Ending and Beginning

It is dark in December. 2019 is coming to an end. Of course, 2020 will soon be upon us – ready or not for what the next decade will bring.

Reflection is usually a very beneficial exercise. By taking the time and opportunity to savor what has been, I find that gratitude rolls forward rather easily. My life is truly blessed in so many ways. Whether reflecting on my health, my family, my volunteer responsibilities, my mission as a speaker or life in general, I am truly grateful…not that I have not experienced a few narrow spots this year.

I hope you are familiar with my metaphor for change – the hourglass. Every time my hourglass is overturned, (I have a list and it is long!) I strive to navigate the passage with faith, trust and confidence that I will get used to the new arrangement in my sand and grow from the experience in some way. While my life is not necessarily “easy” – nor has it ever been – I have found that seldom have my worst fears about a particular narrow spot been realized. There is light to be found in the darkness. Rarely, very rarely, do I stick my head in the sand and pretend nothing has happened. I admit to being a positive person and make the effort to respond to most change with an attitude of abundance rather than scarcity; saying “YES, this has happened…. AND now what?” “Yes…. BUT…” is scarcity thinking, which I have found extremely unhealthy and unhelpful.

All growth is about changing and adjusting to “what is”. Suffering, on the other hand, is resistance to “what is”. What stories do you tell yourself about why your life has gone the way it has? Be mindful in your response. We don’t need to be defined by our narrow spots. Instead, we can learn from them and discover what it is that has allowed us to survive and become who we are – to be aware of how we have integrated our narrow spots into our wholeness on the other side.

Robert Frost said, “I can sum up everything that I have learned about life in three words: It goes on.” Until it ends, life does indeed go on. When we are learning to live life with the new arrangement in our sand, we have choices: to learn to do some things a new way, to ask for help, or to decide gracefully not to do some things. We get to choose our attitude along the way.

As you begin this new year, a new decade, make a list of all the things you do in your life – and the people with whom you engage in those activities. Then ask yourself, “If I only have $100 of energy in a day – no savings account from yesterday – no pocket to stick anything in for tomorrow – how would I spend my money?” This exercise helps to set priorities and provides an experience of personal power when we can act on those priorities and let go of what or who needs to no longer appear on the list.

A narrow spot is a place, an event, a relationship, a failing or falling apart of something that brings us to our knees with the realization that we are not in control anymore and we cannot understand it. We are simply inadequate to handle the task. Then we fall into grace.

Perhaps narrow spots are the growth edge, meant to push us out of our comfort zone, beyond where we are now to the fullness of life we are here to discover by choosing to accept whatever comes our way, embracing each passage and navigating the ever-changing journey called life.

Happy Holidays and Happy 2020!