Do You Feel Out of Place?
You are where you're meant to be
Have you ever felt out of place? I have.
As a teenager in the ’60s I wore dresses below my knees while other girls ran up windy stairwells and crossed their legs in classrooms wearing barely enough skirt fabric to cover their lacy panties. I was being religiously modest and knew that Mary Quant, the designer of the mini skirt, was going straight to hell when she died. But this thought didn’t ease my daily dose of feeling out of place.
As an adult I admire Quant’s business sense and appreciate the inner strength I gained by following my own path despite the public humiliation.
I wasn’t out of place at all. I was where I was meant to be. I was learning how the world worked and – more importantly – how I worked.
In Agatha Christie’s novel Towards Zero, the character Angus MacWhirter first appears in a hospital bed after an attempted suicidal leap over a cliff. He argues with the nurse that it’s his life so he has a right to take it, but she disagrees, and haltingly tries to explain what she believes:
'It may be just by being somewhere – not doing anything – just by being at a certain place at a certain time – oh, I can’t say what I mean, but you might just – just walk along a street some day and just by doing that accomplish something terribly important – perhaps even without knowing what it was.'
Later in the novel MacWhirter is a key witness in a murder case. Most of us won’t feature in such an important role, but the point made by the nurse is worth keeping in mind. We are alive. We are where we are. We have a role to play in the tapestry of human life.
Trust that your soul has a plan and even if you can’t see it all, know that everything will unfold as it is meant to.
Me hiding in the toilets to get away from the taunting or McWhirter leaping off the cliff to escape what he thought was a useless life helps no one.
We do these things to get away from ourselves. But that's impossible. As the title of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s popular book puts it so succinctly:
Wherever You Go, There You Are.
There’s no getting away from yourself.
Accepting that where you are is where you’re meant to be puts you in a powerful position.
It allows you to consciously choose what to do next, because your acceptance gives you space to make an informed decision.
Acceptance brings space. Space brings clarity. Clarity brings wisdom.
The Beatles song ‘All You Need Is Love’ contains the phrase:
There’s nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
Living with Mindfulness
You are meant to be exactly where you are right now.
Stop hiding from yourself and life.
Stop looking for the nearest cliff.
Stop fighting the setting of this moment.
Sink into it.
Learn from it.
Then move on.
With love, Marlane