Who will you be in twenty years?
What will you be doing? What will you have made of your life? What will your legacy be?
When Ethan was alive I struggled to think about the future. If I’m honest, I wanted to wear blinders. I didn’t know what was to come and I couldn’t bring myself to entertain the possibilities. After he died, the future felt daunting. I would wake up each day and think to myself, “I have to live the rest of my life without him here”. The future felt gray, tainted, unkind.
Today the future feels uncertain and exciting. I’m grounded. I’m up for the adventure. I know it’s an unknown entity and I’m okay with that. I’m a vessel, part of a bigger dance that God has created me for. I know there is purpose for my life. Now when the future feels uncertain, I listen. I really listen. I get quiet and I listen. I listen to the part of me that speaks truth, that is the voice of God, of Holy Spirit, of my deepest self.
The world is so noisy, the hum relentless. It’s amazing how connected we all can be at any moment, and yet this connection often feels invasive, disruptive and disconnecting. How do we find silence within, when the world is screaming at us on the outside?
Whatever news is your pleasure.
The supreme nominee court hearings.
The to do list that comes home from school.
The to do list we have for our families, the sports practices, doctor visits, finances.
The worries, concerns, that we carry in our hearts every day.
The heaviness of grief, the overwhelm of illness.
Our jobs, our homes, our families, our futures, our health, our dreams knocking on our hearts.
It’s hard to stand still when the boat of life is tossing you to and from. It is vital to create a vision for your life that can transcend your present momentary status. To find an inner compass that speaks truth to you. A still, firm space you can go to when the winds and waves of life feel unrelenting. A whisper that says, “go that way” or “not right now”. For me that is the voice of God, my soul, my inner knowing, my intuition. All really the same things wrapped together. The words you use, or what you call it doesn’t matter. Finding it does.
To figure it all out you are told to find a mentor, a coach, to sign up for this life changing course or follow these ten steps. All good, all important, serving their purpose. But you can spend so much time listening to other people that you stop listening to yourself. You lose confidence in the person you are, in the knowing that is already within you.
As I’ve written about many times before, grief has upended me. I’ve committed to personal growth and a focus on the questions, dreams and callings that have sprung forth. I’ve learned the value of turning inward, sifting through, wrestling. On days I’ve felt completely lost, on days I’ve felt completely found. I’m found more than lost now, but the ebb and flow, the back and forth continues.
Last year I read a book called Playing Big, by Tara Mohr. Tara is a coach, author and what I’d call a women’s leadership and well-being guru. The subtitle of her book is - practical wisdom for women who want to speak up, create and lead. If that resonates with you, check it out.
In it is a guided meditation, a visualization about your inner mentor. You are asked to visualize meeting with your future self, you in twenty years. Who is she? What is she like? What does she do? Eat? Where does she live? What does that space feel like? You are encouraged to take time write the answers down, to write from your future self to your present self. In doing so, you realize that the answers are already inside of you. That you do have the compass, the inner knowing, the voice of God, of your soul. You just need to get quiet enough to hear it. And then you’ll need a bit of courage to bring it all to life.
This was such a powerful exercise for me that I used it at the last two Restoring a Mother’s Heart Retreats. I adapted and edited the meditation for the women in the room. I heard from several women it was one of their favorite parts of the retreat. They heard from their future self that they would, in fact, survive. They saw a vision of what they could create and become. Yes, lots of hard work in between the present day and the becoming, but the vision is the blueprint to keep you going.
As women we struggle with self worth, confidence, the inner critic. Grief and special needs parenting have been huge hits to my self-confidence, to my vision for the future. But deep inside I have met the me that God created. The one designed for the story I am living. There’s no mistake in the story, nothing out of place or unseen by God. She may not look like the woman I planned for, but she is home. In low moments I wish I wasn’t her, in high ones, I know I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
At the retreat I modified the meditation a bit and had the women visualize ten years in the future, as twenty felt too distant for the present pain. If twenty years feels too daunting, or you don’t know if you will be earthside then, visualize five or ten. Set a vision, think about your legacy.
Creating a vision for your future is always important, but when we add grief, the inevitable pain that life brings, special needs parenting, you name it, that vision is all the more important. It helps us stay the course when the momentary pain feels unbearable. It gives us hope when we feel hopeless, it calls to us and says “that is more for you, keep going”. It’s an anchor, a guide, a compass.
On days when I feel lost, I go back to the meditation I reference above. I re-read my answers to the questions, sometimes over and over again. When I do, I feel like I can let out a sigh. “Yes, she’s still there, her dreams our intact, all is not lost.”
So my dear, please search for her, commit to listening to her, to finding her. Make space for her. Drown out the noise, the voices, the shoulds and oughts. Turn off the news. Take a social media siesta. Give yourself grace. Give yourself a break.
And when her voice is clear, listen, take in the words, the wisdom that lives in you. You will know what to do next. Do that. And keep listening.
Sunday Love to you.
P.S. Here’s another article from Tara I’ve found soul giving. Seven Ways to Recognize a Calling.
P.P.S. - You’ll see my on this page of Tara’s webpage sharing a testimonial about her work. No, this isn’t a sponsored post, just sharing tools and ideas that have helped me.