Thursday, February 27, 2014

Letting go and finding peace

Ego says, "Once everything falls into place, I'll feel peace." Spirit says, "Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place." (Marianne Williamson)

I came across this quote the other day, and it resonated with me, especially now after many years of struggling to make work-related issues fall into place. Sometimes they did, other times I hit the wall or fumbled the ball and had to come up with new strategies. I kept thinking that once work issues were solved, I’d be in a better place psychologically and then I could find peace of mind. I discovered that it didn’t work that way for me. Things didn't 'fall into place' (work out as I wanted) no matter how hard I tried to make them do so, and I had to learn a new way of being. Additionally, the idea that we can make things fall into place by exerting control over situations or people is an illusion that is sold to us as sound advice over and over, in advice columns, self-help books, via well-meaning colleagues and friends. We're often told that 'we choose our lives or the situations that happen to us'. That may be true at times, but it is not an absolute. People want the best for us--I do believe that, at least the people who care about us. They mean well. But their words cannot guarantee a desired outcome any more than can our attempts to control that desired outcome. Things in life don’t always fall into place; we can't mold life to suit our desires. We don’t always get what we want, when we want it or how we want it, but we have to live our lives anyway, dealing with the jumble of stressful feelings that the struggle for control and order create in us.  

Although we can hope that things will fall into place, we cannot make them fall into place. I think another way of saying this is ‘let go and let God’. In all instances, the realization that we can have peace of mind without striving for full control and order, is freeing and peaceful in and of itself. During the past few years, I have rediscovered the joys of just being—something I was more in tune with when I was a teenager--not always having something to do or somewhere to be. When I am out walking in nature, I am with nature, looking and listening to the birds, watching the clouds go by, enjoying the warm sunshine in the midst of winter. I don’t want to be connected to social media; I don’t even need conversation sometimes. I just want to be. I think that is peace of soul and mind. When I find myself wondering or worrying about how situations are going to turn out and what my role in them might be, I tell myself to let go and to take a step back, so that I can view the situation from afar. It helps me maintain perspective. Perspective helps me maintain objectivity, something that gets lost when I get too involved in worrying about or trying to force the outcome of a situation. Perspective gives me peace, and the odd thing is that when I feel peaceful, I am much less concerned with the outcome of a particular situation, perhaps because I realize that I do not have complete control over anything. There is too much to obsess over in modern society, too much to chase, too many goals, too many material things to distract us and destroy peace, and too many interruptions. There is too little time for reflection, stillness and solitude. I want peace more now than I want any of the other things. At this point in my life, peace is worth gold.

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