You Need A Theme
The reality is, no one lets go in a vacuum--no one lets go of anything
without reaching for something else. But if you don't know what you're reaching
for, you won't let go. The solution is to come up with a theme. Take the
pressure off yourself. Stop trying to figure out exactly what you're going to do
next. Instead, define what the next chapter in your life is going to feel like.
What part of you do you want to express? Freedom? Creativity? Intimacy?
Serenity? Balance? That's your theme. When you get the right word--the right
theme--it mobilizes you to move forward. It gives you something exciting to
create space for. (Julie Morgenstern)
Ever since moving to Wisconsin I have been wondering what I am to do here. What's next on my agenda? When we moved to Ohio in 1994 I was eager to explore new options, do things I had not done before. I left a stimulating, challenging position in public relations for a seminary and decided not to look for a similar job. Eventually, I trained as a spiritual director, opened a private practice and led retreats and facilitated groups on topics related to spirituality. I loved finding a new career, answering a new call. With this recent move I first thought I needed to do something new again. Isn't that part of what a move is all about? After some reflection, however, I thought about bringing what I have done and who I am into this place, this time. How could I use the skills and the knowledge I had developed over the last years in a new setting? With that idea in mind I have investigated some possibilities, but I have not found the right match. I've tested a few things, but have not felt the passion to pursue them. This has been challenging, especially when I am asked "What are you doing these days?"
This "What's next?"conversation is not confined to those who have moved to a new community, but it is also a common conversation among people who have retired recently or are considering retirement. There seems to be pressure to have a fill-in the blank answer. "I am going to_______. I've always wanted to_________. The problem is not a lack of interests or opportunities or support. The "What next?" question is so much bigger than those categories. I think Morgenstern has given an avenue for serious reflection and one worth a number of early morning journal entries. What is to be my theme for the next chapter? Stay tuned.
Oh, and in the meantime a friend mentioning that it may be the right time to retire gave me an idea about what I might do. I have always loved leading groups. One of the things I miss most about my Ohio life is the women's spirituality group I led. What about starting a group for women who are newly or about to be retired? A group that would look at the issues of this time, offer support, explore strategies, and provide a safe and spiritual context for reflection. Interested?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Finding a Theme
One never knows where one will find wisdom. Most recently I found it in a home decor magazine in an article about cleaning closets and shedding stuff.