It always seems that when a chapter of my life is soon coming to a close that it’s easy and natural for me to get caught up in the whole thinking of: What am I going to do next in my life?
It happened when I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. It happened when I chose to not renew my teaching contract while I was living in Korea. And it has started happening again recently upon knowing that, in less than a year, I’ll have my Master’s degree.
The thought patterns have often gone something like this:
Where I am going to live?
If I want to move, where should I potentially move to?
What kind of work could I find there?
Should I do X or Y kind of work?
If I do X kind of work, will the salary be enough to pay bills?
What if I need a new car?
Etc. etc. etc.
The questions could go on and on forever.
While finishing a chapter in our lives can be very exciting — the end of a degree program, a job, or a relationship — it can also bring up a lot of stuff.
When a chapter of our lives ends, we then find ourselves at a crossroad. So I turn right or left? So I take A or B? Or, should I not choose any of those and turn around and go right back where I was?
We now find ourselves in un-charted territory. It’s new. It’s unfamiliar. We haven’t been through it before nor do we know where this new journey might take us.
And, due to the unfamiliarly, it can be pretty darn anxiety-provoking. We fear that something will go wrong and we won’t be able to make ends meet. We worry that we may take the job and then absolutely hate it — or the career path entirely flops for us.
As a result of this fear that, somehow, everything is going to go completely wrong, we decide that, maybe, we can just plan everything.
So we create to-do lists. We set goals. We create our vision boards for a dreams for the future and we make our 10-year plan.
But you know what happens then? And I can vouch that this has happened to me every single time that I have tried to set any kind of long-term goal.
Life happens. And the goals completely change.
Why? Because it’s not up to me. It’s up to a power so much greater than me.
When we’re caught up in fear and worry, we start to over-analyze everything, and we try to plan and control everything in our lives, then that’s the voice of our ego, our monkey mind, our fear-based mind.
Our ego mind is limited. It makes us see the world and the universe with lack and it believes that we are not supported. And it drains our energy, our life-force, our power. According to A Course in Miracles, the presence of fear is a sign that you are relying in your own strength.
So when we are in fear, worry, and stress because we’re pushing ourselves to figure out what we need to do next in our lives, all it does it create more stress, more worry, and more fear.
In the grand scheme of things, it makes us unhappy. It keeps us in a place of suffering because it keeps us completely disconnected from our inner guidance and our true selves. It makes us believe that we are not supported and that we only have ourselves to rely on to “figure it all out”.
But you know what? You don’t have to figure it all out. In fact, you’re one and only job is to let it all go. Release the fear. Release the worry. Release the anxiety. Then give those fears to a power greater than you — in whatever way you like to call it, whether that be Source, the Universe, the Divine, God or whatever. Give it to a power greater than you and trust and know that you are supported.
Then once you do that, be still. Quiet the mind. Breathe. Meditate. Allow the beauty of the present moment to wash over you. Feel your body sitting. Feel the air around you. Hear the sounds around you in this moment.
Notice your inner mind chatter. Observe it, but don’t attach to it. Recognize it as fear and only fear, as the thoughts are not of your higher self, but wounded parts of yourself. Love them and let them pass.
Continue to breathe.
And then slowly and gradually, the mind chatter will subside. It may not completely go away, but it will become quieter. In the stillness of the moment, trust that guidance for your next right action is coming. It may come in the form of a thought, a feeling, a sensation, or maybe even through something in your external world, like through a friend, family member, co-worker, e-mail, magazine or whatever.
Regardless, be open and receptive. Exhale and remember: It’s not up to you to figure it all out.