Life is a funny thing. We hear all our lives, work hard, do good, be faithful, keep your head down and everything will be okay. So we plan and we work and we do due diligence. We suit up and show up, even when we don't feel like it. We work until we are bone-weary. We plan. We take responsibility. We work. And sometimes, everything is not okay.
It's easy, when things fall apart, to criticize and doubt and blame. It's easy to point fingers and accuse someone else of not doing their part. To wonder if somehow we didn't do ours. Self-doubt shouts in our ears that maybe we just aren't enough - not good enough, not smart enough, not savvy enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not righteous enough, not faithful enough, not generous enough. We learn it from our parents and teachers and ministers and bosses - veiled in messages of "helpfulness" that really feel like criticism of our souls. We wonder what we are doing wrong.
But sometimes life takes an unexpected detour. Sometimes we stand face to face with difficult decisions that seem to have no good answers, no matter how hard we work. And sometimes God, or the universe, or Tao or whatever energy is at work in this world pushes us in a direction we never intended to go.
It's hard to let go of well-laid plans. It's scary to make a decision that requires a leap into the dark. Often we scramble and bargain and deal to keep ourselves on the path that's already lit, even when we can see it's leading to some place we don't want to go. Because it's easier to ignore the end of the path and focus on the next lit step than to stumble off into the unknown.
But those old messages we've heard all our lives sometimes lead us astray. They keep us on the well-lit path to nowhere. They keep us bowed down to the gods of money and success and popularity. They coerce us into bargaining away our souls in order to be socially acceptable. They work us until we are weary and worn down, scrambling to achieve just a little more to be successful, to be good enough.
What if we could simply let go? Let go of the old messages. Let go of the measurements and yardsticks we use to define success? Let go of the need to constantly work and worry? Let go of the idea that we can do something to make everything okay?
What if we could let our hearts lead? What if we valued soul and creativity as highly as security? What if we could look at life's unexpected events as a gift and at taking a step into the dark as a grand adventure?
Is it as easy as changing our perspective? Maybe. I don't know for sure. But I'm willing to give it a try.