Recently I had a fairly involved, long chat with a friend about the deeper frameworks and dynamics of life. What came to light was how much we both knew but weren't applying to our own lives.
In particular was the realisation that we were both on the path of learning, and needing to learn how to 'let go' the pressures of society to be responsible, and to simply be ourselves, independent of the opinions of, and commitments to others.
For me, I've been on a journey in recent times, learning how to let go of the need to do anything, other than help others where best I can, in whatever capacity I find fulfilling1. This has resulted in some financial difficulties, with the associated failure to meet various financial commitments. However, in the midst of it all, I'm learning the importance of my value to society, and the subtle, but now increasingly important realization that my value is not immediately served by running around trying to pay bills. What is of value to myself, and to society is for me to find my 'bliss' whereby I can contribute with far more energy, creativity and dedication than would ever be possible otherwise. I recently watched Steve Jobs' "How to live before you die" and was again reminded of the importance of going one's own way, as did Steve Jobs. And of the importance of not trying to connect all the dots. As Jobs explains:
You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust that somehow the dots will connect in the future.
It's been a long journey, and I'm only now learning to "seriously follow" my bliss irrespective of circumstances. This is the hidden or ignored part of Joseph Campbell's aphorism 'follow your bliss' -- the realisation that in following our bliss, it may not all be 'smooth sailing'. At least not while we're being blown around by the expectations and opinions of friends, family and others.
The chat with my friend involved both of us recognising how much health and well-being is based on our ability to control our 'psycho-destiny' -- how much we control what we think and feel, versus how much we allow others to 'set the agenda', for what we think and feel. As explained, Sir Professor Michael Marmot has done decades of research that clearly confirms 'control of destiny' is the single major factor in health and wellbeing.
This is, as we discovered, only the tip of the iceberg in determining the quality of our lives. We're under so much control from societal norms, of what or who we should be, of how we should behave, and how we should feel.
Learning to ignore the (negative) opinion of others is, I believe, crucial to our wellbeing. As I explained to another friend recently, I think some of this is gender dependent. Women generally will seek to get along with others (more on this later). As I suggested, if you truly speak your truth, someone, somewhere is guaranteed to be upset by what you say and do. So I suggested that women in particular need to learn how to be okay with upsetting people (when done in the context of speaking one's truth).
Ultimately, what is more important ... keeping a few relatively minor commitments, but which require depleting our energy, vitality, creativity and individuality, or going our own way and finding what truly empowers and inspires us to be ourselves, so that we're naturally and easily able to be of genuine value to one and all?
And having recognised the journey I was on, now I sense I'm able to take action in a direction which fulfills and inspires me.
Stay tuned ... to your heart.
The Belief Doctor