The status quo, accepting what is as what must be, is one of life’s biggest hurdles. To truly live a life of meaning and purpose we must challenge what society is teaching us. As we settle into our lives we may begin to believe happiness comes from what we own, what we do and staying within the boundaries of the life we know. Trouble is, complacency is the death knell to living the full lives we want.
When people tell me I am brave, I am never quite certain how to respond and so I usually just smile. I know what they are referring to and it has nothing to do with putting my life into real danger. No rushing into a burning building or jumping into a lake to save someone drowning. No, what they mean is a decision to end a decades long marriage and strike out on my own. As one friend put it, “you gave up so much in making this decision.” Read family home, my beloved gardens, rural identity and community. Others also mean I have given up a secure financial future, companionship and the assurance of someone at my side as I enter the latter decades of my life.
While I may have indeed “lost” all those things, what I found is beyond any expectations I may have held to the outcome. By acting on the restlessness and unhappiness of a life too long lived within the status quo, I found parts of myself I wasn’t aware of.
It is fear that keeps us bound to the beliefs of what we must have, do or be, to be happy. Somehow in the course of life, we have taken on the narrowest view of our abilities. Not just to manage change, but create from it.
Rather than seeing ourselves as the captains of our lives, we act as if we are captives of circumstance.”
What we deny in our minds is expressed in our bodies
Unhappiness, chronic loneliness and a failure to use the talents we have are sure-fire methods of creating health issues. I believe the body expresses physical pain and creates disease if we deny the mental pain we are in. The body doesn’t lie.
I was sidelined by a bulging disc which caused me tremendous sciatic pain. The doctor described it as a cumulative injury. A telling pronouncement summing up the experiences of a lifetime. By counting myself last and believing negative messages acquired over a lifetime, I walked around carrying this psychic weight. Louise Hay, author of “You Can Heal Your Life”, describes this type of injury as a fear of money and a fear of the future. Both were true, even though it took time to recognize it.
My pain was such I became uncertain of my ability to work again or to lead any type of normal life. I had much time to reflect, not just on my health but on the state of my life overall. It was a dark time and yet, it was the doorway to a new life, if I chose to open to the possibility. Status quo logic is plain. Stay where you are, accept the limitations upon you and make the best of it. Continue to act from fear.
Dismissing the status quo and living from the soul level
In this case, contrary to status quo thinking, making the best of it meant counting on myself to make it work. Without any family in the area, adult children living away, the decision had to be one in which I was accepting full responsibility. The decision to step through the fear and believe in my ability to manage my financial needs and create a future worth living. Since doing so, my back pain is largely gone and I am living a life more closely aligned to my values and interests.
Whether in a relationship or not, each of us is capable of living a much bigger life than we currently are. Not as rock stars or celebrities, but at the deeper soul level. The place in which we treat ourselves compassionately and with kindness. The place where we wish to leave the world better because we are in it. If we hide within the rules of the status quo, then whatever our age, we miss profound opportunities. At the end of our lives, we want to know our lives have mattered. In order to leave lasting legacies for family and strangers alike, we must step beyond what we know and take a chance on the unknown. Don’t wait for an illness, yours or another to be the catalyst for change in your life. The time to act is now, will you?