Consciously Curating Your Life.
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? For me, it’s usually a snappy tune with singable lyrics —a song that holds meaning in some way. But it gets stuck on repeat, and the more I try to shut it down, the more stubbornly it plays over and over, forcing me to listen.
Then finally, once I really hear it, I can let it go.
Well, that’s happening now for me, but with a poem. Rainer Maria Rilke lived over 100 years ago, but his poem about finding your footing in the very questions that perplex you is finding its footing in me, an earworm on repeat. Maybe because I need to hear it. Rilke writes of embracing instability as a grounding force. Say what?
Haven’t we been living with this uncertainty long enough? I guess not. Yes, we all long for a return to "normal," but the reality may be that instability is the norm and change is our constant companion. They're what we can count on, and it’s up to us to learn how to maintain our equilibrium in the face of uncertainty. This poem, now that it’s gotten me to listen, is the teacher I think we need right now:
“I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
"Live everything. Live the questions…" It’s aspirational, sure, but also exhausting. I’m tired of all the questioning and uncertainty that comes with our endless 21st-century plague. So, friends, I’m putting my skills to work, and I’m inviting you to work with me, to do the soul work. Together we will embrace this endless instability, tighten up our cores and find the best of ourselves in this new balancing act.
This is a transformative time. Whether you are leading your life, leading a family, leading a company—or, perhaps doing all three at once—the one consistent element is... you. Never has it been more critical to know yourself so fully that you understand how to invest in your energy and communicate who you are and what you can offer. That is the definition of authenticity: being genuine, grounded and present. Being grounded in authenticity gives us the stability to live the questions and move forward in uncertain times.
“Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it.”
- Polly Berends
As we transition collectively, and you individually, beyond the cultural and societal upheaval of the past two years, you now have an opportunity to become more conscious of your “story” so you can become, more clearly, the author of your own future and your next chapter. And thus begins the work—the foundational soul work of consciously curating your life.
A few months from now, I have the honor of again co-leading an MEA Mastery Week with co-founder Jeff Hamaoui, addressing this very subject - “Consciously Curating Your Life.” If you join us, the work I hope to do with you includes how to:
- Identify the threads of your life, unearth the wisdom within and learn how that relates to your sense of purpose.
- Reframe your understanding of change and your relationship with it, through the lens of Frederick Hudson’s “Cycle of Renewal.”
- Embrace authenticity by understanding what fulfillment means to you and identify the shifts required to live and lead in alignment with your values.
- Create your Impact statement—a statement that aligns the wisdom and insights you’ve surfaced to guide you to say “yes” with conviction and “no” with clarity.
This week will set the stage for the profound transformation that culminates into you embracing the authorship of your next chapter, quite possibly your best opus yet. I hope you will join us. Here’s a video of me and Chip chatting.
PS: Barbara and Chip will also be connecting with the founder of the Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL) Laura Carstensen next Tuesday for a conversation on SCL’s recent report on "The New Map of Life." It promises to be an inspired hour and it’s free if you sign up HERE.
Barbara Waxman is a veteran guest faculty member for MEA and is a leading life stage expert, leadership coach, and gerontologist. She is part expert coach, caring truth-teller, strategic thought partner, and accountability advocate, buoying her approach with compassion, honesty, research-based expertise, and a light heart. Barbara will be co-leading the popular Mastery Week, Consciously Curating Your Life, with MEA co-founder Jeff Hamaoui, February 14th - 19th, 2022.