For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to experience it all—everything. Live in different places, travel to different countries, work in different jobs, expand into different identities. I did not want to be stuck in any one location or persona all my life. For the most part, I’ve lived that. My life has been full of change and exploration: shifting experiences that have opened me to a continuously growing beingness in the world. Only recently, however, have I come to know the shadow side to that inner desire: regret, fear of missing something. This too is a part of the human quest for a fully lived life.
This past August my high school graduating class held a large reunion celebration in Lockport, Illinois, where I grew up. For various reasons (travel logistics, other events scheduled that same month), I did not attend. A few days afterward, when individuals began to post photographs of the weekend, I began to feel a deep sadness that I had missed out on something very special: the opportunity to see again friends I hadn’t seen in decades, some whom I had known since first grade. I couldn’t shake it for days, and a week later, I experienced similar pain at not being able to attend a six-day intensive spiritual immersion. It was Panache Desai who pointed out to me the unconscious pattern of regret that I had been carrying inside me, a fear that I would miss out on something extraordinary that everyone else was experiencing. Bringing it into my conscious awareness helped me see it pop up in other ways in my life.
Even in my spiritual practice, I found it intertwined with my deepest desire for divine connection. There it was: Fear that I would be somewhere else when everyone else got “enlightened.” Fear that I would miss hearing the key words of wisdom that would open the door to samadhi, awakened oneness. Fear that I would never experience again the expanded consciousness that embraced infinity and God as part of me, as part of everything. Within my most profound spiritual experiences and connection to something greater lay a fear that I might be missing something or I might lose what I had found. And at the heart of that fear was the issue of trust, surrender.
The more I surrender in my life, the more I see that needs to be surrendered to. I thought I had reached the deepest possible acceptance of “all that is.” I had recognized and embraced the divine orchestration of everything in life. Yet, there I was, feeling that I had somehow made a mistake in not attending a high school reunion or a spiritual retreat. Inside me was a kernel of apprehension that I might miss something KEY to my own evolution as a human being, as awakened spirit. The next step, of course, was to surrender to that too. Accepting the fear itself as part of being human opened the door to a deeper letting go.
With that surrender came another level of realization: that there are no mistakes. I’m always where I’m supposed to be for my soul’s experience and growth on Earth. Spirit has the road map for my human journey, and there is never a wrong turn. Wherever I am, all is in divine order, always. It’s about trust. Trust in something greater and wiser than my own mind’s idea of what I should be doing or experiencing. More and more, I am letting go into infinite unquestioning. I still want to experience everything, but I also have faith that wherever I am and whatever I’m doing is perfect beyond my human understanding. Ultimately, I am surrendering to trust itself. As Panache often says: “Your soul has already chosen. You’re just along for the ride.”