Just as the shine wears off our New Year’s energy, spring is around the corner to freshen our inspiration. We are constantly entering new stages of ourselves. Our personal evolution is about moving through “eras” of life.
As a psychotherapist, I work with people who are in transition between these stages. Clients come in wanting to move from how things currently are to an improved version. You might say they are hoping to enter a new era.
How do I use this idea with clients and how can you apply this to your life?
Part of my approach is to help clients consider where they want to go without worrying how to get there first. When we can think in new ways about where we are and where we’ve been, we can imagine where we want to be. Consider applying this approach to your life:
Have you ever thought about the era you are in today? Of course you start each day with mostly stable qualities that define who you are: your age, your family, your work and where you live.
Think beyond this.
This time in your life is unique if you think about it from this perspective. When you look back on the winter of 2008, how do you think you will describe it?
To practice, consider 1998:
- What era were you in 10 years ago? Were you running marathons? Was it a time of loss? Were you in a relationship that defined that period or affected the following years? (Did you have a “blue” period like Picasso?) What gave you great pleasure 10 years ago? What did like to wear and eat; what did you do first thing in the morning?
Are you starting to remember the flavor of who you were 10 years ago?
Now think about the present. Some questions you might ask yourself are:
- What’s important to me these days?
- What are 3 daily habits I am keeping?
- What are the central hopes I have for myself and those around me?
- What are my current struggles?
Give your era a name, and think about whether it is in its early stages, the middle, or on the way out.
Are you happy with the era you are in, its progress, what it stands for, where you are going? Have you considered what your next era will be about? Focus on your life from this viewpoint. An era of time with permeable edges gives you freedom make adjustments based on your life’s evolution. And remember, all of our “eras” have made us who we are.
“Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.”