letting things come to me.
So, why would you want to practice letting things come to you?
Well, think about the possibilities. How would it feel to be able to retreat sometimes and wait patiently rather than bearing the weight of decision fatigue?
Imagine being sought, rather than constantly seeking. Or trusting, rather than having to pursue vigorously. And then, letting yourself turn toward the path that’s unfolding, so that the things that want to come to you can actually find you.
In my own journey and in my work with women, the thought of letting things come to you is both tremendously compelling and slightly unnerving. But it’s no secret that many of us have a deep yearning to loosen the reins and step back.
What a gift it might be if you chose to retreat from the constant pressure to do more and be more. Not to mention the unending list of tasks to be completed.
How do you step back, stop reaching so hard, and let things come to you?
I’ve come to suspect that you let things come to you by experimenting with…
- making room for quiet and stillness
- reframing wanting
- questioning the prevailing advice
- acknowledging that you’re ready
- wandering into unfamiliar places
- feeling both the freedom and discomfort of the unknown
- not filling up your hours and days
- honoring your own unique rhythms
- keeping your promises to yourself
Of course, you don’t have to do all of these things at once! In fact, I could write about every single one of them.
For now, though, it’s probably best to start with the last one on the list: keeping your promises to yourself.
Letting things come to you begins with keeping your promises to yourself.
By this I don’t mean the big promises you’re endlessly encouraged to make in January. You know, the resolutions, goals, intentions.
What I’m talking about are the dozens of small, sometimes tiny, promises we quietly whisper to ourselves that often go unmet.
Like the pause at sunset. The nap on a rainy afternoon. Really looking into someone’s eyes. Running our fingers through the rosemary. Lighting a candle just because. Powering down your screens and going outside (instead of consuming or working beyond your capacity).
I suspect you know exactly what I’m talking about because you likely have your own tiny promises. And you probably know that we women are usually really good at keeping our promises to others, but not always to ourselves.
So this is what I wish for all of us this year.
The kind of promise-keeping that cracks open the door to letting things come to us.
For now, I’m giving the last word over to poet Christine Valters Paintner, who says it far better than I ever could.
Give Up Your Endless Searching
Lay down your map and compass
and those dog-eared travel guides.
Rest your weary eyes from so much looking
your tired feet from so much wandering,
your aching heart from so much hoping.
* * * * *
Lay down in the soft green grass
wet with morning dew, and watch as
the tree heavy with pendulous pears
bends her long branches toward you
offering you perfection in every sweet bite.
* * * * *
Give up the weight of knowing,
for the reverence of quiet attention
and curiosity, for the delight of
juice that runs in generous streams
down your chin.
–Christine Valters Paintner