One theme of Aging- Who Me? is that we are never not aging. We are never not developing, growing, unfolding, evolving. We are in fact in a constant state of emerging.
As humans we are bombarded with choices, constantly. Some are big choices, some, not so big. For example, choosing the right college; choosing marriage or parenthood; choosing the “right career; choosing how to be with a partner or family member who’s harmful and abusive; choosing how to be with an incurable disease, choosing to come out of the closet in regard to their sexuality, their spirituality, or politics; choosing to join the armed forces; choosing how to follow a calling, inspiration or creativity that, to many, goes beyond avant-garde; choosing how to face death. All of these have one question in common – who am I inside this experience, and how do I be true to myself in this choosing, no matter what!?
Life is a process of immersing ourselves into one dramatic and poignant story after another. Each is filled with an unique and personal orientation and perspective – a maze of challenges which cultivate clarity of truth and knowing of what is one’s highest truth, and what is one’s highest contribution to the world.
Rites of Passage – Coming of Age . . . Regardless of Age
A Rite of Passage is a moment of individuating. Within an event or circumstance, an individual allows themself to have a true and authentic voice. Speaking the truth first requires knowing the truth. And, knowing the truth means that it is not amendable by what other people think, say, or do. It is a point where you defer to no one.
In many Rites of Passage, there is a threshold, a crescendo – what the I-Ching calls reaching Critical Mass. In this moment, there is no not choosing. These moments of Critical Mass quite often are experienced as death-defying leaps.
A Rite of Passage, in essence, isn’t some lovely ceremony that pronounces an individual “grown up” – the ceremony and celebration usually comes after the Rite of Passage has been completed. There is a process through which one must travel – quite often alone. There is anguish and struggle, courage and strength. Insights and wisdom are born, as is a greater capacity to trust one’s own ability to not only survive but to thrive. There is the working out of what is, and what is not; who is, and who is not. There is a fight for life – sometimes our physical life, but more often than not, it is the life of our essential self – leading to the fulfillment of our deepest expression of Self.
Aging, and all of the contributing aspects of the process, provides us with many Rites of Passage. What this means is that we face endings and changes continually, regardless of our age. In each ending and with each change we create a rite of passage. In what feels like a pivotal and critical moment, each of us chooses how to face what is in front of us. How do each of us choose to be true and to trust, throughout this process?
In each of these moments, answers to critical questions can no longer be put off for another day. We have to discern and reveal answers to the questions: In what ways have I ignored, avoided and distracted myself from my truth? Am I worthy of my own unique authentic expression? How do I be more honoring and honorable to myself in this current situation, this current life challenge? When death is at my door, how will I greet it?
The beauty of these Rites of Passage is that they bring each of us to a deeper relationship with ourselves. We come to know our capabilities and our vulnerabilities. We learn to be humble in the face of powerlessness, hopelessness, and the inevitable truth: that we are human being after all, with no extended warranty tag anywhere. We surrender our resistance in humility, and at the same time, discover a daringness that cannot be found any other way.
Aging takes us into adventures we never imagined for ourselves. Quite often, after all is said and done, we are grateful for these opportunities to truly experience the incredible resilience and wisdom that is within us, given the opportunity to reveal and trust our truest essential nature.
I’m asked quite often, how my work as a transformational coach differs from therapy and other forms of coaching. I say that my work is to steward individuals through the process of becoming their truest and most authentic self. This means that, as their thinking partner, I empower them to cultivate awareness regarding how they perceive the world, and to empower themselves to trust their own way of seeing and being in the world. This means noticing when they choose to collapse into their fear and hide under their bed, and when they choose to make choices that serve only their highest truth and the fulfillment of their human spirit. Truthfully, though, people want transformation, yet they don’t want to change. Such is the dilemmas of our humanity.
Aging gives each of us plenty of opportunities to choose, then choose again. Inevitably, through our choosing, we discover a level of open acceptance, a deep knowing, great humility and a comfort that somehow feels like home. Ain’t it great that we will all arrive here, sooner or later?!
If you’d like to join me in the AGING – Who Me? in-person discussions at the Orcas Island Senior Center, we are meeting this coming Tuesday, April 25th, from 10:00 -11:30am. If you’d like to read more from Dr. Rosie, visit her website www.theparadigmshifts.com, where you will find blogs, videos, and her books. Or, if you’d like to set up a coaching session, feel free to call her at 360-376-4323.
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