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Accepting More

by Ruth Cherry, PhD

Surrender is the mid-life stance. We have had decades to ‘run our will’ and we have seen the results. It has been fine (or it hasn’t) but now it’s time to move on. We sense deeper rumblings and we want to give them their due. We choose not to do 30 more years the way we’ve done the last 30 because we know there’s something more. We may not be able to define it but in our souls we know that ‘this,’ whatever form ‘this’ has taken, can’t be It.

We long for a greater meaning and it’s with more than hope that we count on it. We listen to our intuitive glimpses acutely and though we may not be able to rationalize them, we know we must follow them. If we don’t, we have pulled the curtain on our own life and suddenly that becomes the greatest crime there is–to curtail our individuality ourselves.

We are willing to embrace a vulnerability which here-to-fore has scared us. It seems OK to announce to the world that we don’t know exactly what we want or what we are doing or even who we are becoming. Committing to the process of living our lives momentarily with presence and passion is all that is really important. Particular outcomes are irrelevant now. They were all consuming in the first half of our lives when we could tolerate extended education and entry level jobs for what we saw could be, some far off day in the future.

Well, now that far off day is here. We have paid our dues. Maybe we have ‘arrived’ but whether or not we’ve been rewarded for our efforts, we’re not satisfied. And we can’t convince ourselves that setting another goal and embarking on another project will assuage our restlessness. We know how to do that. We’ve done it. Over and over and over again. So why do it one more time? Suddenly we can’t spare the energy or the days which seem to be dwindling increasingly rapidly. Wasn’t it only yesterday when, at 25, we embarked on our ‘life work’?

And it’s been great, but there’s more. Deep in our souls we know there is more. There has to be. We’ve mastered every challenge life has presented us and . . . now what?

Our minds can’t answer that question. So we move out of our minds. That isn’t where our dissatisfaction originates anyway. It’s somewhere in the middle of us, nearer our hearts but even deeper. And we realize that living from our centers is essential. That we are not truly alive if we don’t. And we are not alive if we know the last step before we take the first. We yearn for an adventure of a sort that we’ve never taken. An adventure of our spirit. And that demands complete surrender and trust.

That surrender, when it finally happens, when we’re finally willing to climb into the back seat and go along for the ride, is freeing in a way we’ve not experienced. The joy is intoxicating as we realize there aren’t any more shoulds and that any limits are self imposed. Or, more specifically, mind imposed. But our minds are not where our allegiance lies anymore. We’ll never lose our good judgment but we’ve moved to a deeper level where thinking restricts our aliveness and we cannot tolerate anything, ANYTHING, that artificially limits that spirit inside us.

We align with our life spirit and by committing to follow it, we surrender. And we are completely ready and able to do so. Even if we can’t leave our jobs because there are still children in school, we find expressions for our creativity. We live from our souls. We feel our connections to others, maybe folks we haven’t met and join with them in their struggles. Our compassion flows from some place deeper within ourselves than we have lived for most of our lives.

The aliveness we feel when we surrender compels us to surrender again the next day and the next and the next. By surrendering we acknowledge a force we do not control and we commit to work with it. This partnership answers our longing for something more, something deeper, something lasting. This union feels like a reunion, that we have come back not only to a part of ourselves but to a home we had forgotten. There is a rightness and an indefensible certainty that living in partnership is the only way to live now that makes any sense. It looks on the outside like it makes no sense at all but in our hearts we sigh and say, It’s good to be home.

Ruth Cherry, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her specialty is midlife when psychological and spiritual dynamics merge. Her web site is midlifepsychology.com.

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