Can You Really Start Over After Hitting Rock Bottom After 50?

I am not going to answer this question because it is pointless. There are many people, such as myself, who have to start over anyway, no matter what their age.

Life seldom asks you questions. It pushes you into situations where you either swim or sink.

So, what did I do when I found myself jobless, moneyless, marriageless and, well, clueless, at an age when people normally start pondering questions like which country club to join and with whom to play bridge, to kill the afternoon boredom that is the necessary by-product of the life of leisure?

I did what everybody else does when life falls apart: I freaked out, panicked and started to contemplate ways to stop existing.

Then I hit the rock bottom and fell into such pain that even my ever vigilant Ego got silent for a second, long enough for me to have time to send a desperate plea for mercy to whatever/whoever is up there. I did not get any answers, the way Moses got the tablets of stone in the Mount Sinai. But I got a sudden inspiration to become a meditation teacher.

This was a rather curious choice of vocation, as I barely knew what meditation was.

At first it looked as if I was to become a meditation teacher to, well, teach meditation. But it turned out that I needed to take the course because it made me meditate. The occasional Shivasana-moments in my occasional yoga classes weren't enough. I needed to dig deep into what meditation really was. And I needed to commit myself to practicing it.

Meditation woke me up. I know this is a cliché and like most clichés, this one is true, too.

I woke up, slowly but surely, and got in touch with the The Real Me. She had always been there, of course, under the misty layers of what I had been trained to think was me but wasn't.

I wish I could say that the rest was history. It wasn't. But it was a beginning of a new, more awakened life.

Here is what I discovered:

I had seen my sorry situation as a dead-end, not because it was but because I resisted it. I resisted it because it made me feel like a loser. I felt like a loser because I kept doing what we do all the time: compared my failures to other people´ success stories.

What I needed to do first was to accept my situation, in all its crapness.

It was hard. But what choice did I have? What had happened, had happened, and there was no way to make it unhappen because we cannot go back to our past, to fix things so that what has happened would not happen.

And thank Goddess for that, for if we could travel back in time, no one would ever be here, in the Now, to deal with the acute issues, because everybody would be busy in the past, trying to prevent disasters from happening.

But here's the thing: you don't have to accept what happened -- you only need to accept that what happened did happen and, because it did, you are where you are.

The next thing to do was to give a closer look at my anguish. What did it consist of?

There was disappointment. I felt betrayed. Life had let me down.

Disappointment follows when things don't go the way we have expected. We are trained to think that when we walk the safe side, we have the right to expect to be safe. But life does not work that way. Life has a course of its own.

There was also envy, grief and fear.

I was envious of people who had what I had been ripped off of. For most of my life I had compared myself to others. But then I figured out that not only were such comparisons detrimental to my own well-being, they were also based on the false premise that me and the rest of the people were separate and destined to compete with one another, as if the Universe was be a giant game. It isn't. There is no competition. We are in this together, like the bulbs in Christmas lights. We either glow together or go out together. The sense of unity was one of the first revelations meditation gave to me.

It is natural to grieve a loss but what was I afraid of?

I was afraid of my future that had suddenly become totally unpredictable. I was screwed-up, so to speak. With a closer look I noticed, much to my surprise, that what I really was afraid of, was the unexpected freedom that I had suddenly been bestowed.

Freedom is a funny thing. It is simultaneously wonderful and scary. But here's the thing: it is only scary if we let ourselves to get confused by the gazillion of options we see in front of us -- or the total lack of them. If, instead, we close our eyes, take a few deep breaths and look within, we realize that we have always been free.

Freedom is detachment. It is faith that whatever happens, we'll be fine. There is no need to frenetically search for something out there to be okay, when you understand that everything we need is and has always been right here.

When you get that, you are free and will cope with whatever situation you find yourself in.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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