Dropping out

Conversation with Solveig

Life on the River. Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo by Solveig

Solly is a friend of mine who has been walking on the path with me  for some years now. Currently she is stationed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Two weeks ago she quit her corporate job and is now enjoying the free fall.

M: Hi Solly. Good afternoon to Dhaka. What shall we talk about today ?  You just quit your job – so “dropping out” would be an appropriate subject, don’t you think ?

S: Good morning to Vienna. “Dropping out “ sounds good. But what does that mean?  Dropping out of my job, my life, my relationship…


It seems to have a little bit of an irresponsible connotation to it, if I read it like this.
But I don’t perceive it as such. What about “liberation” and “freedom”?

M: We can also talk about liberation and freedom, if you like it better ?

S: Yes, I like this better. It has a more positive note to it. Also a more positive quality.

M: Indeed, this is how its sounds. But why ? Why does “dropping out” have this negative connotation ? Dropping out could also mean “ no longer walking with the crowd”. So it does not always have to be negative, does it ?

S: I know where you go. I guess, you are right, too. But for me, my first thoughts about dropping out were “giving up” “lack of responsibility” , may be even “failure” to complete what I started.
And we could talk about the same situation, for example me leaving my job, my career. But if I say, I drop, I have these more negative energies with it. If I say and feel that I gained liberty and freedom, it feels much more positive to me. Like I made this decision consciously.

M: It is interesting that we want “freedom”, or liberate ourselves, but it only feels OK as an add-on entity. It is like we have to look for and experience freedom on top of everything else. To make a decision, go there, search for it. You say it perfectly: dropping out feels like  giving up – and it causes a feeling of unease. Ha. That’s exactly the feeling to look at – that’s a contraction that is in the way. This is very much as they say in spirituality: “It is not about adding things” – it is about losing, or dropping something. Can you see it ? You say instinctively the right thing and the next second the little ego is jumping in creating a contraction… 🙂

S: Ha. I caught myself as I was writing it.  Dropping means free fall, lack of control, total trust and faith. All these things that my little ego still likes to avoid. 🙂

M:Yes, exactly. After nearly two years of slowly getting used to the idea of quitting your job and moving a step further along the journey of self-discovery, the little ego is still a bit panicking. It wants to add something – and that is freedom ( or the idea it has about freedom). For the egoic mind freedom is a controlled decision. But dropping out means – free fall. So how does it feel right now, after the big jump over the edge ?

S: The feelings of ease, liberation and care free are still predominant. I also have this strong sense of faith that carries me. But, and there has to be the but….I can clearly notice that as soon as I turn on my mind the dialog or better monologue of the little ego starts “ what is your future going to be like?” “ You should start making plans” “ You should know what you want to do next” …. Luckily, I can keep him/her (what gender is the little ego, actually? ) in check for now.

M: With all that controlling going on, the little ego is clearly a man..haha. No just joking, I guess it is an “it”, just an idea, a concept. But I really understand what you mean. When I was at the point you are now, I used to say “ I am giving priority to something I do not even know what the hell it is” and then spent my days feeling nervous and anxious for following this inner call of being still and doing nothing, and doing what I had to do for a living and to keep myself afloat in my ‘spare time’. For a long time there was this inner conflict of following what I also felt as a strong faith in terms of “everything will be alright and the plaintive voice of fear and guilt that told me: “you cant just let it unfold”. It can make your life miserable, because on one hand you know you are doing the right thing, but the sense of “not taking charge of my own life” can be quite unsettling for a notorious doer.  It is important to deal with this – it is a pointer to what is in the way. Can you actually locate where it sits in your body ?

S: Interesting. You bring it to the point. However, I have not paid attention yet that this “inner dialogue” has a location in the body. I didn’t sense anything yet. But know that you point it out, I will pay attention to it.

M:The interesting thing is that we only know in retrospect. When you look back, you see how everything unfolded perfectly, even without your own doing or a great deal of decision making. Do you know what I mean ? Can you track your development – or the most important stages of it – to this point and to this decision ?

S: Absolutely. I retrospect, I am quite amazed how different stages in my life have neatly tugged into each other- sometimes with some agony. But if I look back the agony was only driven by my lack of patience and trying to exercise to much control by having a specific goal in mind.
Now I feel, it is much better to have intentions instead of goals. Intentions in the now lead you in a future with much less agony and disappointment, since they don’t have this fixed idea of how , what, when should happen.

M: Yes, having walked with you for a few years now, I clearly could see when you moved from a fear-based to a faith-based decision mode. It took some time, and it took some deliberation, also some agony, on your side – but in the end you followed the direction Life gave you. I am thinking in particular last year, when you were about to make the decision to move to Europe, but then took a job that led you to an assignment in Dhaka. Now – that was something that did not make sense at all on the level of reason – but on another level it made perfect sense. The important step was not to listen to that voice of reason but follow your instinct. Now, after one year, I think you have come a lot closer to your true purpose.

S: Ha. Thanks for that feedback. I feel the same, though. It definitely did not make any sense, except to know that all the then obvious options such as staying in New York, going to Europe didn’t seem right. I feel, I really needed to “drop off” the face of the earth to rediscover myself and a new world around me. But given, that my external stimulation in Dhaka is quite limited, I really had the chance to go inside. And there was nobody of my know circle of friends, family, aquaintances who would watch me or judge me. It allowed me to do it in full privacy and totally out of my social context. I really think, that is what I needed to get to where I am now.

M:Yes, exactly. And this is what i used to pacify my poor ego – just by looking back and understanding how perfectly everything unfolded, without much o my own doing. In fact, I even can see the difference, because when I moved back t Europe and started my own business, I fell back in that controlling mode very quickly. And you remember – it was very frustrating at first, because nothing would move. Until someone gave me the counsel of “stop doing”. I did – and voila. So whenever I go into panic mode, I look at this and it is just perfect. So I guess I am getting a bit of trust in myself in addition to the faith.

To me, the ego has to understand. I am an intelligent person and my mind will not keep still, if it does not understand. If it has learned that no-control is a safe way to go, it will comply, But I had to work on this. Find on one hand my own identifications – the roots of my own ambitions, tendencies to control or hold on to certain ideas, and on the other hand simply observe and ebjoy the little miracles of every day. It is really a process, don’t you think ?

S: Yes, absolutely. And I still cannot and probably will never be able to completely let myself “drop” all the time. But what I feel, is as long as I am AWARE of the my tendency to wanting to control to achieve a certain outcome, and have the INTENTION to let it go and exercise faith and trust most of the time, I am closer to my true nature and that is fine. I think, we will not need to beat ourselves up for  trying to take control over things since that has been our conditioning for so long, that is a form of control again. And I must confess, that South Asia, with chaotic places like India and Bangladesh, are perfect schools for not being able to control, but just letting it unfold.

M:Yes, this is what I meant. It doesn’t make much sense at the time and a few months later you see exactly where it led you. And you are right – patience is what is needed. We cannot beat ourselves over the head for wanting to control anything or even start wishing we were someone else. No, thats not how it is done. All it is, is finding the “No” and moving it to the “Yes”. Takes some skill and some guts to do it, but hey – if I could do it, anyone can.

This morning I found a perfect Rumi quote, I would like to show to you:

“Even though you’re not equipped
keep searching:
equipment isn’t necessary on the way to the Lord.
Whoever you see engaged in search,
become her friend and cast your head in front of her,
for choosing to be a neighbour of seekers,
you become one yourself.
protected by conquerors,
you will yourself learn to conquer.
If an ant seeks the rank of Solomon,
don’t smile contemptuously upon it’s quest.
Everything you possess of skill, and wealth and handicraft,
wasn’t it first merely a thought and a quest ?”

What do you think ?

S: Very true. Very beautifully written. I may copy this and have it posted somewhere where I can always be reminded.

I feel it addresses exactly my next challenges as I am plunging into a new life, new career that I can’t even define yet.

And I all I need is the faith, the trust, the openness in the heart and the mind that will bring the right people and the right opportunities into my life.

I would like to become an enlightened entrepreneur. Is there such a thing? If not we will need to get a community of them started. 🙂  What do you think?

M: Well, I think we are already enlightened entrepreneurs. We see things unfolding and that appears to take time. However, time does not really exist. So it is not a matter of becoming. It is an intent and an intent is a prayer. It is always heard and it is always coming true. From energy to matter in  a split second, or a few years. Does not matter. This is what manifesting is about. I see this with what I am doing. The moment I started to realise what was going on with me on the level of realising my true nature,  I also felt the pull to share it and to help others along, as I move. This is my purpose, my way of service. And the further I go, the clearer is the path is in front of me. It just happens. Like this blog thing happened. One day it was there and now it grows and grows. So – you see, there is nothing to do :-). Welcome, enlightened entrepreneur friend….

S: Sat nam. There is not much to add. A perfect way to stop here and to see what is unfolding in front of us. That was really fun. I like these jam sessions. A perfect tool to manifest all the teachings.  Thanks.

M: Thank you too – I really enjoyed and also learned something. Lets do it again – in particular talking about moving into one’s true purpose. Enjoy your day !!

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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2 Responses to Dropping out

  1. Angelika says:

    “… just letting it unfold.” I thank both of you very much for this reminder!!!

  2. Johanna says:

    Dropping out is Ok…. Keep searching even if you’re not equipped…. Making decisions or having intention…. Being a friend of the one who searches…. A gentle approach, but not without difficulty and struggle. Thank you, Michaela and Solly.
    Love from Johanna, who would like to be your friend.

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