“Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes heading in a new direction can be scary until you realize you’re headed toward a new and exciting destination.” ~ Susan Gale
I can’t believe 2015 is almost over.
It honesty feels as if not too long ago we were all saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. And now we’re about to do it again.
Where did time fly?
When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned
I don’t know about you, but when I look back at everything that happened in 2015 and how much things have changed in one year, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the love and affection life has for us.
You might think I had a wonderful year in which only joy and happiness came my way, and that maybe that’s the reason I’m thankful, but that’s far from the truth.
Believe it or not, 2015 was one of my most challenging years. And not because 2015 in itself was a challenging year, but only because I made it challenging through my resistance and the need to control things.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell
You see, I entered the new year – 2015, with the perfect image in my mind. I knew exactly how I wanted my year to unfold and I was 100% sure that things were going to happen the way I wanted them to happen. But to my surprise, they didn’t.
Throughout the year of 2015, life “deprived” me of most of the things I wanted for myself. And not because life wanted me to suffer, but only because life had way better things in store for me.
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ~ Woody Allen
We like to think we are in charge of everything. And that with all our goals, plans, visions, dreams, intentions and all our New Year’s resolutions, things will most definitely happen the way we want. But the truth of the matter is that things don’t always go as planned. Why? Because just as we ourselves have a plan for how we want our lives to unfold, so does life.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9
When things began to take a “wrong turn” for me, and when life kept insisting that I walk a different path than the one I was on, I fell into confusion. Thinking that something had gone terribly wrong and that maybe I had made a mistake somewhere along the way, I tried my best to “fix” things. I thought I was lost, and so I kept going back, desperately trying to “find my way,” not knowing that the the direction I was going, was “The right way!” I guess J.R.R. Tolkien was right, “Not all those who wander are lost.”
With all the personal development books we are reading, the articles we find on the Internet, the online programs, home study courses and all these ideas about manifesting and creating the lives we want, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have 100% control over our lives, and that we alone can construct our lives exactly the way we want to. And when things don’t go our way, when our plans don’t come to fruition and our dreams fall apart, we perceive what’s happening to us as a failure on our part. And so we try to “fix things,” doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results and failing to realize that just as Einstein said, this is the definition of insanity!
It’s true that we create our lives with our thoughts and that to a certain extent we can craft and manufacture our lives the way we want to, but it’s also true that life itself has a divine plan for all of us. And that from time to time, it will “ask” us to go on a different path than the one we were on, wanting us to live our lives in a new and better way.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” ~ Isaiah 43:18-19
From what I discovered through the years, there is the path of the finite self – our ego – and a path of the soul. A path that keeps all our illusions alive, and a path that’s meant to free us from our ignorance, attachments, fears, and illusions. And based on the things we seek in life, and based on how much we want to know the truth of who we are, these changes will come upon us, less, or more frequently.
By writing my first book, 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy, based on my phenomenally popular blog post with the same title, and by working intensely on letting go of all those 15 things I talk about in the book, I cleansed myself like I have never done before – I emptied myself of myself and I made room in my life for something new to emerge. By doing so, I made it a lot easier for life to shape me into something new, and better. Into something I never even DREAMED of becoming.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~ Lao Tzu
At first, there was a lot of resistance on my part, a lot of whining and complaining, mostly because all these experiences were so unfamiliar to me. But as time went by, because I felt tired and exhausted of constantly fighting and resisting, I decided to simply let go, to surrender. And the moment I’ve let my guard down, the moment I decided to stop going against the flow of life, that’s when all kinds of wonderful things started to happen to me. And that’s when life was able to do its magic on me.
Meister Eckhart talks about this in a magnificent way: “It is a property of creatures to make one thing from another, but it is a property of God to make something from nothing. And so if God is to make something of you or in you, then you must first yourself become nothingness.”
There is so much power in letting go, so much wisdom and so much grace in emptying yourself of yourself. And even though a lot of people think that letting go is only about becoming happier and living a more peaceful and serene life, the truth of the matter is that there is more to it than that.
When we let go, we make room within ourselves, and within our lives, for Truth, Love and Light to enter.
The more we let go of who we think we are, of what we know, what we believe to be true, and of everything thats holds us back in life, the emptier we become. And the emptier we become, the more room there is in our hearts for God, for Love and for Truth to enter us.
Lao Tzu, this wise man who lived more than 2500 years ago in China, knew this very well. And here’s how wonderfully he talks about it in the Tao Te Ching: “If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.”
If you want to be given everything, you must give everything up – ideas, the past, beliefs, attachments, fears, excuses, and everything you think you know, and everything you think you possess, including your own self. And by doing so, a new world will be revealed to you, a world that has essence, value and real meaning.
“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” ~ Immanuel Kant
We humans think we know so much, and because we are so full of ourselves – of what we know, who we think are, what we possess, where we belong, etc., life can’t work its magic on us. Life can’t shape us, it can’t mold us and it can’t reveal to us the wisdom, glory and power that lies within each and every one of us. And when it tries to do so, because we cling so tightly to everything we know and everything that feels familiar to us, instead of being beautifully polished and refined by life, we end up feeling more hurt and wounded than we were before.
This is the story of human life – many treasures hidden within each and every one of us, but only a few get to discover and enjoy these precious treasures. I hope you are one of them. 🙂