If you haven’t checked out my tagline recently, now would be a good time. The more I learn, the less I know. It seems whether it be about self-exploration or broadening horizons in general, this axiom holds true. Beginning the road to self-discovery is enlightening and it is a bit like opening Pandora’s box. There’s really no going back once you’ve started. And just when I think I’ve looked at every aspect of my personal being (or not), something new pops up. It really is the beauty of being an unfinished woman.
My latest case in point came as I was reading William Bridges classic book, Transitions. In it Bridges talks about rights of passage and how the modern culture has basically done away with formal markings of passage. Thus we have to make up our own and it is not usually done with any intentionality in mind. It may just kind of happen. Bridges says:
“It’s worth reflecting on this early transition (i.e. coming of age) in your life because that point may set the style for your later transitions.”
Being the ponderer that I am, I spent some time with Bridges’ suggestion. And here is what I discovered:
It often takes a really BIG stick to move me out of an established pattern and into transition. You know…things like, say, near death experiences. Mine have been more in the spiritual, emotional and even metaphorical realm, but I also had huge life transitions after each of my parents’ physical death.
This “big stick” theory led me to recall the midwife who helped birth my son saying “You have a really high tolerance for pain.” Yep. I can put up with a lot for a really long time before the pain finally gets to be too much. This can be both a very positive trait (Parenting is a great example as is working as a psychotherapist); AND it can be harmful in terms of my own health (spiritual, emotional and physical). The cool thing is with this new knowledge, I can decide if and how I want to proceed since I might pick up on my pattern a little sooner. Actually, I believe I have already started to do so. This new knowledge just gives a different way to frame how and why I repeat patterns in my life.
My invitation today is that you, too, consider Bridges’ suggestion. What did the early transition in your life look like? When did you “know” you were no longer a child? Can you see ways this ‘right of passage’ has followed you into adulthood? I’m going to keep pondering. I hope you will too!
photos from bermuda, 5.09