More and more, I experience life as a constant flow of endings and beginnings. Sometimes I find it hard to tell them apart. Yet what becomes increasingly clear to me is that the constant flow of endings and beginnings also means a constant flow of change. And how we choose to approach and engage with that never-ending flow of change shapes every aspect of our daily existence.
Last month, I wrote about a moment of awakening I experienced in the White Desert of Egypt in early January 2008. It’s one thing to know something intellectually; it’s quite another to awaken to that knowing in the whole of your being. As the sun rose over the desert horizon that January morning, I experienced all of time—past, present, and future—being held within the capsule of that present moment. And all my personal past, present, and future being fully alive within me. It was a turning point moment in my life.
Now, exactly 15 years later, I recognize the shift from “awakening” to “lived experience.” This idea that all of time is held within the present moment is no longer just a concept; it is, for better or worse, what I live and breathe. For the most part, living in that awareness is reassuring, supportive, and nurturing. However, sometimes it’s hard to find words to describe those profound moments that lead us to deep inner knowing. I experience life as linear and three-dimensional and, at the same time, non-linear and multi-dimensional. Deep in the heart of my being, there is an increasingly undeniable urge to give voice to what has become my daily lived experience. That is, in fact, what motivates me to continue writing.
Nothing is ever “lost” to us
We live out our lives within a matrix of relationships—with people, animals, environments, systems, and cultures, as well as with experiences, beliefs, thoughts, and values. I find great reassurance in my deep knowing that nothing that has ever been a part of my life is ever “lost” to me. It’s all somehow still held within this multi-dimensional present moment. The people, places, and experiences of my past come and go in my conscious awareness, assuring me that they are with me. Often, they communicate meaningful insights or perspectives through direct inner hearing, seeing, sensing, or knowing. Perhaps you have had similar experiences.
As life goes on, relationships change, including relationships with people and experiences of our past. When we attempt to freeze them in time and don’t allow them the freedom to change and evolve, we limit current and future possibilities. However, when we intentionally set those relationships free to evolve, we create space for liberation and empowerment—for ourselves and for them.
Creating intentional spaces to learn, grow, and evolve
As we consciously learn, grow, and evolve in who we are and intentionally create space for others to do the same, the stories we choose to tell ourselves about those relationships also evolve. We grow in our understanding of how life works and discover ever bigger contexts within which life unfolds. Over time, we liberate ourselves from the shackles of our limiting views.
Admittedly, giving space to ourselves and others to learn and evolve can sometimes feel awkward, even with the best intentions. We are walking on new terrain. We’re forging new pathways of relationship. Roles are shifting and adapting to new realities. We’re exploring new ways of being with one another. And that can challenge each of us to go deeper within, consider anew who we are, sense what matters most now, and perhaps make new choices.
In human dynamics, the soul longs to learn, grow, and evolve, yet the ego wants the safety of predictable outcomes. Remaining true to who we are while, at the same time, lifting others up for their light to shine can be a delicate balancing act. Sensing how to move forward may not always be clear. We’re learning to navigate with a new compass—a compass that points the way towards liberating and empowering ways of being with one another.
Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish writer living in Amsterdam at the time of the Nazi occupation. She died in Auschwitz. Her diaries were a chronicle of her spiritual awakening. I shared this quote in an article not long ago, yet it stays with me:
Through me course wide rivers and in me rise tall mountains. And beyond the thickets of my agitation and confusion there stretch the wide plains of my peace and surrender. All landscapes are within me. And there is room for everything.Etty Hillesum
In my inner world, I, too, recognize wide rivers and tall mountains. Sometimes those rivers are gentle and wide and expansive; other times they’re stormy and turbulent. Sometimes I feel like I’m standing on top of the tall mountains with a view to eternity; other times I feel like I’m at the bottom wondering how I will ever make the climb.
Yet beyond my agitation and confusion there stretch the wide plains of my peace and surrender.
I have learned that when I awaken in the night filled with doubt and hesitation, I can stay present with the moment; I trust that I will get to the other side. Or when people, places, and situations from multiple past and future realities dance in the shadows of my darkened room as if they all belong together, I trust they are here for a reason, even if that reason is not yet obvious.
Simply by getting out of bed and walking across the room, I quickly become grounded again in the present-moment linear-time reality. Grounded in the present, I can invite aspects of my past and future to be part of my present in ways that serve and empower, and I can leave behind what does not serve. It’s a choice. Therein lies the key.
A constant flow of endings and beginnings
All landscapes are within me. And there is room for everything.
Endings and beginnings. The essence of all that has ever been in the past is held in the present moment. And so are the seeds of all possibilities for our future. Within the human heart, there is room for everything.
Life is energy in motion; it never stops. Life is a constant flow of endings and beginnings and endings and beginnings. Change is inevitable. So is evolution. The more conscious we are about how we navigate endings and beginnings, the more we can become intentional co-creators in the evolution of who we are and what we bring to the world.
As you step into 2023, what endings and beginnings are you navigating? What is waiting to be set free for your own growth and evolution? For others’ liberation? What aspects of your past, present, and future might you invite to dance together in this New Year?
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Related Blog Posts:
- Four Keys for Navigating Transition, Change, and Uncertainty
- Three Touchstones for Navigating Uncertainty and Recognizing Possibility
- Navigating the Unexpected
- How do you find stability when everything keeps changing?
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