By Divine, Not Design.
"Usually sometime around midlife, we come to a point where we’ve seen enough of our own tricks and we come to feel that my shadow self is who I am. We face ourselves in our raw, unvarnished, and uncivilized state...
...This is the shadowland where we are led by our own stupidity, our own sin, our own selfishness, by living out of our false self. We have to work our way through this with brutal honesty, confessions and surrenders, some forgiveness, and often by some necessary restitution or apology. The old language would have called it repentance, penance, or stripping."
- Richard Rohr
High school is the time to start designing the rest of our lives. Yet, few of us could predict how our adulthood actually played out. We tend to vastly overestimate how much change we'll see in the next few years and vastly underestimate how much change will occur in the next decade. Often, this is because external circumstances have their way with us, and new shoots of growth emerge out of the rubble.
Our ego and society's training suggest that it's our fault if we're getting the game of life wrong. Maybe I'm just a bad designer? Or maybe I'm just paying my karmic penance?
When we come to realize that we're here to learn and improve as opposed to win and prove, we stop blaming ourselves (and maybe others) for our fate. It's when we learn to "shadow box" rather than run from our shadow that we accept and cultivate our wholeness and the conditions for magic to ensue. As MEA alum Douglas Tsoi reminds me, the poet Rumi suggested, "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it and embrace them."
Maybe the second half of our adult life is our time to become a cartographer (or cardiologist) of our heart in order to map out the emotional maze that has guided our thinking and actions. Maybe the challenging, unplanned circumstances we experience are just "divine intervention." So, when we get bummed out that life isn't happening as we designed it, maybe we should ask ourselves: Am I awake enough to see the nudge and the potential lesson that will allow me to rise above my shadow?