I woke up this morning in Montpellier just a little after the sun was rising out over the ocean. I can’t see the ocean from my window but as I poked my head through a tiny window in the loft where I’m staying, the morning breeze was cool compared to the warm air the night before and the sun was just visible over the buildings. It’s very quiet for a Monday morning in this city. I can only hear a few cars in the distance which is vastly different from the circus of activity I was surrounded by in Barcelona each day from the fifth floor apartment balcony. Upon doing my morning reflection, I was thinking about the upcoming visit I am about to have with some friends that are arriving in France that will include celebrating two of them completing Ironman events next Saturday and Sunday and then a week later celebrating my 50th birthday at the beautiful Bastide Avellanne in Provence.
I am so deeply proud to know these women that have dedicated a vast portion of their lives in the last few months to this one day. One day that has already changed their lives. One day that I’m sure is going to be filled with some of the most intense pain and also joy they have experienced. They are making this a reality through commitment, grit, strength, and I have to say a bit of insanity. I haven’t had the pleasure of being around them during their training, their injuries or their milestones, but they have had a profound impact on me from afar. Their commitment to this day, is encouragement for me to dig deeper into myself and while an Ironman event is likely not in the cards for me, I have come to realize that living my safe, controlled, and somewhat small life no longer serves me.
There’s no doubt that a milestone birthday is cause for profound reflection in life. We think deeply about the impact we have had thus far, the things we have done, places we have seen and what kind of legacy, if any, we will be leaving behind. I am very proud of the life I have lived in these first 50 years. But I am taking the time to really process what is important to me, what the consequences have been of some actions or behaviors that have been continually present in my life up to this point. I am beginning to see more clearly that I have been so afraid to give myself fully to this world. Give in a raw, unconditional, filled with passion kind of way. I have shown up as a confident, headstrong, knowledgeable, get shit done kind of girl but always in a guarded, protected, controlling way.
As I wrote about in the Courage/Bravery post, I have made huge strides in recognizing these patterns in myself and changing that internal messaging. But I am feeling stuck about how to break through that smallness and not being afraid to give of myself more freely? Maybe this is my Ironman, except it’s my soft woman.
My mid-life gap year is my training year for giving, for opening, for honesty, for commitment and for growth.
We have a choice. We can complacently watch life from the sidelines, or we can risk our pride, our ideas, and whatever else we use to separate ourselves from others and leap fully into our life.
Michael Wenger, “Entering the Lotus”
My Daily Dharma email from 20 August 2018