Soul Matters – October 2015

When my son was in preschool I asked him about a particular boy in his class, and whether he liked him. His reply was, “No. He’s a pusher guy.”

I thought about Pusher Guy the other day because I know, and I’m not proud of this, that I am a “pusher guy”—not in the pre-school sense of knocking others about, but in the equally deleterious sense of constantly trying to make things happen. This is never more apparent when life seems unbearably quotidian; when, despite all longings, nothing is moving.

In sailing terms such a period of uncertainty and lack of movement is called “in irons,” and I’ve felt “in irons” for a while now: not a hint of a breeze, going nowhere. Sharing this feeling with my husband he said, “Yes, but one knows that the wind will eventually pick-up,” to which I responded, “Yes, but it may be after one has died.”

Periods in life when there is no clear direction, no apparent movement or growth for months or even years, brings out my inner Pusher Guy, my insistent, incessant ego. When life feels at a standstill my obsessive-compulsive tendencies go off the charts. I start trying to force something—anything—to happen. And as soon Pusher Guy gets on a roll, he calls in his posse, Worry Guy and Frustration Guy, and then it’s a real party in that boat going nowhere, I can tell you.

I can hear Dr. Phil ask, “How’s all that pushing been workin’ for ya?” Well, it hasn’t worked—ever. All my pushing never gets me any of the things it’s supposed to get. It does, however, waste time, energy and money and causes no small amount of stress and illness. It’s really a terrific life strategy.

So why do I do it? Because deep down I believe that if I don’t do something, nothing will happen. Ever. And this terrifies my little ego. So a mutinous struggle between soul and ego arises. My higher-self tells me to let go, to trust that it will all work out perfectly, but my ego screams, “Are you nuts? Do something!” The result of this is that I pray, make affirmations, give it to the Universe and two minutes later I’m busy cogitating, planning, and trying to move things along. It’s a sickness.

The thing is, all the brilliance and busyness in the world is for naught without the Energy of Opportunity and the Force of Destiny behind it. Without these, it just ain’t going to happen. You can be a brilliant sailor with the finest sailboat but without wind, you simply cannot sail. Beyond this, Destiny may have other plans for you, and Destiny cannot be circumnavigated.

Pusher Guy doesn’t see this bigger picture. He can’t. Only the soul can see the larger trajectory of our lives because our souls are not limited to a time-space continuum. Pushing to “make” things happen serves only to interfere with the organic unfolding of what wants to happen; an eventuality that invariably leads us just when and where we need to go, even if there is no wind at the moment, even if the destination is not immediately apparent. We often cannot see until it’s too late how our pushing lands us in a sticky situation, or moves us away from what our heart and soul need.

Every time I pull Pusher Guy back into the boat and calm him down my soul, my divine wisdom, can be heard. Every time we loosen a finger on our death grip of control we allow Life to show us the way, to direct and to teach us. The Tao teaches that, “Knowing what we can do nothing about, and accepting it as our destiny … is supreme virtue.” Being in irons, as frustrating and scary as it is, is the way we develop the trust, wisdom and courage that will serve us well when we finally make shore.

KATE INGRAM, M.A. is a psychotherapist, author and soul coach. Find out more at See ad page 26.