Success wasn't fulfilling
Many of us bury ourselves in work, hoping that productivity, achievement, professional recognition, and wealth might fill the void. The void is that sense of unease that arises in quiet times. It's uncomfortable, so we constantly seek stimulation to keep it at bay. But still, we occasionally hear that quiet voice that asks... 'Is this it? Is this all there is?'.
We find ways to drown out that voice. We stay busy, work long hours, fill our social calendars and fly from one responsibility to another. When we sense some quiet time approaching, we reach for the TV remote or smart phone and absorb ourselves in social media, the news, socialising, or...more work. Anything to drown out that voice.
Time passes. Our life has been full, maybe even fun, but in some ways we feel like we haven't really been there for much of it. There's a sense of emptiness; a sense that the present moment is not okay, it's not somewhere we want to be. And that quiet voice is still there. When we hear it we might feel melancholy, a sadness, or restlessness, maybe even a sense of panic. So we flee into memories of the past or plans for the future.
That quiet voice is a precious part of who we are. When we tune out to it, we turn away from the path to our deepest meaning, our deepest joy, and our rightful place in things. That path leads us to our home ground where we are at ease with ourselves and our world, where we have a sense of belonging, connectedness, and fulfilment; rather than feeling like an intruder in a world that wasn't quite designed for us.
If we've avoided that path for a long time, the decision to turn and face it can be scary. There can be fear, regret, sadness, sometimes a sense of impending overwhelm. In this way it takes great courage. Not heroic, super-hero courage, but the more rare and deep courage to let go and trust our instinct - the one that tells us that our current path is not leading to fulfilment. We may not know what the right path is. We've turned away every time that question arose, so that's no surprise. But we find the courage to start listening to the quiet voice.