“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra
A few years ago I presented a talk to a group of unemployed Americans in their middle years. When I was finished, the first person to raise her hand asked me,
“Do you believe we have to hit bottom in our lives before we truly begin to change?” My answer at the time was, “I did.”
The fact is that most of us will not change until we become uncomfortable enough to admit defeat. Most need to be absolutely convinced that the “plan” they had for their life is simply not working. The way this usually comes about is through a major crisis which demands our complete attention. Divorce, serious illness, the death of a loved one, or long-term unemployment, especially when these occur in our middle years, seem to be the most common stimulants leading to the end of our naïve notion that we somehow can control everything that happens to us. These events become ever more common as we age. These unforeseen and often unforeseeable occurrences tend to inform us in no uncertain terms that changes in our life plan are now in order.
We may first try to defend against the onset of pain and confusion by denying or ignoring this sudden lack of certainty or security in our lives. Most seek to escape into bad relationships, drug addiction, religious faith or even artificially extreme feelings of independence, as they defend against their need to depend on others in their lives.
Even though it may seem completely counter-intuitive at this tough spot, you may discover that accepting and embracing the chaos and uncertainty you feel surrounded by is your first best step towards peace. Stop, sit down quietly, and begin to feel the enormity of this apparent crisis, realizing that this may be one of the most important opportunities of your adult life.
Can you trust in the power of your own psyche to survive this crisis, and in that way heal yourself?
“Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. – Pema
Know that this is the beginning of your own personal rite of passage into full adulthood. This is a natural, normal stage of human development studied by psychologists like Carl Jung, when he experienced it himself.
Recognize that you are not the first to feel chaos and uncertainty in your middle years. This is a well-documented transition of personal change, growth and human evolution. And the best way to move through this life stage smoothly is to embrace the new information and knowledge you will be given now.
By allowing this in, you have the ability to access the unique instruction this moment has for you. Instead of attempting to run from it, embrace the uncertainty. Begin to believe this moment is giving you access to your own unique brand of power, one you may have never known or acknowledged before. Begin to see that you alone know somewhere inside what needs to happen next. Spend the time necessary to listen to the small, still voice within, the one you may have been ignoring for decades. Recognize this voice perhaps for the first time as your inner guide, brimming with accumulated information and wisdom.
This source knows where you need to go next. It will instruct you in how you must change, grow and evolve into your best self in this moment. The sooner you begin to believe in its power and trust this valuable inner resource, the sooner you will follow its instructions, and find more structure, certainty and peace in your life.
13 thoughts on “The Challenge of Being Fully Present in Your Life”
Good stuff Laura Lee! I think you know I agree with this completely! ~Kathy
Thanks Kathy. I keep putting it out there in hopes that I will save some the anguish of facing crises feeling so alone like I did in my 40s.
You can grow through a crisis and heal but find that it’s still accessible.
Yes, yes and oh yes. It really is important to listen within and then to trust what we hear.
great post. needed to read that this morning!
I am trying to embrace the uncertainty in my life and I am listening to the voice inside me trying to tell me where to go from here. One of the voices told me to write so I am.
The answers are rarely clear during difficult times in our lives, but they are there when we are ready to fully listen.
Some of us never expect to change for good when we are moving through a massive transition. I’ve had that experience of thinking: “when this is over…” only to find there’s no going back to who you were and how you felt, and realizing sooner than later, you really wouldn’t want to.
This post walked through that process well.
So true Susan! I like the analogy of crossing a bridge, where you know you can never go back across it. Selling our nice home in the city to build in a rural area was exactly like that, with no way back to suburbia. Now that I live here I simply could not tolerate living in cities ever again…
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Divorce was my wakeup call to rebuild my life and learn to listen to my own little voice again. And I agree, often you don’t rebuild until things get incredibly bad.
Yes, divorce and then job loss were my kick in the butt to change everything, and my life has improved 500% ever since!
It’s ALWAYS a challenge! Thanks for sharing.