“I think you need to grieve the life you expected”. The words of my coach resonated deeply. I habitually crack on and get on with things as a way of preventing me from feeling. Feeling some of the pains of life. It also prevents me from feeling the joys of life.
This is a subject not often talked about and I unpack it in my podcast episode here. Life often doesn’t go the way we expect. Things happen we don’t like or want. We can start to resent our circumstances. Or be jealous of others who seem to get what they want in life. This is of course very much true for infertility but also for any aspect of life.
There is so much of my life I enjoy and am grateful for. However, it hasn’t gone as I expected. There are things, including our infertility journey (including secondary infertility) that have taken our life in a different course than I expected. I had worked through our fertility grief but not recognised the grief in other aspects of life.
We are often unconsciously comparing life with our expectations. As a result, we can start to resist reality. That gets uncomfortable. It creates dis-ease within us. Behind it, is a belief that we need things to be different to be happy. That we need our expected/planned life to be happy, content or free.
What if we could surrender to life and know there is an energy behind life that has got our back. That knows us and loves us and perhaps is leading us to the feelings for contentment, safety and freedom in an unexpected way? What if we can trust this energy and relax on the journey? It doesn’t mean we don’t have goals and aspirations, it means we hold them more lightly. Knowing we don’t need them to be safe, happy or content.
“We must let go of the life we planned to accept the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
We didn’t plan to have an only child. However, it has given a depth of relationship we couldn’t have with more than one. We trust it is what our son’s soul needed for his journey. And us too.
Life can feel really sh*tty. When life feels tough I am reminded of this wonderful metaphor from Michael Neill.
Imagine that you are riding on a giant barge, floating gently down a beautiful river. In the very centre of the barge is a giant roller coaster, and your seat for the journey is in the front car. As the river carries the barge downstream, the roller coaster goes up and down, pausing every now and again before climbing its way to the next peak or plunging its way down into the valleys. At times it spins wildly, completely disorienting you; at other times you find yourself resting in the pause before the next ride.
Now imagine that your whole life, you had ridden the coaster with your eyes closed, believing that the roller coaster was the world and the river only a myth. What would happen the first time you opened your eyes and kept them open for every moment of the ride?
At first, you might be a bit disoriented and even frightened as you watched yourself and others go up and down and round and around at occasionally dizzying speeds. The first time you crested the heights of the coaster and saw the river clearly in all its glory, you would be so taken by the view that you would never want it to end. And when your revelation was followed by a plunge to the bottom of your world it might seem like all was lost.
But over time, you would begin to relax into the ride, spending less and less time trying to manage the ups and downs and more and more time enjoying the views along the way. You’d take comfort in the fact that no matter what was going on with the roller coaster, the river was always effortlessly supporting the barge along its journey. And you might even begin to enjoy pondering the mysteries of where the river came from, how you came to be on it, and where it might be taking you…
In the depths of the rollercoaster of this journey, I hope you can begin to hold on to the idea of a loving energy holding you and gently leading you to a place of freedom, contentment and peace perhaps in ways you hadn’t imagined. We see one piece the jigsaw of life, it sees the whole picture.
I unpack this further on my podcast here.