I know I’m not the only middle-aged woman to look into a mirror at the beginning of a new year and feel the urge to lose weight, get organized and meditate more. We’ve all been there—some of us multiple times. In my case this year, it wasn’t just a feeling, it was a deep, inner knowing. There is no doubt in my mind and heart that the changes I make (or don’t make) this year will shape the landscape of my future in ways that could be beautiful or bleak…or anything in between. The important part is that I get to choose.
I’m not someone who needs to recapture my youth, or become wealthy or famous, but I do want to BE the person I was meant to be. Authentic. Whole. Full of joy. The fact that I feel unsettled when I look in the mirror tells me I’m not being fully ME. So this year, and forever more, I’ve decided I’m done setting goals for self-growth. From now on, I am manifesting intentions for significant living. My intention now is to become a wholly new person: To be reborn.
In my last post, I referred to my perceived need for life-change a “personal renaissance.” I chose the word “renaissance” over the word “resolution” because all too often, our resolutions (especially the ones we make as ceremonial obligations in January) are likely to get watered down and become optional or otherwise non-binding over time. I needed to find a word big enough to contain the notion that the changes I’ making are not optional. That’s because I’ve reached a turning point in my life—a point of no return, actually—where old habits, beliefs and thoughtforms must finally be laid to rest. By accepting and acting on this realization, I can be fully ME– a human who is whole in body, mind and spirit.
Along that line of thinking, “renaissance” is the right word to describe my quest, because of its sweeping historical associations. In European history, the Renaissance Period represented a time of releasing the past— letting go of the cultural and political belief systems and structures that had prevailed during the Middle Ages. Isn’t it interesting that I described myself in the first sentence of this post as “middle-aged?” And isn’t it also interesting that the Middle Ages is alternatively referred to as the “Dark Ages?” I am moving toward a lighter, brighter future! Historically, the Renaissance included voyages of discovery, dissolutions of old power structures, developments of new technologies, brilliant works of creativity and the embodiment of a forward-looking mindset. Personally integrating each of these things and ways of being into my life would enable the change I seek.
So, what’s the plan?
Because my personal renaissance is an intention rather than a goal, the plan for enabling the change is unlikely to conform to the neat, linear tools of project management. From the outside, my personal renaissance is likely to look messy, chaotic and counterintuitive. From the inside it may feel at once exhilarating and painful. But this messy mass of mixed emotion will make the journey fun—and all the more significant and meaningful in the end. The manifestation of change will be “measured” by collective actions viewed in retrospect. Think about it: The people who lived during the Renaissance simply did what they did, and it wasn’t until after their lives were over that historians labeled the Renaissance as such and presented it to posterity in a nice, neat package. Since I don’t want to wait until my life is over to recognize the my own personal renaissance, I will share its emergence through specific, dynamic and meaningful actions. I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences as well.