A big life change for me is looming. I am set to retire in a few months and I am having bouts of anxiety about these changes. I’m more of a swooning bundle of trepidation than of grace these days, with goose bumps rippling up and down my limbs. People tell me that once I do it , I will be saying to myself “why did I not do it sooner”? Everyone has an opinion and I stopped soliciting people’s opinions awhile back because I figured out that I’m going to have to walk this path myself and allow the answers and insights to unfold naturally.
And that’s the problem. I tend to want the answers right now. I want the answer to blare like a megaphone into my brain such as “YES, do this now!” or “NO, it’s not your time. WAIT.”
But it doesn’t seem to work out that way. Insights and answers, I have found, have a way of unfolding quietly in their own time and definitely in more whispery tones than loud broadcasts. I want to run ahead in the story and see how I am doing 12 months from now, and see myself happy, whole and content and knowing I did the right thing. In short, I’m not sure I am ready for this change. I suppose I could continue as I have done for the past 29 years, getting up and going to work each day and doing work that I sincerely enjoy and working with people I love and who are like family. I have been immensely blessed.
I hold excitement and fear all at once, in the same moment, in the same breath. The same way I hold joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, day and night, life and death as if physical existence in its fullest essence and expression is just one big paradox. How do I hold serenity and fear at the same time, or love of life and fear of death at once? But I do – it’s a puzzle of life that keeps us on our toes. And speaking of toes, my feet walk on the mud of earth but my head reaches to the heavens. I want to stay grounded yet my soul yearns to soar. And so it’s all a paradox, but one that is mitigated by meeting in the middle between the head and feet at the place of the heart. What does my heart tell me? My heart tells me a lot of things; in order to be with the ones I love, I must leave behind other things that I love.
I think the heart has a remarkable ability of reconciling paradoxes and neutralizing fear. It bypasses the loud pronouncements of the intellect that uses words like “would” or “should”. I am not saying that one shouldn’t sit down and make calculations, projections and analyses and think about pros or cons. Such a process is no doubt necessary, but I don’t want it to be the sole arbiter either – we possess a right brain hemisphere and a heart for a reason. I like to bring those muscles into the equation too.
When the answer is not so apparent, perhaps the moment calls for patience, quiet, reflection, waiting and definitely some prayer in my world. For a person like me with an impatient, impetuous nature, this can be downright tortuous. Taking it a moment at time and not running too far ahead is a practice and as with anything, practice makes perfect. It is humbling to wait and to seek inner guidance and clarity. With experience and practice we can learn to get better at quieting the mind chatter so we can indeed listen to soft, vital whispers that float up from the deep abyss of eternal wisdom.
A few years ago, my husband and I made attempts to sell our home to our son. We tried twice and each time, a roadblock surfaced and we could not make the deal happen. I remember being rather despondent about this and taking a long walk to quell my angst. After the walk, I went to an Alanon meeting and in front of me was placed the sign “Let Go and Let God”. I took it as a cue and let out a big sigh as representative of simply letting go. I trusted if the home sale was meant to be, it would happen. Three years after the first attempt, we decided to make a third attempt. My son and his wife were a bit gun shy and reluctant but I said (allowing for a balance of intellect and heart to lead the way) “Let’s try this one more time and if it doesn’t work, we will take it as a sign that it’s not meant to be, but let’s at least try.” Well things fell into place quite nicely, remarkably so, and soon we were celebrating the sale of our home to our son, his wife and three sons. We had kept the house in the family. It had taken 3 years and 3 attempts, but it was done not according to my whims or demands, but on the timetable of some universal order.
And so I feel there is an order and plan for me, as there is for you. Facing the huge blank screen in front of me, can I trust that a Higher Power will fill it with meaning and purpose? God has gotten me this far, and so I feel I can trust that I will be guided as to next steps. It’s not that I don’t have extracurricular activities because I do, but work has given me meaning and I contribute to something and use my noggin to solve problems.
One day I may return to this subject and share how happy I am. Til then, I will trust that just as the house sale fell into place in its own time, that I, too, will find fulfillment in a whole new chapter of life.
Hello Blank screen!
May you be happy, may you be well, may you prosper,