Life is not a spectator sport

Letting go: Part 2

Photo by Alexander Gorodilov on

Let’s talk about being in the flow. Life has a way of challenging us to stay present. When there is struggle, pain, loss and fear, it can be tempting to check out. Go numb. We can start to believe that what is happening to us is the way our lives will always be. Hard. It’s easy to feel stuck, helpless and overwhelmed. Avoiding our feelings and the truth of what we are being asked to experience is easy to do. In fact, it’s the cultural norm. With so much heartache and dysfunction in our society and world, checking out feels safer.

There are more ways to be numb than to be present. We have to CHOOSE presence in the face of discomfort.

There has been an abundance of opportunity in my life lately to stay present. I’m faced with making hard decisions, accepting transitions, letting go and inviting in new perspectives. I’m asking myself to reflect on ways that I have been avoidant so I don’t have to deal with difficult feelings and make hard decisions. I have to allow for change to take place. Letting go of dreams, relationships that no longer serve me, my identity as a certain kind of person, that’s all been part of this struggle.

I’ve forced myself to look at the ways I numb out, even if this is not what I wanted to believe about myself. I’ve had to challenge my entire self-concept.

One of the biggest pitfalls of our modern world is the temptation to watch other peoples’ lives instead of living our own. You know what I’m talking about. There’s nothing easier than scrolling on FB or instagram and imagining the awesome life that someone else has going on, comparing their story to our own experience and coming up short.

Or maybe you might be holding onto something that no longer serves you because you are concerned about how it will look. What other people will think of you.

We are all watching each other. The sense that we have to adjust our lives based on how we are perceived by others is a landmine that we have to recognize and avoid over and over. It’s both the internal programming and the crazy world we live in where all our business is public (or can be if we allow it) in an instant. We are trained to imagine that everyone cares about our choices and judges our decisions.

Trust me when I say that it doesn’t matter what other people think. I do not say this as a way to dismiss those whose opinions matter. I’m also not talking about being inconsiderate, reckless, cruel, or disregarding others’ feelings. I’m talking about the big picture of living your life authentically and tuning in to your internal truth.

Walk the intricate tightrope with me. We have to learn to balance how we care for our most important people and how we stay true to our deepest longings.

Here’s the tricky part. We all make decisions that may no longer serve us as we travel on life’s path, especially decisions made when we were/are young or working on adulting. This may be about career, relationship, location, friendship, stability vs. adventure, sacrifice, children, gender. Literally, everything is up for negotiation. If we are to live our best life, we have to keep checking in with ourselves. In our self-examination, we can really discover that many of our decisions are based upon pleasing others, wanting our parents to be proud of us, self-protection, society’s expectations, avoiding trauma (or re-experiencing it), keeping ourselves safe, wanting to feel loved and cared for, and not believing we are worthy of pleasure and joy.

Ask yourself some tough questions.

  • Are the choices I’ve made still working for me?
  • What do I really love doing?
  • Who do I like to spend my time with?
  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • Who gets me? Anyone?
  • Do I feel fully alive?
  • What are my wildest dreams?
  • What am I most proud of?
  • What have I not wanted to deal with?
  • Am I trying to please others and get approval and validation?
  • What have I done for myself lately?
  • Do my choices cause people closest to me unnecessary pain and heartache?

Say yes to life.

Say yes to adventure.

Find the balance between playing it safe and being your wildest self. LIVE.

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,

don't hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty 

of lives and whole towns destroyed or about

to be. We are not wise, and not very often

kind. And much can never be redeemed.

Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this

is its way of figthing back, that sometimes

something happens better than all the riches

or power in the world. It could be anything,

but very likely you notice it in the instant 

when love begins. Anyway, that's often the 

case.  Anyway, whatever it is, don't be afraid

of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Mary Oliver

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