Living the cultural mandate to "get life right" is insufferable. "Trusting life" is a total paradigm shift in the way to approach life and all the circumstances and events we face daily. Trying to get life right is highly attached to external criteria, the classic hamster wheel, that many people feel and live out their entire lives such as: Having the right home, in the right town, the right partner, eating the right things, thinking or praying the right way...
It wasn't until I was at a workshop lead by my friend and author, Paul Dunion, that I heard his words about shifting the focus from "Getting life right, to letting life get you right." that I began consciously practicing trusting life. The challenge for me was to first acknowledge how invested I was in thinking and perhaps believing I was in control and secondly, letting go of the thinking that if I did all the right things, life would pay me back in kind. This mistaken belief often lead me away from myself-a root cause of all suffering. As C. Jung believed, all neurosies are based on a disconnect from our natural instincts.
So what does letting life get me right mean to me? Getting clear about my core values and internal "callings" ( the desires to do or be that comes from within your authentic self) was my first move. I began assessing my motivations in the decisions I've made and the subsequent attachments to outcomes. I realized that much of my drive for "Doing and Being" was connected to achieving external validation. This opened me to explore the question, "What were my true internals calls?" As Gregg Levoy noted in his book Callings, "The distractions and outward achievements of life often keep people unable to hear or pay attention to their callings."
My time spent in Nature, on the Rez, and living quietly alone on my island and RV the past four years have nurtured my listening inwardly. Some of my more significant callings in the last decade have been: getting divorced, retiring early, and going out on an open ended quest in my RV. The uncertainty of being on the road provided me with numerous opportunities with letting go of control and trusting life. For instance, I had been staying in a small town in New Mexico, when the park manager told me I had to leave (even though a rare snow storm had dropped 4 inches the night before) because someone had reserved my spot and there were no other openings in the park. My first reaction was fear- where could I go (and I certainly didn't want to drive my rig in the snow.) As I walked back from the office I literally stopped dead in my tracks, took a breath, and said to myself, "Trust life, it will work out." Later that morning as I was packing up, the manager came to see me and told me he had made a mistake and the reservation was for the following week and that I could stay. As he walked away I took a breath and felt a connection and trust with life. A trust that I find comforting and always available, when I can get my ego out of the way. Or as the Lakota say, Iye Lowan hechetu welo, roughly, "It is happening as it is supposed to." That moment of trusting life was and remains a significant one for me.
More recently, I met a woman last August and we started dating. Soon the reality of my leaving the east to return to workcamp back in Arizona loomed as our feelings for each other deepend. Since I committed to working, I reluctantly left to keep my word, while Lori and I navigated a long distance budding relationship.
In early december my family; kids, sibs, and former wife, met in Colorado to celebrate, "ThanksChristmaKa." In order to participate, I switched my work shift with another gate guard and when I returned to Arizona found an envelope on the door of my rig, stating that I'd been fired and had two days to be out of the park. Although I was told that I could switch shifts with other guards, the manager deemed it not acceptable. For about 24 hours, panic and anger swirled as my inner 15 year old wanted to storm into the office and in no uncertain terms tell the manager just how wrong, mean-spirited, unfair, and unprofessional she was, in the hope of convincing her to see it my way and reconsider. Although many have validated my reaction, I got clear that my reaction was fueled by my ego's righteous indignation, and ultimately creating my own suffering. Then I paused, took some breaths and realized two things that lead me to a place of acceptance.
Firstly, I had been voicing to Lori and to the universe, what I wanted was to be with her (a calling),
Secondly, to trust life.
Although not my most graceful work culmination, it was all happening just the way it was supposed to. I planned to store my rig in Arizona while being called East to be with Lori. Trusting life and being in the flow brought me peace and calm within, even though this would be a major transition for me and our relationship. I trusted the call to explore loving and being loved by life and my partner.
Are you clear what your true "calls" are? What story of fear is keeping you from hearing & living your callings? If you were not afraid,what call would you say yes to? What decisions have you made in order to try to get life right? What would you need to change to start letting life get you right?
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