Recently, I've felt a tinge of jealousy watching those who have careers, relationships, or lives that fill them up -- emotionally, mentally, and spiritually; however, I had naively put myself in that group for years. I felt sympathy for those who didn't have the "picture perfect" life because the grass was beautifully green and manicured on my side. Somehow I thought I was immune to the desire for more because I already had it all. After quite some time though, I was knocked off the smug perch I should have never settled into in the first place. Life has a funny way of spotting and calling out impostors. That's exactly what I was, too.
Since being exposed as a "fulfilled fraud," I've been on a pilgrimage for the sacred "x" factor my life has been desperately missing. This search has led me to inspiring conferences, cross country trips, reading binges, panicked drives, and graduate degree searches. All would give me a brief respite from the restlessness, but it didn't take long before I was exactly where I started. I didn't realize how distressed I was until the search landed me on my floor tearfully praying for a sign.
It had been about a year since first slipping from my self-righteous perch to hitting rock bottom that day on the floor. The process of the fall had not been all bad. In fact, for a long portion of the tumble, I didn't even realize I was falling. There were good days mixed in with the rough ones, so the line of desperation was blurred. Internal turmoil has a funny of way of secretly compounding and metastasizing before rendering us immobile when we least expect it. Once I recognized I was in a free fall, it was too late. I couldn't catch my footing until I hit the bottom. It often takes the face down moments to think clearly. I had not listened to the whispers, but now that the voice of worry was at a deafening pitch, I had no choice but to listen. That's when the most beautiful moment happened: I was told to surrender.
Obsessive control had been the culprit of it all. I thought micromanaging each aspect of my life would lead to everything I wanted. The only thing it led to was the false sense of security that my life was perfect and would remain that as long as I had my thumb on everything. The need for control left little wiggle room for exploring what else my heart truly wanted. When I stopped manufacturing my own signs, I was granted an organic one.
The night on the floor ended with me repeating a plea for an indication of what to do. I wiped away my tears and went off to bed allowing myself to just not know for once. Asking and demanding are apparently received much differently because the moment I gave up control the most beautiful gift wound up in my e-mail inbox. The moment I finally stopped fighting gave me the opportunity to be open to options that were beyond my comprehension.
Giving up control felt terrifying and counterproductive to this Type A personality, but I have watched my life completely shift paths in the last three weeks. Dreams I had been demanding for a year started taking shape once I granted myself permission to let what was supposed to come to me actually do just that. My friend always tells me that I should never tell people what they need to do, and I think that our purpose and passions feel the same way. They want to be welcomed with a smile and open arms not with a tap of the foot and impatient looks at our watches.
Planning for everything and demanding it happen closed me off for years to all that was possible all while building a dangerous perception of a perfect life. Now, I am mindful of all that can be and the signs that point me to it. That beautiful e-mail that wound up in my inbox the moment I surrendered has the potential to change my life if I let it and take full advantage of the opportunity. Giving up control has finally let me be free.
The idea of surrendering used to feel like falling apart, but it's the only thing that could have put my life back together.