By Chris Rackliffe
There is a path that’s meant for you. You can feel it in your bones when you’re walking along it. You feel supported, happy, and whole. You have faith that you are being led to what’s meant for you. You believe in the deepest part of your being that life is unfolding for your benefit and guiding you to grow.
This path has been called by many names. It’s been called the journey to enlightenment, the spiritual path, the surrendered life, and the path of highest good.
Your path of highest good unfolds through you regardless of your reluctance to see it and walk it—despite your resistance of change. My realization came in the form of an abrupt change several years ago. I’ll never forget my boss calling me into his office at Entertainment Weekly where I was the head of social media at the time. He uttered five simple words that took the breath from my lungs and pulled tears to my cheeks.
“We are letting you go,” he said; sorrow forming in the corners of his eyes. “Someone from HR is waiting downstairs to walk you through your severance package.”
Just like that, after over three years of hard work on behalf of the company, I was dismissed to discuss the particulars of leaving a job I loved but had clearly grown out of.
I was 30 years old and unemployed, struggling to find my way forward that summer, when rather than simply asking myself disempowering and deflating questions, I started asking empowering and existential ones too. Why am I here? What is my purpose? What are my gifts? What made me feel fulfilled in the past? How can I do more of that now? What is this trying to teach me?
The answers to those questions came to me slowly over time. They first arrived as inspiration—random thoughts that popped into my head out of nowhere. Then they appeared as doors that closed—opportunities that once felt promising or fruitful slowly began to dissipate or disappear altogether. As my situation evolved, I started to see more clearly. One day I sat down and started writing. After an hour of scribbling thoughts in a notebook, some concrete answers finally emerged. I realized that I wanted to help others learn the lessons I’d learned. I discovered that my deepest longing was to share my own struggles so people could see how I came out stronger on the other side. I came to see that my path of highest good was to help other people find theirs.
For a long time I knew this to be true about myself. I daydreamed of becoming an author and public speaker. I longed to use my life journey as an example of how to transcend one’s past and seize the present moment instead. But I resisted ever pursuing this path for fear that I might fail or that others would ridicule me. I abandoned my dreams. And I lost myself in the process.
Or at least that’s what I thought.
Present-day me is here to offer up another explanation: When you feel lost, it’s not that you’ve really lost yourself; it’s that you’ve surrendered your power to consciously choose and as a result have allowed yourself to feel unconsciously powerless. Eckhart Tolle put this beautifully when he pondered in A New Earth: “How can I lose something that I Am? It is impossible.” This quote is the basis for my book. How can you possibly lose yourself? You simply think you’re lost. You simply think you need to find your way back. You simply think you’ve gone down the wrong path. But just because you think it doesn’t make it true. How can you lose your way if you are the way? It is impossible. The only place you are ever lost is in your mind.
How do you find your way back? First, you stop identifying with the pain of your past. You quit telling yourself stories about how horrific or painful it was. You refuse to be a victim any longer. No amount of pity or wallowing will change what happened. We must do the work to accept what can’t be changed. Next, you embrace your path of highest good in the present. This means using the light of your awareness to make more conscious choices that will support and nourish you, that will help you accept your opportunities to grow. The final step is to stop resisting Change in the future. When something unexpected happens that triggers you, do not react. Learn to lean on your faith. Trust that what happens is for your ultimate benefit even if you can’t fathom how. Accept every unforeseen plot twist and embrace every obstacle as an impetus to evolve. This is what it means to heal. This is what it means to find peace. This is what it means to truly know Change. We do it by following the RACE Model for Change:
- Resist one thing only: Your resistance to Change.
- Accept what you can’t Change so you may let go.
- Choose to Change what you can by reclaiming your power to choose.
- Embrace Change by remaining open to it in the future.
The RACE Model for Change shows us not just how to embrace Change, but how to completely transform our relationship with it. My book follows this framework step by step. From the pain of resistance to the peace of acceptance, and from the power of choosing to the bliss of being open to life, this is a voyage of resilience and redemption, fear and forgiveness, judgment and joy. Follow this model and you will always find your way back home to you. Choose to embark on this journey and you will learn to befriend Change. Choose the path of highest good laid out for you and you will finally realize that it’s good to see me again.
This is an edited excerpt from Chris Rackliffe’s new book, It’s Good to See Me Again. Chris is a former social media editor for Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Entertainment Weekly. He is now the social media and editorial content development director at Aetna (don’t miss the Talent Fairy’s Q&A with him last year about his move from magazine journalism to content marketing). Chris is also the winner of Ed2010’s Trust Fund Scholarship, which he received as an intern at Details. You can follow him across social media at @crackliffe.
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