Monday, May 3, 2010

Abstaining from accomplishment

I had a coaching session with a new client today, a dancer and wise woman. We each wrote out some ideas about what we'd like our lives to be in five-years' time. After she read me her list, I asked her this question: "What would happen if you had already accomplished enough for this lifetime? If you didn't need to accomplish another thing?"

She laughed and said, "My whole body is smiling at that thought."

If you're young and reading this, it may not mean anything to you. But many of us older folks already have extremely impressive resumes of work, community service, relationships, parenting, friend-helping, an impressive list of accomplishments. Maybe we don't need to do more. And the important word here is "need." Maybe we can ease up and do what we want, laying down the burden of guilt about the very needy world out there and our own need to prove something to somebody from our past or anybody from our present.

What if we turned over a new leaf and began acting out of a commitment to joy, to peace, to connection, rather than a commitment to do all we can for everyone and be all we can for ourselves? What if contemplation and reflection became our life's work at this stage?

I asked Lily how she might turn over a new leaf. She smiled and said, "I'd write my resume on a wall and then paint it over."

"Clean slate," I commented.

"Clean slate," she nodded.

We both agreed to give that some thought and Lily headed over to the art store to find something she could write with on the wall.

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