Live the rollercoaster of life, says Jessica Mcgregor Johnson
Letting go allows life to flow better, to be able to see what is before us and move through it rather than holding on to things from the past that no longer serve us. For so many years I went through my life totally attached to the outcome. It was almost like I had the whole of my life mapped out in my mind and all I had to do was get to the end.
I woke up the day an old friend asked me if I liked my life and did I want to be living it when I was 60? The answer was no.
I realised that I could endure life and get to the end or I could live it, moment to moment. I think many people endure life and miss out on the magic. I often work with people who have for many years just stuck at what they hate so that they can get to retirement and then enjoy life. Luckily they realise in time that that means they will miss out on most of their life and then commit to changing it.
And that’s great, if you see it and decide you want the magic. Trouble is if you do not make that change and continue to “stick at it” you do not fully live for maybe over two thirds of your life. And by the time you get to that last third (if you’re are lucky!) you are so exhausted from the slog of life with no magic that it all feels too late.
For me since leaving behind the life I did not like my life has been very much like a rollercoaster. And that is the magic. I am alive to both the ecstatic joys and the challenging lows. And to enjoy the magic you need both. Sure you can go through life on a flat-line – no highs, no lows but that is rather like a living death. Life is supposed to have both highs and lows, without a low you would not even know the highs when they came along.
Personally for me the rollercoaster is an odd analogy because I actually hate them. Many years ago we were at an amusement park in Spain and a friend went on the corkscrew rollercoaster. She came off with the biggest smile on her face saying “You have to ride it – it is wonderful!” For some reason in that moment I forgot (caught up by her enthusiasm) that I actually hated rollercoasters and gaily got strapped into the ride.
It was awful!
But – and this is the big but – it taught me a huge lesson. Because after I got off and complained loudly how awful it was she asked:
“Did you let go?”
“Let go, let go?” I replied, “Are you crazy?”
“Nope,” she said. “The magic of the rollercoaster is to let go and allow yourself to go with the ride. If you hold on you are bumped around all over the place, when you let go – that’s when the fun starts.”
That’s when the ah-ha happened. I suddenly saw that I had been trying to ensure a “safe passage”. But when we do this either on the rollercoaster or in life we stop the magic. Because if we only have one way of getting to the end, getting to the result, we do not even see what else life has to offer us. We get tunnel vision and the best of the fun and opportunity – the magic – might be just to the left of us and we walk straight on by.
We need to be open to what comes, to allow it to give us even more than we have set our intention for. We can have a “this or something better” attitude.
In the Passion Test we say there are three steps to living a passionate life:
Intention: being clear on what you are passionate about and setting an intention to go for it.
Attention: putting your attention on your intention, both by taking action – action engages attention – and energetically focusing on it too.
But the magic is the third key:
No tension: simply knowing that once you have done all you can, putting your full attention on your passion, now you can now let go. Let it go with the feeling of it is done – this or something better.
Now that’s magic!