Installment #2:  Foundations & Getting Started  Chris Johnson June 9, 2015 Looking out the window next to my desk, I see my two youngest kids bike off to their second morning of summer marching band practice – late again, but on their way.  My oldest, home after his first year in college, is already hard at work in the vegetable garden, having taken it on as one of his summer projects.  After last night’s heavy rain the sky is crystal blue – not because it’s symbolic but just because it is – and there’s a fresh breeze carrying the scent of fresh-mown grass in through the screen.  Today, life is good.  The perfect setting for writing about What Really Matters. That’s what it’s all about, after all, this process/struggle/journey to move on after being downsized out of my life’s work:  rediscovering what’s most true about who I am and want to become, what I care about and am good at, what needs doing in the world and how I can best make a difference.  So as I picked my way through the rubble of that old life, one of the first pieces that began to take shape in what would eventually become the “Arc of My Life” document was a one-page attempt to focus on the basics.  Just one page (on purpose; otherwise, where would I stop?!) and without a futile compulsion to capture Everything.  It needed to be just enough to begin.  (As it happens, “Enough” emerged as an important theme throughout the process.  More on that later.)  And for now, at least, it seemed useful to rely on the voices of others, to help me to gather my courage and, eventually, to find my own voice again. Here’s where I started to ask:  What are among the things I most need to remember right now?  What are my most crucial foundations or starting places as I figure out how to move forward?   (Again, don’t force it.  Don’t worry about what I’m leaving out.  Just listen.  Let it come.)  What voices of wisdom have I encountered along the way that echo the voices of my truest self?  What are some of the key “landmarks” that can help me navigate this rugged, frightening new terrain, the “brightest stars” by which I can steer through these choppy waters? Looking at it now, I see several ideas, commitments, and values that would stand out in what was to follow, things like:  I’m not alone; connection and contribution are crucial; Way will open; be willing to risk and stretch and grow into what’s next.  No startling revelations here; I did recognize myself in what appeared.  But it was hugely helpful nonetheless to know that what did appear did so in the midst of bare ground.  After so much of what was familiar had been swept away, these are among the seeds of true self that remained in the soil.  I came to see that whatever I built on these foundations would be true because their base is sound.  The life that wants to live itself through me is, in fact, mine. Here’s my one page, unencumbered with explanation or commentary. Be not afraid.   We are because we belong.  (Desmond Tutu)   The question will not be, “Why were you not Moses?” Rather, it will be “Why were you not [Chris]?”  (from Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak)   “I will bring to you the people you need.”   “…and you too have come / into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled / with light, and to shine.” (Mary Oliver)   How can I best be of service to the people around me today?  (Adam Lugsch-Tehle)   The place where God calls you is the place where your heart’s gladness and world’s deep hunger meet.   (Frederick Buechner)   Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.  (Rumi)   Be the change you wish to see in the world. (attributed to Mahatma Gandhi)   Help me, help me, help me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  (Anne Lammott)   Everything will be alright in the end; if it’s not alright, it’s not yet the end.   …the moment that one definitely commits oneself Then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one That would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision Raising in one’s favor all manner Of unforeseen incidents and meetings And material substance Which no one could have dreamt Would have come your way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.        (Rilke)   Then the delight, when your courage kindled, And out you stepped onto new ground, Your eyes young again with energy and dream, A path of plenitude opening before you. Though your destination is not yet clear You can trust the promise of this opening; Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning That is at one with your life’s desire. Awaken your spirit to adventure; Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk; Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, For your soul senses the world that awaits you.                 (John O’Donohue)   Now, what would your “Foundations” page include, and why? What are among the voices of wisdom you’ve encountered along the way that can help you to rediscover your own voice? What are some of the key landmarks and constellations by which you can navigate your way through the uncertain and frightening terrain of change, loss, and transition?     Next time, Installment #3:  Big Questions

© 2013 Church Theme | Made with love.
Follow us: