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Recently in Donna Bennett: Thresholds Category

Donna_Bennett.JPGThresholds. Transitions. Transformations. Moving into a new phase of life calls for courage, guidance, sustenance, and more. Some call it having "true grit." Life beyond career used to be all laid out for us. We followed those who went before - parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. As a society, we ended our careers by stepping out of one way of life and into another. Like it or not, the majority followed the societal course. They left work behind, and replaced it with leisure. It was the way to retire.

Society, however, is shifting and changing in the wake of the Baby Boomers. As Boomers have changed the course of society in each stage of their human development, they also demand a new way to "retire." The old model no longer works. Careers are phased out, rather than ended, and people now look for ways to recycle their personal gifts and resources.

The new retirement has no rules. For one, it is no longer called retirement. Rather, it is more current to use titles such as encore careers, the second half of life, and similar versions that are a better fit. With no rules or precedence to guide us, we must create our own way. So, now there are options. We can do what we want with the life we have left. Where to begin?

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Donna_Bennett.JPGLoss is inherent in the human experience. It is a constant in all of life. Yet, it always comes as a surprise - as if it had never happened before. As if it isn't supposed to happen.

Loss is most often wrapped up in negatives - negative thoughts and words that conjure up negative emotions.

I asked several people, "What words bubble up when you think of loss?" They were quick to offer words such as: regret, uncertainty, grief, sorrow, emptiness, missing, overwhelmed, anger, isolation, separation, sadness, pain, alone, stalled. One offered, "release, hope, and joy."

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Donna_Bennett.JPGWe live in a culture that is focused on getting things done. Busyness is embedded in the routine of our daily lives. Much of what drives our busyness is our shoulds. If our shoulds don't motivate us, we can count on expectations to get us moving, our own and others' as well. The art of wonder, which we had abundantly in childhood, is all but lost as we hurry through our lives.

If we wonder at all in the midst of our busyness, we are likely to wonder: "Did I turn off the...before I left?"; "Would he/she/they wait a few more days for...?"; "How long has it been since I called...?"; "Is it time for mom's/dad's/pet's/child's checkup?", and so on.

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Donna_Bennett.JPGThe following quote by Martha Graham is a beautiful testimony to embracing your uniqueness:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
Martha Graham, quoted by Agnes DeMille, Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham

What is your expression of uniqueness? What is it about you that is like no other? Is this the time to go deep, to take stock, to take a close look at your gifts, your strengths?

The combination of all that you are makes you unique. There is not another person who is exactly like you. You need only to measure up to one person - and that is you.

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