This morning I went to a new yoga class in Denver. At the start of class our teacher shared that there will be a new moon in a few days and that the new moon is symbolic of letting go of something unhelpful and opening up to something we are ready for in our lives. She suggested we write what these could be for each of us. We would keep the one that we want to be open to this month and give her the one we are ready to release. She would then take it home and burn it for us.
This new space here in Colorado holds so much symbolism – and this symbolic act at this time is very meaningful and timely. We wrote our thoughts on the two pieces of paper and then began class with a little meditation. In that meditation we were to visualize the letting go of what we wanted to release. I had a very vivid image of myself on the beach, the full moon reflecting on the waters edge. And then I unzipped the outer layer of myself (it looked a lot like the little monster costume from the book Where the Wild Things Are). With the unzipped outer layer crumpled around my feet I stepped out of it. Feeling the sand under my feet I ran towards that huge moon and into the water. My arms wide open with a new sense of freedom.
That image is so powerful for me at this time. I want to let go of an old self and the negative expectations of myself and expectations others have of me (or at least I think that they have of me), and I want to be free to be me – a new me. This time, this move, is about a new freedom. A big wide open space, a new moon, a reinvigorating of life to be purposeful and live a much more creative life, a deeper space of knowing myself.
I have spent so many years analyzing myself – why I am who I am, why I do what I do, what my parents did and didn’t do, and on and on and would get stuck in the cycle of trying to figure myself out. At the beginning of the year I read a quote that really challenged me to change this ongoing analysis of self and others and to get a move on with life: “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” There was a time and place for analyzing myself, for finding myself, but now is the time for creating.
I have started reading Joan Chittister’s book “Following the Path – The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy.” In my last post I was questioning so much and I feel I have received a few answers today in both my meditation in yoga class and then from picking up her book this afternoon and reading her inspiring words in speaking about “the second call” that we often have in early-mid life. She speaks of the place I found myself at the end of last year and even in the questions that continue to haunt me in this time of transition.
There is so much at stake now. So much life behind us has been invested in what we now find to be lifeless. And yet there is so much life left to live. How can we possibly live it like this? And where did we go wrong? What happened to our commitment to the life decision we made in an earlier life? And what is at the root of this shift of centeredness: A lack of the kind of personal responsibility that sees a thing through? Immaturity? A lack of focus? What?
And the usual answer is “none of the above”.
We find ourselves dissatisfied with the limits of the life we’re living now. What has been good enough for us when we were young just isn’t any longer. Down deep we know that there has to be more to it than a house, a car, a job…
I have found myself complaining and whining over the last year, “when will I be done learning… I just want to stop learning for a time.” But as Joan says in her book “Life just goes on demanding new life from us all the time.”
And thank goodness it does. Do I really want to live a life in that monster costume forever? Isn’t it incredible that so many creatures shed their skin, feathers, fur? It gives room for something new, something fresh. How is it that in our lives we get so stuck in that old skin, too comfortable to step outside of it? I can be the biggest critic of family members and friends that are afraid of change and don’t step outside of their old skin – but am I really able to step outside of my own?
The secret to life is the willingness to grow into something that is beyond out present. In middle age [or at the age of 31] we must be prepared to begin again. One stage of our life work is over now, but there is so much yet to be done, and our obligation as a human being is to be an ongoing part of doing it.
In that incredible way that God, the Universe, or whatever you want to call Her does I had a very loud message and affirmation today – these were the final words in the chapter I was reading this afternoon after my meditation this morning:
Growth is the sloughing off of the past in order to become something we never expected was possible in the stage of life before it.