Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feeling is Revealing

I was a little apprehensive about sharing the previous blog, exposing too much of myself, perhaps? However, after posting my writing, I was immediately aware that my security issues stemmed from the very root of my being, that foundational structure that provides the stability and nurturing to allow us to grow courageously to new heights. In digging into those roots, I found they were tightly grasping a huge, gray boulder, a “foundation” utterly cold and unresponsive to my personal needs.

That structure formed in my very distant past when I was unable to comprehend the dynamics of people and situations around me. I’ve carried it and compensated for it for decades! Now that I see it, I can understand the factors that are creating my present fears about a lack of security if I let go of the boulder of my present regular-paycheck job, which, to be honest, no longer fulfills me or allows me to grow as it once did.

Two thoughts emerged when I came to this realization:

(1) If I remove the boulder, there is fertile soil beneath! I have experienced so much and demonstrated I can, when necessary, find and work with sufficient soil or other resources to ensure my survival.

(2) The boulder brought to mind a high, stone wall separating my past and future. I can clearly see my past but not the future; however, I have made it to this wall. It’s a cold, gray indicator that transition is necessary.

Furthermore, once I get past the wall and am beholding only to myself, I can create a future of my own making. Who knows how satisfying and rewarding my future can be if I make it my own?

The "moral" of this blog is: “Don’t shy away from your feelings even if they are a little uncomfortable.” Dig around in them and see what they have to tell you; there is treasure to be found.

I would love to face your transitions with you and coach you over walls that seem insurmountable. Contact me at and we’ll get started. You are stronger and more resourceful than you know.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I’m Far Too Petrified to Retire!

I have lived beyond the magic age for full Social Security; and believe me, I’m not still working to save the system from going bankrupt! I’m realizing I am desperately fearful of leaving my day job and its regular paycheck and relying on a drastically reduced Social Security check and a retirement fund that may or may not stay solvent in this unpredictable, global, financial shakeup. In short, I struggle mightily with my concept of financial security.

But, that’s just one facet of my retirement planning dilemma. A few months ago, a wise friend suggested I develop a reasonable “flight plan” for retirement, giving myself plenty of time to prepare for take-off. I mentally stepped up to a long, long runway and within days, my left knee began to ache excruciatingly! It hurt when I walked; it hurt when I sat; it hurt when I lay in bed! I believe in the mind-body connection, so I saw this as a painful but curious physical signal that my mind was not ready to get on board.

To add insult to injury, I went on a lovely tour of Egypt in December 2010 (before the revolution) with 40 seniors, most of whom were retirees. I had an opportunity to ask many of them how they made the decision to retire. Their reasons were all over the grid: an accident that disabled the person; a spouse who retired and wanted the partner to do likewise; a work environment that became too onerous and restrictive; overall job weariness; family circumstances. Among these very nice tour mates I looked around, saw myself and started to feel my age—old! My knee was killing me and I painfully stood among my peers—retirement-aged adults.

I was trapped, a bit uncomfortable, and stubbornly trying to defy reality! I was forced to be real about my age and accept the joint pains that go with it! At my day job, I am among younger coworkers; I am old enough to be my supervisor’s mother! I’ve let myself identify with a younger generation. I can look at myself in the mirror and not see wrinkles—talk about delusions!

I am having my own life transition crisis! “Physician, heal thyself” (from Luke 4:23). I won’t give advice about something I have not personally experienced. This is my ethic and this difficult passage is my educational experience. Fortunately, it is tempered by a slowly blossoming reality that retirement from my day job is a gift, an incredible opportunity to express all those creative ideas I’ve been ignoring far too long. It can be a rebirth—and it will; that is my intention…with or without the knee pain!

Stay tuned.