“and,” not “but”

I’m not young and invincible anymore.

I’m getting older.  I need enough sleep to get through my day.  I’ve sustained a few injuries.  I thought I’d have things more figured out, be more in tune with who I am, or have “made it” by now.  I am blissfully WRONG about all of these things.  I’m learning that yes, life is about making yourself, but lately, life has felt more like… unbecoming what I’m NOT.  Sounds like a double negative, but the more I release the things that I’m NOT, the more space and energy I have for the things that I AM.

I don’t claim to have the answers, or any answer, for that matter.  I’m learning that no one has their life completely figured out, and that is OKAY.  It is OKAY to not know your passion, to not know what you want to do with your life, to not have everything planned and figured out.  It is okay to struggle and wrestle with ideas.

Today I want to share a couple of ideas that I’ve wrestled with my entire adult life.

  • Head versus heart.  I think of myself as a logical and reasonable person.  It has served me well in school and in my career.  In the last few years, I’ve really had to put in effort and experience growing pains to develop my emotional side.  I’m realizing that BOTH the head and the heart have value.  I don’t have to choose one or the other.  They are actually stronger TOGETHER.  I’m learning to allow them to complement and strengthen each other.  On a recent trip to Dallas, my boyfriend found this beeeeautiful print.  It’s really helped the way I approach this concept.  I can let my mind and heart flow together, work together, and strengthen each other.  One can unleash the other, and vice versa!
  • Making things happen versus letting things flow.  I don’t know if I’ll ever have this one perfected!  I’m a big believer in taking action with your life, being a player and not a victim, and doing everything in my power to pursue the things I want.  However, I realize that I am not invincible or all powerful.  God, the Universe, Fate; whatever I call it, there is a power and being outside of me that controls my life as well.  I really loved this idea from this TED talk by Terri Trespicio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i480XQC7jmE) – I get to coauthor my life, but I don’t get to script the entire thing from end to end.  Yes, I have a LOT of creative prowess in how I want to craft my life.  But I don’t get to control every tiny bit of it.  I’m working on my fitness and nutrition to lead a healthy life and decrease the odds of dying from a cardiovascular disease.  But no matter how much I prepare, I could die in an accident, in my sleep, at any moment in time.  Some people die too young, and some smokers and drinkers reach a full century.  You never know!

I still don’t know how to ideally implement all of these ideas.  What I am constantly relearning, though, is to DROP the idea of “versus.”  Both can coexist.  I can use “and” instead of “but” statements.  I can accept the fact that life is unknown and unpredictable, AND still do my best to create the life I want.  A lot of the major turning point events in my life were happy, serendipitous accidents.  Things actually did NOT go the way I wanted, the way I planned, the way I pictured them in my mind.  It hurt to experience loss and disappointment. But those things were exactly what I NEEDED to become who I am today!  In hindsight, all those twists and turns now make complete sense.  My current life is so much more beautiful, fulfilling, and exciting than I could have ever planned or imagined back then.

Knowing all of that, why is it still so hard for me to let go of control and trust that the exact same power is at work currently, and that it will also yield me a future that is more beautiful, fulfilling, and exciting than I can currently imagine?  I know in my mind that things aren’t going to go the way I want all the time.  That sometimes I’ll be denied things I want, to be provided with things I need.  That sometimes (a lot of times, actually!), I have no idea what will actually make me happy, and that the Universe will show me what I needed to learn all along.

It is not lost on me that this contradicts my first post a little bit.  I could argue that we never feel 100% ready for anything.  The magic and beauty in life is in taking that step, that jump, that leap anyway, and trusting (hoping!) that your wings will appear as you fall.  Maybe you’ll even fly.  🙂  Hmm, I suppose that’s what I’m ultimately trying to understand and internalize (so I don’t have to keep relearning this lesson *sweaty face emoji*) – life is just doing the best you can with what you have in this moment, and then trusting in whatever comes next.

I’m learning that I don’t need to choose either end of the spectrum.  I can apply different things in my life, in different situations, to varying degrees, with grace and artistic expression.  Sure, I can knock down barriers.  And I can also trust that the doors will open for me when the time is right.  I love the phrase “the teacher appears when the student is ready.”  I think this can also mean that the right doors will open (and close!) at the right time for you.

The big unknown can be debilitating and terrifying.  And it can also be liberating, exhilarating, exciting!  I have no idea who I’m going to be in a year, in 5 years, in 10 years.  That idea could absolutely paralyze me.  It can also give me complete freedom.  I can release any preconceived notions and just let my life unfold naturally.  Find a balance of pushing myself to be my best, not pressuring myself to the point of unproductive stress, and then letting go of the outcome.  Trusting that life will unleash itself in a way so magical, so beautiful, that I can’t even imagine it right now.

How can you apply all these concepts in your life?

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