Structure is a tough thing to let go of. We're surrounded by a matrix of structures. When we wake up. When we go to sleep. When we eat. When we pay bills. When we work. When we get paid. And, as I read that back to myself, I realize it's just the "whens," and there are the "hows" and the "wheres" and a lot of other structures and strictures by which we live our lives.
I recently retired and I'm going through an adjustment to a lack of structure. And, as much as we all look forward to freedom, it's definitely an adjustment when most of the structure you've been used to suddenly goes away. My sleep patterns have been all over the place. I eat when I'm hungry, which has turned out to be at no particular time on any given day. I'm used to getting a lot done and feeling the pressure of limited time off in which to do it, but now time stretches out in front of me with no limits. There's a lot I want to do. There's a lot I've been waiting many years to have the time to do. But, after working so hard for so long, my being also wants to just put everything on pause.
I'm realizing that there's a certain surrender into the flow of Life that I need to make in order to allow the structures of the past to fall away and to really sink into the freedom I now have. I don't have to push myself to do things anymore. I can do them as the energy is there to do them. There are no deadlines or limits on things other than what I impose. My time and my commitments are wide open. And, I'll be in better service to the things I want to do if I'm not pushing myself to do them. That's the old way. The new way is to wake up and see what I'm drawn to on the day and let the day take me. The new way is to enjoy my days, not to push myself through them.
I have enormous will. I can will myself through just about anything, and have. Tired? Me? Nooooo. Sure, everything's okay. Everything's fine. Do I have time to do that? Sure. I've only recently gotten better at having boundaries. And, not only having boundaries, but holding them. And now, it's less about boundaries and more about letting go. In order to live the life I have now in the best way, I have to stop trying to impose old structures onto it. I need to let it show me what it wants to be. I need to listen and tune in and be with my energy and the energy of Life. I need to relax into allowing Life to be what it is, instead of trying to make it into something. And, if you'd have said these things to me before, I'd have told you that's what I was doing. But, that's so NOT what I've been doing. And, that's the beauty of Life, you don't know until you're really faced with something how and what you'll do.
Relaxing, even though you think it would be, is not necessarily easy. There's a lot of letting go needed in order to really relax. You run on a certain track for decades, and then suddenly you're on a different track that requires new things from you. And, because I always had so many things I wanted to do when I was working, I wanted to just dive into them once I retired. But, what I'm realizing is that I need to allow myself a period of adjustment so that my energy can align to my new freedom and lack of structure. And, that letting that process happen will affect how well and with how much energy I'm able to do all the things I want to do.
The other thing I'm realizing is that some of the things I want to do now actually require me to be a different person from who I've been in my old working life. They require that I see myself differently and they require a different skill set and frame of mind. To try to push myself too quickly into the new is to get ahead of myself. And, pushing myself is a habit I need to let go of. I recently started watching Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday program. Last week was the first of two episodes with Iyanla Vanzant. She told of a time when she wanted Oprah to produce a show for her, but then explained how she wasn't able to receive it at that time. She had to go and do a show for another network and producer before she was able to grow into herself enough to come back and do a show on Oprah's network. There are things I want to do that I'm not ready to do at this time. There are parts of me that haven't birthed themselves yet. I have more growing to do in order to be who I need to be to do what I want to do. And, even though it might seem counter intuitive, in order to grow into who I need to be, I need to let go and surrender into what Life is and who I am right now.
My old way would be to push myself to learn new things that my mind would tell me were applicable to what I want to do. Or, I'd push myself to talk to people or put myself forward into the arena where I'd like to be...fake it 'til you make it. But, that's the old way. The new way is to allow myself to open into the life I want. The new way is to be with the now so it can show me what needs to happen or be addressed in order to get me where I want to go. If I can let go of imposing what my ego thinks needs to happen onto my life, then my Life can show me what needs to happen. Things show up. People show up. And, by letting go, I stop operating out of my maleness, which is a part of me that has been highly developed through the many years I've spent working in the world; and, I move into my femaleness, which is a part of me that's so happy to come to the fore. It's very female to hold the vision of what's wanted and then allow Life to fill the void. It's also more fun and requires a whole lot less effort. Sooooo much better.
You don't have to retire to live life organically and allow it to reveal itself to you. We can all surrender into Life at any moment. We can give ourselves over to the rhythm of Life whenever we want. We can listen more deeply. We can pay attention to what things feel like. We can follow the energy of things. We can take a pause, take a breath, take a moment, do the unexpected. We can let go and relax. We can take the pressure off. Western society has become out of balance. We've turned into a society of workaholics. We work too many hours a day. We don't enjoy ourselves enough, or spend enough time with our families and friends. We look at other countries and societies that work less and envy them. But, we can shift our priorities to embody the values we envy.
It isn't about life being short and the need to make the most of it. That's also an old way. I really think life is as long as we want it to be, and that it's unlimited in scope. But, it's more about the quality of life, where we want to put our focus. We can push and strive and effort; or, we can relax and surrender and enjoy. We can impose structure and order onto life, or we can let life reveal to us what it is and then respond to it. I'm in the process of letting go. I'm in the process of surrendering. I'm learning a new way. I'm allowing the person I really am, at the core of my being, to reveal itself to me. I'm getting to know myself without all the structures from the past imposed over me. I'm transforming and growing into someone I have yet to become. I'm very excited about who I am, and very excited to meet me. And, I'm very excited to have the brakes come off. My greater-yet-to-be is just starting to feel like it's safe enough to poke her head out from the depths of my being and let me know she's there. Finally. Thank goodness. It's about time.