Are you willing?

There's a lot of talk about manifestation these days. And though it's all very well, and important, to keep our minds open to the positive possibilities in life, particularly when there's so much changing form around us, the way I see it, it's not so much about manifesting what we want, it's more about aligning with what is - and then letting what is 'meant' to come to us reach us.There are two ways you could have interpreted the headline of this piece. That was kind of intentional on my part. We can either be willing to surrender to life as it is - open our arms and receive it on all levels, and in doing so, allow it to weave its transformative magic for us. Or we can be willing life to be as we wish it to be: and somehow this way we can get in our own way - and block our good.It's a very subtle thing, this. We need to be willing to let ourselves be led by life to enjoy what really wants to come to us, which is often better than anything we could have dreamed up ourselves. And part of this is being willing to let go of everything we've come to depend on or rely on - everything that may have once defined us, defined our identity. And as we learn to give away all, we receive all.I was reminded of this simple (to me) truth this morning when a dear friend in Italy called me on skype when I was finishing off a piece of writing. I stopped my work to talk to him. He said he was feeling sad because all the structures that he'd grown up with in his beloved country were breaking down. 'All the industries I've ever worked for - they're on the international flea market now' (he has this charming way with English).I could understand his sadness. But I had a different perspective. I offered it to him, asking him if he could see anything positive in what he was seeing. Did those old structures really serve a purpose? The military industry. The health industry. Or was it necessary somehow for them to break down, to make way for 'the new' - more balanced, sustainable, equitable forms?He was sad. He was angry. He didn't really want to receive my way of looking at things, not for the moment anyway. He said that Italy's economy was suffering and it seemed that through this suffering certain other economies were gaining in some way. He didn't like this.I invited him to see things in a slightly different way. If we can be less 'attached' to the structures that are falling away, ie, don't feel that our identity is somehow attached to them, we can let go of them, let them change shape, more easily. In his case his identity was attached to his country, 'the military', 'the health industry'. And I also challenged him to see these as birthing pains of the new rather than the dying gasps of things that were familiar to him.It made me think. Isn't each one of us going through this same kind of transition ourselves at some level? Aren't we each being challenged to let go of the things we've come to rely on in some way?And it's easy, when we're limited by identities of various sorts, for our 'patterns' - a co-counselling term (which we may or may not be aware of) to lead us in these situations. In this case, my friend was allowing his pattern of seeing himself as the 'victim', weak in the face of a powerful tyrant (some of the richer economies - at least that's the way he chose to see it) and getting himself into the 'poor me' pattern that reared its head every time he was in a situation of stress. It is of course our choice whether we allow ourselves to be bound and limited by these 'false' personality structures - whatever is going on in the external world. Maybe we don't want to see this - as he didn't - and this is our choice. The way I see it, however, our attitude determines everything.I sent him a beautiful, if rather new agey, version of the song, 09 Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace, inspired by the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi (coincidentally, of course, an Italian) which was playing on my computer at the time. Please feel free to substitute the word 'life' for 'You' etc. if this works better for you! There was something in its words that helped soothe the issues that had been raised in our conversation. At least for me, even if not for my Italian friend!!!