2 words that will change your life: just ask
This is AMPstigator - a podcast that amplifies the voices of instigators making change and taking names. Most episodes are my interviews with incredible guests.. But you’ve now clicked on -what i’m lovingly calling- a spin-off mini-series of solo-episodes with me - your host, lauren lowrey.
Each one of THESE features two words that will change your life…
If you’ll just embrace them.
Last week I was in the kitchen. It was the morning and the kids were downstairs. I was about to start making breakfast when my 4-year old (my middle son) starts reaching for something on the counter. He’s 4. His arms are short! But he was trying to grab this small vase - you know the ones that hold only like 3 flowers. His little baby arms are reaching for this thing and he can’t get it and he loses his mind. He starts yelling and whining and grunting. And I turn around thinking like “what in the world is wrong?”
I see him reaching for this thing and he’s like 3-inches away from it. There’s no way he’s gonna reach it on his own unless he starts finding things to stand on.
And I’m like ‘whoa whoa whoa. What’s the problem? Are you trying to reach the vase?’
He’s like ‘yeah’ you know in his 4 year old voice.
And I said to him ‘Don’t freak out. If you need help, Just ask.’
That’s when it hit me - oh my god. There’s a lesson here.
I watched my son lose his mind in seconds because he was reaching for something he couldn’t seem to get. You and I both know all he had to do was ask for help and I would’ve helped him. But watching him made me realize we’re hard-wired to do things on our own, struggle.. And think it has to be hard.
I’ve got another son who would’ve handled it differently. My 2-year old wouldn’t say a word. He’d disappear up the stairs, grab his bathroom stool; carry it all the way downstairs; stand on it, get the vase and then take it somewhere so he could study it by himself. And while I’m so impressed by his self-reliance, I’m also kinda like “DON’T WORK SO HARD. if you need help, JUST ASK.”
In our adult world, we can often identify the problems – just like this vase. Maybe something’s juuuuust out of your reach, so you spend time brainstorming solutions, choose the best one, create a plan, and then execute. But let’s be real… you might throw a fit along the way. It might take you yearssssss to come to terms with the plans and you may never even reach the solution you set out for. And when that happens - whether it comes from sabotage, or change of priorities, or because you’re JUST. SO. TIRED. you may never even get where you’re trying to go.
And *that’s* why you’re listening to this very specific episode right now.
Because you need to JUUUST. ASSSK.
So lets break it down like good journalists… who, what, when, where and why.
Let’s start with WHO…
Who are we asking?
Easy: your higher power. God. That sage part of you that already knows the way. All that’s required here is that you take your hands off the wheel. And ask for help. You could look at this as prayer. You don’t have to call it that if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to know who you’re talking to. What we’re going for is the ACT of surrendering. THAT’S what we’re after.
Now.. I’m sure some of you will hear this and think I’m saying to ask other people for help. If that’s what comes through for you, that works, too. But I need to be clear: THAT ISN’T SURRENDER. That’s asking for someone else to carry the burden with you.
Surrender –like TRUE, HANDS UP, SURRENDER– happens when we know we don’t have the answers, we can’t see the way forward, we don’t know if what’s to come is better or worse, WE ONLY KNOW THAT WE CAN’T DO IT THE WAY WE’VE BEEN DOING IT ANYMORE.
Your next-level spiritual development is in letting go of the process and asking someone you can’t see or touch for help. THAT is full on surrender.
What are we asking for?
Maybe its help. Maybe its guidance. Maybe its to see the way forward. Maybe its peace..
Or a sign..
Or an aligned business partner…
Or a healthy relationship.
There’s an infinite number of things you could be asking for.
Think through what you’re really struggling with and JUST ASK FOR HELP.
A couple months ago I was in a bad spot with my over-scheduling issue. It was an unhealthy part of what landed me in a hospital in August. I swore to never do that again and when I saw my calendar filling up earlier this year, I was like ‘uh-oh. Danger!’
I really struggled with what to do – and so, in my distress, I decided to JUST ASK for help. I was in my car in a parking lot at the time and I just said out loud “I need help with this. I have no clue what else to do.”
I left it there.
I did nothing else.
And what started happening was suddenly NO ONE ASKED ME FOR ANYTHING. I didn’t have meeting invitations, speaking requests, literally nothing that would take my time. Since no one was asking to get on my calendar, the problem fixed itself.
What I realized is the answer wasn’t in the DOING. It was in the NON-DOING. The path to fixing the problem wasn’t ACTION – it was INACTION. I had to condition myself to STOP DOING – To take my hands off the wheel. By surrendering the problem – JUST ASKING FOR HELP – i put myself in a place to receive help.
THAT… is surrender.
When do I “JUST ASK?”
I would say as soon as possible. But I know asking for spiritual guidance and help is likely not second nature for you. If it is - that’s incredible and you should be on my podcast to teach everybody!!!
But for everyone else, living in surrender and naturally asking for help.. probably isn’t your go-to!
It’s like I said earlier with the vase – Most of us see the problem.. Something juuust out of reach… we brainstorm, we plan, we hope, we work so hard -sometimes burn ourselves out- and then get really upset (like my 4-year old) when we still don’t reach the flowers.
What if…. AND THIS IS A BIG WHAT IF… you tried something different?
What would it look like for you to surrender? To believe that something can happen without you doing it? What if you JUST ASK?
I’ll be honest, this has been a major sticking point in my life. Old Lauren saw asking for help or surrendering as giving up. They’re not the same thing.
Giving up says “There’s no magic. Nothing’s possible.”
Surrender says “I don’t have the answer but I know there’s another way. Give me guidance.”
Surrender makes the impossible possible. It invites in grace. It invites in balance and trust. It invites in real faith in a situation you know deeply is supposed to end differently, you’re just not sure how.
This guidance to “JUST ASK” is the glue that brings it all together! It’s the longer arm to reach the vase.
For some of you.. This will be a lesson that takes zero time to embrace. For others, this might take you months. In my experience – those of us who are used to mopping the floor with our productivity, kicking butt and taking names… surrender can often be a challenge, because we’re so good at doing things on our own.. But surrender is EXACTLY what you need.
Okay – so we did “who, what and when”...
Let’s get to our final 3 journalist questions: where, why and how
WHERE do I ask?
In terms of a physical location - do it somewhere you’re alone and can feel vulnerable without judgment. For me, that’s on a trail.
But in terms of where in your life you ask - I would start with the situations that have totally confounded you – the ones where you’re like “what the heck do I do now?!?!” I need an answer, like yesterday, and I’ve got NOTHING! Those are great grounds for surrender!
Here’s the next question:
Why should i ‘just ask?’
I’ll answer your question with another question…
What would happen if you tried it? What would happen if you surrendered to a higher, deeper understanding of the way things REALLY work.. What if it’s your full life force encouraging you to “JUST ASK”-- JUST UNLOCK IT.
I see it like this.
You’re spending your whole life searching for this golden key to a treasure chest that has your purpose, your promotion, total ease and abundance - all inside. But you get so tired of searching for the key, you throw your hands up - like I SURRENDER. And that’s when suddenly the treasure chest OPENS.
Surrender is the ACTUAL KEY. iT WAS THE KEY YOU WERE LOOKING FOR.
When you surrender, you realize the chest was unlocked the whole time – but you thought you had to work to get it open. Nope.
The treasure is there.
You just have to let go.
Just ask for it to be opened for you.
So if you’re still wondering WHY WOULD I ‘JUST ASK’ - because you’re wasting your time and energy doing this thing on your own. You are so so so so strong. But you were never meant to do this big and mighty life alone.
And here’s the last of our 6 journalist questions: who, what, when, where, why and how.
How do I ‘JUST ASK?’
Again - if you feel comfortable praying. That’s what this is.
If you’re like “i don’t do religion, I don’t pray,” I totally get you and here’s what we’re gonna do. Close your eyes and think of something that’s just not working in your life. Something that brings you heavy stress, or anxiety or discomfort or sadness or just yucky stuff when you imagine it.
Now I want you to lay your head back and close your eyes.
Just say this…
I give up.
I don’t have the answers.
I need help.
Now breathe into that surrender. Whatever places in your body tightened up when you thought of that heavy thing that’s causing you so much stress… send your breath there. When you breathe in, visualize the breath in that part of your body. Let your breathe circle around that thing - and let your out-breath slingshot it out of your body.
Each inhale breathe into that space where you’re holding that problem… let the breath circle it… and throw it out.
Sit here as long as you need to.
*this* is how you surrender.
If you do it day in and day out, you’ll slowly lift one finger at a time off the wheel. No more white-knuckling. You’ll eventually have all 10 fingers off and you’ll be amazed at how much different you feel when you look back.
So next time you’re getting frustrated or feeling hopeless… remind yourself to JUST ASK for what you need.
Just ask for the guidance.
Just ask for the answer.
Just ask for the missing piece to pop up.
You’ll be amazed at how it changes you.. And changes the situation.
As you go through this week, I encourage you to shine your light, lead with your heart and live life purposefully.
I’m lauren lowrey and this is ampstigator.