The opposite of unsettled is peace.
When you’re feeling unsettled, a sense of uneasiness permeates your life. You feel like you’re missing something. Like you should be doing something but you don’t know what. You feel anxious. It’s anything but peaceful.
I met a friend for lunch when I first started thinking about creating the Meaning at Midlife blog. I hadn’t seen her in 10-15 years. But the Universe brought us back together and, as we talked over a three-hour lunch, it was as if no time had passed since we last met. Except for the fact we were in very different places in our lives. While we had once worked together in an ad agency, I was now running my own business and embarking on this new project.
She was in flux.
The work she had always done had pretty much gone away. She had just lost her father and her dog. Her kids were grown and had moved on with their lives. She was searching. Searching for that next step. She had no idea what it was.
She wanted desperately to find it.
She wanted to feel a sense of purpose in her life again. She wanted to feel productive. She wanted to feel like she was making a difference. She felt compelled to do something. She just didn’t know what.
We had a long talk—as I said it was a three-hour lunch!—and while I’m anything but an expert on the subject, I tried to help her see her best bet was to just stay open.
“Pay attention” I said. The Universe will give you clues.
Your job is to notice them, and follow the ones that feel right. If you’re unsure, follow the ones that keep nagging you; the ones that won’t go away. That’s a sure sign they’re part of your path.
I shared my mantra (and tattoo!) of Let Go & Trust, admitting trust is often the hardest part. But in my experience, when you’re able to really let go and trust, your next step almost always shows up more quickly.
As we continued to talk, she asked me about my pet therapy work. She was intrigued, even though she didn’t currently have a dog. I invited her to come shadow me and Hope on a pet therapy visit. A few weeks later she did and really enjoyed it. So, is pet therapy her next step? I don’t know. If it is, she’s a got a few steps to take first, like getting a dog, training it, and hoping it’s got the right temperament for therapy.
So in the meantime, what?
How can she stop feeling so unsettled and pressured to do something, and find peace?
In my experience, the following is a good place to start:
- Stop trying to figure it out.
- Trust the Universe will lead you in the right direction.
- Pay attention to thoughts, feelings, people, and circumstances that show up.
- Follow when it feels right.
Lastly, recognize you can’t control what happens.
You can only control how you respond.
When we realize this and begin to trust everything that happens is part of our journey, we’re able to experience a sense of peace that just isn’t possible any other way. Take it from a former control-freak… it’s a much more peaceful way to live!