“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.” ~ Voltaire
How many “life phases” can you recall? Whether through having children, losing loved ones through death, changing jobs, divorcing spouses, getting married, dropping bad habits or cultivating healthier ones, our lives are always in a state of renewal and flux. Our forward progress hinges upon our ability to recognize our stages of development; therefore, mindfulness and awareness of our choices is essential if we wish to live fulfilling lives.
After each ‘life shift’ of my own, upon retrospect, I can always see the progression of destruction to creation. Only recently have I been able to sense The Chaos portion, or what has also been referred to as The Middle.
The Middle is where we are tested and where circumstances force us to distill what it is we truly want. Furthermore, The Middle is also where we decide with ourselves how much we really want something. In a rather “Duh” statement, without The Middle, we would never reach The End.
The Middle drives me bonkers. I always want to fast forward through this part. “Yeah, yeah, I get it. I’m in The Middle. Next!” But that’s not how it works.
“Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.” ~ Menachem Mendel Schneerson
In an overlay of non-linear time constructs superimposed against the way we measure our years, our birthday serves as an ready-made opportunity for reflection, discernment and focus. Technically, we have this capacity 365 days of the year, but for whatever reason, it’s sometimes easier to use traditional days to mark the occasion to take stock of our lives.
- Have we achieved what we set out to do?
- Did we learn anything over the year prior?
- What did we gain?
- What did we lose?
- How did we add to another’s life?
- Where did we pave the way for someone else?
- Who helped us along the way?
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” ~ Satchel Paige
I love this question, because it evokes consciousness and expansiveness. The Shell changes over time: perhaps some wrinkles here, and sagging there. But the Soul is ageless. Curiosity and creativity flexes what it is that we perceive ourselves to be and challenges our assumptions of what we can become.
“I don’t believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.” ~ T.S. Eliot
This is the converse of Mr. Paige’s quote. Atrophy and stagnation equals death. Use it or lose it, baby. Whether our brains or our brawn, mettle or metal, oxidation and non-use means that we cease to become vibrant and begin to wither.
How can we tell if we are living a static existence? Take a moment and review a few indicators:
- When is the last time you ate something different or went to a new restaurant?
- How many new friends have you met over the year prior?
- Take a look at your tape deck – are they recordings by your favorite bands from high school?
- Do you have a tape deck? That’s a biggie. Download your tunes from the Cloud!
- How many times do you say “no” throughout the day? Why?
- Do you recall the past often?
“The other day a man asked me what I thought was the best time of life. ‘Why,’ I answered without a thought, ‘now.’” ~ David Grayson
While it’s completely understandable to have ‘high points’ in our memory, ideally, these moments are to be incorporated into your Whole and assimilated into who you are today. Right now. What we think creates our next moment. By focusing on what we have, the utility of same and how best to leverage it, we put ourselves in the best possible position for creating wonderful things in our life.
On the off chance that you’re going through something particularly crappy right now, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What is the best thing about this crappy situation?” Take note of the answer. It is the seed of your solution. Welcome to your birthday.
NOTE: This post first appeared as a ‘thank you’ to a gracious woman named Liz Strauss, a wonderful, generous and innovative person. Liz is the catalyst for so many dynamic and brilliant endeavors across strata and communities. Her faith in others has affected literally thousands of lives. She builds. She invests and she empowers.
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1gor @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” us on facebook.