“Flat.” That’s how a woman I spoke to recently described her life. She thought she liked things on an even keel, not too many ups or downs, but she came to realise she didn’t feel like she was really living. Instead, she was simply getting by.
The funny thing is that we think that a level path is easy. And it is, but it is change that keeps us on our toes and makes life interesting. It is the hills and the valleys that keep us looking forward, that provide interest and challenge. Without the lows, we don’t appreciate the highs or the flat spots in between. But it’s when the flat spots continue out far in front of and behind us that life feels lack lustre. We long for something to break it up.
But then we worry about how we will cope with change. With doing something different. With finding our way in an unfamiliar landscape.
Will we be able to cope with a ‘climb’ after so long on the easy road? If we are headed down a ‘valley’, will we have the strength to able to climb back out again? Will real joy be ‘too much’? Should we want more than the life that looks like we’ve got it easy?
Life is a grand adventure
Without the highs and lows, we don’t appreciate the times we are on the easier even ground. But too long there and we long for ‘something’, and putting our finger on that something can be a challenge, especially if we don’t want to completely upend our world.
Suddenly in life we can discover that we have patched and mended and helped and cared for others for so long while keeping our own life as even as possible that we are a little frightened of looking for the ups and downs that give life colour and shape. So many women tell me they have forgotten what it was that lit them up. And that there are dreams they set aside to make sure life worked for other people but now are fearful of, or feel that their time has passed.
I believe life is a grand adventure, filled with learning and wonder and love and excitement. That the meaning in our lives comes from doing something that feels important somehow, something we feel ‘matters’. When our children grow and leave home (or haven’t quite but are about to) the thing we have been doing that ‘matter’ seem to be slipping away from us.
And so it is time to look for something new that feels important.
Otherwise we find ourselves feeling like the lady I spoke to whose life feels ‘flat’, who is torn between the safety of easy and the challenge of working out what will make her feel alive.
How do we find that sweet spot?
I believe if you can find a place of stillness and silence, you will be able to hear the whispers of what will light you up. Often it doesn’t come shouting, it comes whispering so we have to be quiet enough to hear it.
Walking is a great way to do this. It’s rhythmic and you can drop into feeling and sensing, to noticing your body, to allowing thoughts to come to you (instead of going looking for them). In fact, concentrating on the act of walking and avoiding consciously thinking can be the quickest way to find your answer. It is in our heart where we will find the clues to our longing.
This article was written by Derrin Cramer, a coach to women who want to come alive. You can read more of Derrin’s wise words at www.derrincramer.com.au