There is an old saying “Man plans and God laughs”. If there was ever a year my life that emphasized this, it would be the last 12 months! Much of the lessons below are reflective of other blog posts, but after looking back at the year I felt compelled to share them in this context.
To recap where I was in January of 2016:
- I was still retired from “Corporate America”
- Finishing my coaching certification through New Ventures West
- Adjusting to being single after a 31-year long marriage
- Dating a great man whom I had met the summer prior
Life was good! I envisioned starting to grow my coaching practice, continue to get to know my boyfriend, expand my hobbies, and occasionally sleep late.
Now I am:
- Re-employed by “corporate America” –
- By the same company that incentivized me to retire in 2010!
- A certified Integral Coach – with rewarding and meaningful practice
- Married and thriving in a lifelong partnership
- Continually wondering what the hell happened to all those great plans!
Much of my life I was a control freak, planning out each day, week, quarter – I spent the vast majority of my career doing the same type of work! I see now this desire to be in control was actually masking a fear: If I did not control it, ‘it’ might control me. If ‘it’ controlled me then I would be exposing myself to hurt, to negative outcomes, to the “unknown”. By my definition the unknown would generate negative consequences.
Not surprisingly, I was very good at controlling things. I also realized that even if I was in control, bad things still happened. My dad died young. I didn’t get the promotions I thought I should. My marriage didn’t last a life time. The company I was employed by merged, and I was no longer in the job I wanted. When my plans failed me and delivered a bad outcome my response would be: “I’ll never do that again”. The list of ‘nevers’ started to become very long.
Somewhere in the process of growing older, of accepting who I am and accepting the world as something other than “me”, I started to recognize that this controlling wasn’t working so well. Trying to control everything was not leading me to greater happiness. In fact, the very things I cherished most in life were the ones that entered unexpectedly, they were surprises.
As you may have remembered in an earlier blog… “Don’t fight Gravity”
As I started to let go, to let gravity be a force in my life that I can embrace and move with, I started to experience simply being human. I learned that you can walk into a situation without needing to control the outcome and allow things to unfold. I opened up to possibilities that the world might have something to offer to me that I had not yet experienced, a new lesson, a new moment, a new feeling.
When you fight to control what is around you, you are limited to what you ‘know’. If you already “know” everything how can you still have new experiences? How can you control everything and still grow?
I have come to accept that no matter what the world hands to me, I will be fine. I am strong enough, capable enough, wise enough, and supported enough to be able to survive. Not just survive, but thrive.
So, I am re-entering corporate America, and choosing to do so with a spaciousness of thought and feeling. I will take my warrior and my artist to the office each day. I will stay mindful that the I will be my most authentic when I stay present and engaged. I will choose to leave the laptop lid down and ears, eyes, mind and heart open. I will accept each day as it presents itself. I will not assume I know where this path will lead me, and instead chose to allow it to unfold in its own time. I will enjoy the journey.
I will still be results oriented. I also accept that how I define “a result” is forever changed and forever fluid.
I chose to believe the world is endless in its opportunity and possibility. There is a spaciousness that can exist if you let it in. Yes, bad things will happen. Good things will happen. Weather will sometimes be sunny, sometime be grey.
Our horizons are bounded by the degree to which we allow “Never” into our lives, when we set artificial boundaries, and lose sight of our values.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to let go of “Never”?