"You don't have to do that anymore!"
Called my 94-year-young Aunt Laurie last night since it had been awhile since we talked. She lives about 3,000 miles away from me, and I try to check in on her at least once a month, even though she has a large family support system close by.
She was SO excited!. . .I couldn't get a word in edgewise. She had reunited with her group of artist friends, painting again, had discovered a car service that would drive her at a moment's notice wherever she wanted to go, and was getting out and doing fun things. . .and the list went on and on. She sounded as though she had just been released from a jail sentence, and was once again tasting freedom.
Semi-retired in her late 70's, and then finally fully retired in her mid- to late 80's, Laurie was continually complaining of all the things she HAD to do, the things that were chores and unpleasant tasks, such as keeping her books and records up to date. Since she was successful in her long, hard-working career, she gives generously to many charities and spends time researching these charities. She had been a bookkeeper in her former years, and continued to keep up the habit, analyzing and planning and making projections. Habits that served her well during her illustrious career running her family business, University Art, a retail store (now 3 stores in the San Francisco Bay area, still family-owned and operated since 1948)!
Old habits and things that have served us well for many years can sometimes become so fixed and ingrained in our being, that we don't even realize that they no longer serve us, and in actuality, weigh us down and keep us from improving and enjoying our quality of life in the present. This was the case with Laurie.
So recently, one of her newly-acquired artist friends says to Laurie compassionately, after listening to her excuses of why she had been missing from many of their recent painting sessions (Laurie being bogged down with her 'keeping her books'). . . "Laurie, you don't have to do that anymore".
And her chains were set free!!! Laurie, being the bright, open-minded, creative, adventurous soul she always was. . . allowed herself to LET GO!
So as I was saying, I couldn't get a word in, and really didn't want to, because she allowed herself, after all that time, to be set FREE!
Can't wait to visit her this summer and see what she's up to! Although I might be going for a rest, and she'll be looking to go do stuff :)
Maybe there is a lesson for me here (and maybe you too?). Ask yourself. . .'is there something I have been doing out of habit, without much thought, continuously, over and over, just because I always have? Does this habit still serve me. . . or does it stand in the way of growth, living my life, and empowering me to allow myself to be set free?'
At 94, Laurie continues to inspire me and let me know, it's NEVER too late to change!
"MAYBE YOU JUST DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ANYMORE"
With love and gratitude, Kathy