mahogany-648There is a difference between following along and choosing to go with. Following along allows someone or something else to be responsible for choosing where and how things go. Following can be relaxing or passive or just the easiest choice or even the lack of choice in any given situation.  Sometimes it’s the best option and it can even be life saving in dangerous situations. Choosing to go with is a conscious act of participation.  It’s a conversation or a dance between this someone or something and another. It’s a joining, one partner leading and the other mirroring, being influenced and inspired by the other yet retaining their own motivations.

This is what is meant by going with the grain. We don’t follow the way a cat’s fur goes. We pet in the direction of the grain or learn the reasons why we should. When working with wood there are times when going against the grain makes sense and is even necessary. But to bring out the richness of tone in its color, to give it a satiny smoothness, to achieve a curve, to bend it into a shape it hadn’t intended on its own, you want to go with the grain. Going with the grain allows us to not only participate in the rich gifts of whatever or whoever we are interacting with, it supports us in achieving more than the sum of our interactions. It is a union of individuals which creates something which has never been before.

Each of us has a grain as well.  An amazing structure which supports us and is part of the beauty and wonder of the world. Working against our grain, against our nature, our gifts, our skills and temperament, causes difficulties. It tears us down, rips at our confidence, causes us to struggle against progress and turn our energy into defense rather than progress.  Working with our grain, seeing our abilities and interests as gifts and assets regardless of what common wisdom or others opinions may be, allows us to achieve more than we have imagined and unfold new aspects of what is possible in life. What would it feel like if you worked with your grain instead of constantly struggling against it?