Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shoulder Shrugging

When I lived in Israel I learned how to shrug my shoulders. This was a most important lesson. Shortly after we arrived in Israel, I began to notice that people shrug their shoulders all the time. At first I was confused and didn’t understand why. I began to look for it. What I noticed is that Israelis shrug their shoulders for many reasons.

One is that the person they are speaking to is an ass and rather than get into a battle of ego, they shrug their shoulders.

Another reason is that they don’t know the answer to what is being asked of them and they shrug their shoulders.

Rather than getting angry, they shrug their shoulders.

When faced with a conundrum, they shrug their shoulders.

When they don’t understand the behavior of the person they are with, they shrug their shoulders.

But, the most intriguing reason is when faced with an impossible situation, they shrug their shoulders.

I came to understand that it is a form of surrender. They let go of the situation and with a shrug, they move on. I suppose with the prospect of living with the daily threat of war, most situations seem unimportant in the overall scheme of things; and so they shrug.

I, too, learned to shrug. I surrendered in tiny ways at first, such as having to change my plans because a car was not available to me. I shrugged. Then I moved on to bigger things, I couldn’t work where I wanted to work because the work committee wanted me to work somewhere else, I begrudgingly shrugged my shoulders. I would shrug my shoulders and work where I was told, but truthfully not very willingly, the shrug hardly worked in that case, but I just kept on shrugging. It took a while. While the bombs were falling and we were waiting, we all shrugged our shoulders, mainly because there was nothing else to do.

I am still learning to shrug my shoulders, it is a hard fought lesson.

Surrender is never easy. There is an inherent internal fight that is taking place within us. Our wills want us to do proceed in the way that we always have, with our fists held defensively in front of our faces, ready for battle. But, somewhere within our soul, is the desire to let go and allow what is unfolding before us to take place. One way to facilitate the letting go, allowing and ultimate surrender is to start with a shrug of the shoulders.

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