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Letting Go of “Supposed To”

Letting Go of “Supposed To”

by JoAnn Campbell-Rice

I just finished Elan Mistai’s novel, All Our Wrong Todays about time travel and parallel consciousness, and one of the lines late in the book cracked me open.  Mistai writes that if there’s a point to the book, it’s this: “there’s no such thing as the life you’re supposed to have.”

I struggle sometimes because my reality doesn’t line up with a vision of who I thought I’d be at this age, or a relationship doesn’t deliver what I had hoped, and I notice, as Mary Oliver so well expressed, that “I am so distant from the hope of myself.”

Yet that gap is precisely where my connection to the Divine comes in, the crack that allows the balm of the Holy to fill me because it’s the only thing that truly can.  All my striving for what’s next, however good it may be, is just reaching, not receiving.

In past weeks several people have said to me, “you’re so hard on yourself.” When the exact words come from different people, I pay attention.  That’s one way God speaks to me. While I believe in spiritual growth, there’s a line I can cross into perfectionism, something not humanly possible and certainly not what my Higher Power expects of me. Noticing the gap between who I am and who I want to be can be the springboard to a deeper relationship with Spirit or the platform for shaming judgment, my choice.

God’s gifts are here right now, alive in me and in you.  If I let go of this notion of the life I’m supposed to have (which includes several published books, a different pants size, a best friend) and savor the one I actually have (writing for readers, a right-sized body, a host of loving friends and family) I feel the presence of Source. And that, of course, is more than enough.

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