As it should be upon the conclusion of another calendar year, the mind looks back. I let my gaze fall upon the profound moments and the seemingly trivial. I look at what I’ve accomplished, and those things still left undone.
I take notice of my soul’s expansion. I notice how every time my soul broke further free, it required a push to do so. Looking back, I see how many of those moments brought me to my knees. But then I see how, once standing again, my feet were balanced upon a new plateau, offering a new vantage point; offering a broader perception of, not only the world, but also of myself.
Then I look forward. I think about what it is I hope to accomplish before my life draws to an end. It is within that thought that I must look at my life’s purpose. Due to having looked back upon my life I am able to see with more clarity what my purpose is and how I would like my life to unfold. Fate has a hand in much of the unfolding of my life. My journey may have a divine destination, but it is up to me as to how I navigate the road. The rate at which I travel is very much in my control, or so I believe. The more in tune I become with my inner compass, honoring that which feels right and taking note of that which feels wrong, my wheels roll with less hindrance.
But as I look ahead, I squint to see into the far-reaching distance. I see a woman of considerable age. She is looking back for the final time. She smiles. She is content. She wrote words that pulled more than one compass dial back into alignment. She wrote words that reminded many that they are beauty, they are not alone, and that they are meant to feel joy. Somehow throughout it all, she not only nurtured her children, but she parented them. She taught them empathy. She taught them accountability. She taught them to stretch their wings, and fly. This woman, with long silver hair, sits and squints into the far-reaching past, and sees that she walked over hot coals for those she loved. More than that, she believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves. She offered love, unconditionally – to herself, and to others. She flew, even when she was afraid to fly.
With her grace still in tact, she breathes deep. Her purpose has been fulfilled. She lived the examined life. And she told everyone what she learned along the way. Somewhere along the line, she allowed her wheels to roll free.
I hope that woman is me. Life isn’t easy. Often we are pushed to the limit. But I’ve come to understand that we must live at the furthest point of our being. It is there, where we break, and expand into something more. There are times when parenting in a way that caused my children to become better people, broke me. But raising compassionate, balanced adults is part of my purpose. So at times, my heart breaks from doing what is right for them, even when it pains me. It is then when I grow as a parent, and they grow as people. There are times when writing the words I know need to be read, has broken me. But I needed the walls of my prior beliefs to crumble if I was to expand into broader clarity. My soul needed the room. And so the walls within me came crumbling down. And there are times when the disappointments of life have broken me. But every time I was holding onto something that no longer served me. If I was to move forward, I had to break free.
I urge you to look back. But do so not with a critical eye. Then look forward. When you do, dare to see what you want to see. Then step forward. Live the life you want to look back upon with contentment.