A Mid-Life Check-In.
For the longest time I tried to live in the world, while not really being in it. I hung-out at its edges, and gazed into its center. And then concluded that because its center (the main functions of the world I live in) seemed so different from my center (the main functions of the soul I embody), the two must be absolutely separate.
Well, that divisive view caused me a whole lot of pain. Because I had judged the world-at-large as uncaring and shallow, it was hard to joyfully participate in it. But the epic amount of energy needed to build a life that felt safe and suitable to my non-mainstream ways (extraordinary sensitivity and depth) was so exhausting. What to do?
In my 20's and 30's I looked for ways to exist outside of the mainstream, because I was convinced that its water was too rough and salty. Not to my liking. So I searched for the tender and the sweet. A full-grown woman looking for innocence "in this world" is surely delusional, right?
Perhaps. But the longing has always been there, directing my path and my passions. Recently, that longing taught me that Oasis is not a "place." Oasis is a choice. Wherever I am, whoever I am with, whatever I am doing... all earthly scenarios can actually be enriched by my unreasonable hopefulness. Daily, mundane life gives me the chance TO BRING, AND TO BE the deep tenderness and sweetness I long for. I execute this imperfectly, of course, but that doesn't stop my commitment to it.
Day, night and in between. The tension is where it's at.
What's your orientation? Not sexual, but life. What's your life's orientation? Are you mostly motivated to raise a well-adjusted child? To make as much cash as you can? To travel the world, and load up your memories with adventure? To create innovations that lessen suffering? To push your athletic or artistic abilities to their edge? To experience the love of a lifetime? To uncover and share your most heart-felt truth?
My life's orientation has always been tending to the domain of the soul -- the endless, limitless part of who we are. Even as a little girl, I loved to fling myself into the atomic center of a Thing, and then feel my way into some kind of understanding or meaningfulness. Nothing's changed. I still most enjoy sacred conversations that lead me or another person to a better feeling, more clarified space. Drama is draining. Inner peace is energizing. And the more I cultivate peace inside of me, the more my outer life morphs into something I adore.
In a few months, I'll start my 43rd year of life. And I'm happy to report there are no crises accompanying this mid-life check-in. With 4+ decades behind me and, hopefully, 4+ decades in front of me, I am clear about how I want to spend the rest of my life: I want to help create a culture of deeper conversation, stronger connection and increased capacity for life's hard parts.
This is contrary to the flat-and-fleeting 140-character soundbite mentality that whirls in our plugged-in heads. Dominant culture is resistant to depth. The media and the marketplace pressure us to race along, and keep it light, bubbly and above all, FUN! As a result, the muscles required for reflection and integration have atrophied in many of us. They've given in to the tendency to minimize, abbreviate and reduce. Attention spans have never been shorter. Every few seconds, our brains demand more stimulation, more entertainment and more distraction.
Because the alternative -- Full and Fearless Presence -- seems like a relic now. Something of the pre-internet past. And yet, Full and Fearless Presence is exactly where our humanity most shines. #nohashtagforthat
If you've read this far, you are a rare breed. So many words have been put before you... without pictures, animations or manipulations. So maybe you'll be up for this. A check-in with your own life. CONSIDER your decades thus far, and upcoming:
What are the themes and patterns in the decades you've lived so far? What do you want to see, create, experience in your upcoming decades? What do you do with complex or difficult feelings?
If this post spoke to you at all, if you resonated with any of it or its questions, I'll have something special for you by the end of July that will help you fill in your gaps. Whatever they may be. Keep in mind that gaps are a good thing. They give you the blessed chance to see where you've been, and chart a course for where you'd like to go. Stay tuned!
6/15/2013 08:40:16 am
0-10: Exploring, growing, adapting to the world around me, through the protective cocoon of my family. Fear to stray to far from home. All that I need is within the confines of that fortress. Isn't it funny how an effective fortress can so easily transform into a prison.
6/15/2013 06:04:09 pm
Rick, I rejoice in your freedom, your sobriety, and the power in your words. Yes, your expression has both energized and encouraged. Thank you, ever so much, for sharing these pieces of your life. I'm honored to witness them.
6/17/2013 07:45:29 pm
0-10: Rather blissful unawareness ... that there was any other way to be than connected to my family, immediate and extended.
6/24/2013 11:56:05 am
The roots and shoots of your decades are so beautiful, Grace.
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