Saturday, June 10, 2017

Listening to Change

Its taken me a year to notice a change within myself. I knew that moving to this much smaller town was going to be a challenge. I figured that no longer being employed and sharing that particular work community was going to give me space and time to contemplate other choices. I realized that the inevitable solitude on those long days when I was alone were going to poke at my sense of self. I knew that I was going to have to embrace patience and find the positive in my choices while not allowing frustration to drag me down.

Living in a county that has a total population only twice as much as the city I used to live in has been an oddly packaged gift. My LinkedIn account and the psycho-organizational lingo of a consulting practice; the traffic, the push and pull of what success looks like has all been dissolved by tides, watersheds, and eagles sitting in the trees.

I've spent a lot of hours listening - sometimes to the wind in the trees and sometimes to people who are quietly going about the business of preserving our ecosystem. I've listened into questions that have started feeding my own place in this new community. I've been listening to friendships deepening and to aging parents sharing their hopes and fears; to adult children who are finding their way in the world and to the loving heart of the man I am married to.

As I get older, it continues to become clear how important it is to keep learning. To listen and learn, to humbly assume the role of student. Whether it's bread making or showing up as the newest member on a non-profit board of directors - I thrive in the learning curve. It took me a long time to realize that. I think back - way back - and remember having an overwhelming sense of vulnerability when tackling something new. Whether it was worry over how I was perceived by others or a fear of failure (and what that would mean about me) - the future tripping meaning-making would paralyze me.

The grace of aging - at least for me - has been relinquishing judgments and getting fear out of the driver's seat. My own and other people's. It is also clearer now than ever before that I know so little in respect to the world at large. That doesn't mean I don't have my own opinions about how the world works. I have my values and beliefs; ideas about what is right and wrong - just like everyone else. And yet, all I know is how I can show up for this day, today.

If the past year has taught me anything, I would say that the lesson is how the future laughs at our attempts to pin it down. Even when I tried not to have expectations, I still had expectations. Adapting doesn't mean thinking through all possible permutations of what is possible - it means softening the knees, keeping the eyes open and meeting life head on with an open, curious heart.

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