September 19, 2017

Letting Go of the Plot

"Don’t grieve for what doesn’t come.
Some things that don’t happen keep disasters from happening."
-Rumi, Joy at Sudden Disappointment
There is the story we desire and the one that unfolds. It's difficult not to be the petulant child when the two don't align. The conversations I've been having lately indicate that many of us are in the midst of massive change. Some of us are packing up and moving cities, leaving relationships, evaluating our choices, waking up to things we can no longer ignore, wondering if what we're chasing is really what we want, not knowing how all of this is going to turn out.

Change and uncertainty can bring forth that heart-sinking disappointment that things didn't turn out the way they were supposed to, and that's a dangerous place to visit. We tend to cling to our outlines, obsess on what could have been and how someone else should have acted, but the truth is we don't get to dictate the script and often, we don't know what's best for ourselves.

All throughout my girlhood I remember sitting around the kitchen table - where most women do their storytelling, kitchens and public washrooms -  and the phrase I've heard the most was, "Thank God I didn't get what I asked for." That man, that job, that car... name it. Blessings and Divine Intervention it turned out to be in the end. It doesn't mean we don't grieve. It doesn't mean it's easy.

Heroes are always called into action - they don't get to decide what it is. Shit happens and it turns out to be an adventure. Or a murder, I suppose it depends on the genre. Point is, it's not often sought. We are called. And sometimes that call has us running toward it with glee and sometimes the call shows up like a blocked road. We're shut out and denied so we know we don't belong on this path. If we refuse to move, insisting this is our road, we're in for a world of pain. If you find yourself stuck and whispering about the supposed to's, find the inner strength to speak a little louder back, "you don't know the fucking story yet." Because we don't. That's humbling.

In Tarot, this is the 5 of Cups. It's sorrow and disillusionment from focusing on what didn't work out. The brilliant message behind this card is, if this dumbass would just turn around - he would see the 2 of Cups, love and connection, right around the corner.

One of my favourite books throughout the years has been Embracing Uncertainty by Susan Jeffers who offers a practical approach to the fear and anxiety that presents itself at times of change. She suggests that a subtle shift in our perspectives can take the worry-laden "I wonder what will happen?" to an anticipatory "I wonder what will happen next!"

It's a much more empowering place to be, present and aware. It doesn't change our circumstances, but the way we approach them, which oddly enough DOES change our circumstances. The plot will unfold as it must, but the things that don't come, the things that may never be, that's not necessarily the disaster. It may just be the rescue.

It all turns out OK in the end. If it's not OK right now, then it's not the end.

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