As we age, it becomes apparent that we must create new lives. Will we change careers, begin retirement, travel, downsize or stay where we are? What often comes with that are the fears associated with making those choices. We begin to worry about money, our family, our health, where we should live, should we settle down or roam the world.
When we were raising our families, those decisions seemed to be made for us - we must keep a job, take care of the children with all of the responsibility that entails. There was very little free time and what there was usually consisted of weekends or once a year family vacation and then back to the routine.
Now, in our 60s we have to make a conscious choice about what we want in our lives.
Our work is not to make something happen but to learn how to let it reveal itself. It is that time in our lives when we have the opportunity to allow the soft flowing of events to become clear to us and then follow the path that has the most meaning in our lives.
It can be very easy to remain in our old patterns, letting familiar circumstances drive our daily lives. If we look more closely, we realize that we are entering a brand-new chapter and are being given a tremendous gift. The possibility, maybe for the first time, to do something just for ourselves.
For many of us, as this realization sinks in, we employ the same principles of how to get things done – we take action. What is really ironic about this concept, is that the harder we try to make anything happen the less likely it is to turn out in a way that is pleasing to us.
If we can learn to let go we will discover things that we never thought possible.
Letting go is much easier said than done. We are taught our entire lives that we must work and struggle in order to get things accomplished. That hard work is the only way to achieve the results we desire. Always trying to control external circumstances is exhausting and in the end never really possible. We cannot control anything outside of our own self so that is where the work must be done.
That is why so many spiritual teachers advocate practices like Meditation, Mindfulness, Yoga, Prayer and Journaling. Anything that allows our conscious mind to relax and release resistance will provide benefits in all areas of our lives. Just like any other skill, we must learn to develop techniques that work for us. This is not a one-size fits all solution so we must do what feels right for us personally.
It doesn’t matter where you start, you just have to begin.
Like everything else, it is very easy to approach this as something else to manage or control. Trying to unlearn that is the most difficult thing I will ever do in my life. Even now, after many years of practicing many aspects of letting go or allowing, I find myself slipping back into my old habits. It is important for me to do something each day, even for just a few minutes, to reclaim my balance and continue forward.
What works best for me is to keep it simple and find those things that bring me joy. Sometimes it is writing in my journal or going for a walk. Other days it is playing with my grandchildren or planning a trip to some faraway place. It really doesn’t matter what it is, all that matters is that you find ways to release the anxiety and tension so that you can learn to experience the peace that comes from just being in the world.
With that peace comes an unfolding of events that we never could have planned. Bringing to us those very things we thought we had to chase after. It is ultimately more satisfying to have everything we desire come to us in the perfect way and at the perfect time than to try to manipulate or coerce it.
For me, appreciation is a key factor in everything I do. I am grateful for what I already have in my life and look forward to whatever new surprise is on the horizon. I always trust that something wonderful is about to happen and my only job is to relax and enjoy it.
How do you relax and let go? Do you do anything differently now that you are older? Have you had any experiences with how something occurred after releasing control? Share your stories and join the conversation!