A young individual new to the world may come to perceive that there is only one long leg on the journey of life. As one proceeds, they will most likely come upon unexpected and unruly twists, turns, and roundabouts, which in the moment seem impossible to navigate. We just get comfortable with the trajectory we are on, when badda-bing-badda-boom, we find ourselves headed somewhere else.
A very good friend of mine, Craig, is turning 50 in a month’s time. He is in shock and awe. He says he wasn’t supposed to live past 18, and quite frankly tried to off himself at 27, but he just couldn’t pull the trigger.
Turning 50 takes Craig across an unanticipated threshold. Though he is amazingly prepared, having participated in spiritual and personal development for many years, there is still the truth that turning 50 is daunting to his humanity. He is balking at the door of the unknown world that awaits him. It’s a new leg of his journey.
Some of you know that I’ve taken a new leg of my journey as well, and am now working part time at the Orcas Center. Though I thoroughly enjoy being at the Center, engaging in all the ways I am, there is the Doctor, Coach, Writer, Trainer, Speaker person inside me who isn’t quite sure who she is when not doing all the stuff she’s been doing for so long – the “Saving the World” stuff, the trying to be a “Bright Light in the World,” stuff. She feels put on the shelf.
Truth is, all of that “stuff” hasn’t been that rewarding, mostly because people don’t really want what I’ve been offering, so I’m always dealing with resistance, rejection, and only rarely am I dealing with engaged connection, which is the very best part of life, and is the very thing that the Center offers me.
Another example: a highly regarded artist on the Island stopped painting because no one was buying her work. The resistance and the rejection we face in life quite often tarnishes the love of doing what we do. And for this person, the joy of creating became unfulfilling, and so she put her brushes away, and a new leg of her journey began.
There are so many of us, especially in our Island community, who have trained, practiced, and were highly paid for their accomplishments in the world. And, for one reason or another, they chose to leave behind their successes and do something else. Retirement, love for Island life, divorces, loss, the joy of a new found passion – it doesn’t matter, life leads us onto a new leg of our journey.
The cool thing is that, each one of these legs are adventures that allow us to discover who we are beyond who we believed we were. These adventures allow us to discover – and recover who we are beyond our stories, our titles, our degrees and credentials. And, I find as I age that most of what I’ve accumulated is irrelevant to what is truly important to me in my life.
When I let go of my attachment to my idea of who I’m supposed to be & how I’m supposed to be, I find that I love the simple engaged connection that is offered to me during my hours at the Orcas Center. When I let go of my attachment to my idea that money will create freedom, I see that the chase for money, for all of these years, has only caused me frustration, anxiety, and exhaustion. I’m getting too old for that stuff. Or, is it that I’m getting too wise for that stuff?
There is a part of me that wonders if, career wise, this time at the Center is the last leg of my journey, that I will become complacent, fat and happy, just doing my job. This in fact wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. However, my experience is that each of us, when we follow our inner choices, which in effect continually creates these new legs on our journey, I will come to discover and recover more of who I am, no longer living in the idea of who I thought I was.
The truth is, that I’ve never been complacent – not ever! So, I’m most likely won’t start now. I’ll most likely die with my boots on – well, most likely they will be my hiking shoes.
As for the highly regarded painter, who stopped painting because no one was buying her paintings? Well, she began painting again. Why, you might ask? Her answer… “Because I love to paint.” It will be a delight to see what she paints and how she paints out her pure love of painting. Hopefully she will have a paint brush in her hand and a smile on her face when she kicks the bucket. I think we all should be this lucky – and wise!
By the way, I’m turning 65 today. Aging? Yes Me! I’ve got my Medicare card to prove it!