Waking up on January 1st to a new decade reminded me of the feeling I had when I turned that last page of the seventh volume of Harry Potter: I realized I’d been immersed in a journey that covered many years of growth, was jammed packed with pivotal and outrageous life experiences, and was archetypal in its intensity. When I set down the last of Rowling’s books, Harry was not the same young boy he was when he began. As I set down the decade of “double-zeroes” and look up, things have changed so much that there’s only one thing I’m certain of--I’m not the person I was when it began.
As 50+Fabulous women, none of us were adolescents when this ten-year sequence began. We entered it, and can now exit it, with hopefully enough life experience to have a wisdom-based perspective. Though it is already in February, few of us can set down a whole decade in one month. Therefore, I invite you to pause a little longer on the threshold of the doorway between what was and what is yet to be in order to take life in from this unique vantage point. From here you are in a perfect place in time to ponder some big questions.
First, ask yourself “What did I give myself to during this past 10 years?” Looking back, come unabashedly face-to-face with this chunk of your life, seeing it for what it actually was. What were the central, formative events and the dominant themes that emerged for you? Did you meet them in the way you most wanted to? Did they become catalysts for you to broaden and/or improve your view and experience of yourself? Are you a bigger and better person for the past decade? If not, look at what transpired that you are not accepting? Acceptance doesn’t mean you like or agree with the situation. It means you are no longer fighting an un-winnable, exhausting battle over something that has already occurred. Acceptance means turning toward life as it happens, receiving it fully, and generously offering your best internal resources to each situation—the good, the bad, the ugly.
Now turn yourself to the second inquiry, “What will you give yourself to in this new decade?” You can’t possibly know what will happen but you can listen to your heart’s desires and set out in that direction.
Do this15 minute exercise:
1. Imagine putting on a pair of glasses that reveal a future that is very short (could be a week, a month, a year--make an intuitive choice).
2. Confront how you habitually deny the inevitable end of life, dulling your aliveness with the easy familiarity of day-to-day living.
3. It’s not easy to face the truth that your time is limited, but stay with it until you recognize and feel the sobriety of it.
4. Now, ask your heart:
· “What is your deepest desire for me?”
· “What do you need me to do to feel complete?”
· “How must I be in order to become the person I was born to become?”
· “What must I give myself to while I can still give?”
5. Listen fully to your heart. Write down each and every answer until you reach an inner stillness and then silence.
Later, look at your list. This is your personal road map. It is telling you the specific direction you need to head. This list is worth more than anything else you own or possess. Will you be guided by it? Will you mindfully make your first actions of the new decade reflect what is most important to you? When you move out of the doorway between the “double-oughts” and the “teen decade,” will you continue to listen to your heart’s desires? If you are given more days, will you fend off the somnambulistic lure of the habitual and comfortable, choosing instead to stay awake to the precious, limited nature of life?
What will you give yourself to this day, this week, this month, this decade? My hope is that if your heart’s desire is love, you will first give yourself to love. If your heart’s desire is aliveness, you will give yourself to life. If your heart’s desire is joy, you will give yourself to laughter. Whatever it is, I hope you will give yourself fully to it.
“For all that has been,
For all that is yet to be,
from Markings A Pause on the Threshold: What Was and What Will Be