I’ve been spending a lot of time in my work life recently focusing on the call of mid-life to put down the trappings of performance and perfection, to let go of the worry of “getting it right,” and instead step forward and risk being seen simply as is. Mid-life calls us to embrace who we are, not who we (or others) think we should be.
This might lead us to work really hard at being “our best selves”. We might worry about the things we should be doing to cultivate a better sense of balance in our lives: more yoga, more leafy greens, fewer cocktails, fewer arguments, more gratitude, less shopping. But as soon as the word SHOULD slips into the conversation, we are working too hard.
I find myself working too hard sometimes, trying to dismantle unhealthy coping mechanisms or trying to uncover unconscious beliefs or thoughts that are negatively impacting my state of mind and my relationships. As soon as I notice myself trying to get it right, I know I need to let go and let flow.
And no, that is not a euphemism for pulling out the stash of cannabis.
Last week I wrote about letting go and accepting. Another piece of that is the letting flow – or allowing.
What if we were to embrace the idea that we are not in charge? Or that we do not have to have it all figured out?
Sometimes, when you are canoeing down a river, you need to carefully steer the canoe around rocks and areas of shallow water. Other times, you need to pull your paddles up and let the canoe and the river do what they know how to do; and that’s flow.
Flow is knowing where to ease in a little more direction and knowing when to trust the river’s run.
Flow is not worrying about what is around the next bend, but focusing on what is here now.
Flow is trusting the river to take you on journey, even if you do not know where you will land.
I fall into the trap of trying too hard regularly - in my writing, in my relationships, in my work. And when I do, the results are usually less than stellar.
So, I am working on allowing. And trying not to try too hard. And sometimes I might even try too hard to not try too hard, if that makes sense. So, I am working on allowing. And trying not to try too hard. And so it goes…
But the biggest learning here is to be accepting and forgiving and loving when I try too hard or when I hear myself listing a litany of “shoulds.” I am learning to embrace my flaws rather than hiding them. I am learning to show up and smile and just be me. I am learning to put down the worry about what else I should be doing.
Embracing who we are, allowing our lives to unfold in their own way, in their own time, doesn’t mean we can’t set goals for ourselves around health, peace of mind or anything else.
But we will be more successful with those goals if we allow ourselves to be imperfect, if we focus on what is directly in front of us rather than trying to figure out what lies ahead, and if we accept that our journey might take us somewhere unexpected.
Where in your life are you trying too hard? What might it look like to let go and let flow?
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