We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell
Throughout any woman’s life, I've come to find that there are a series of years that she can consider highly transformational. Transformational years don’t happen all at once. They seem to happen every four to ten years.
When a year that can I consider transformational happens, it may often feel like life is a bit of a roller coaster. There's a lot happening internally within your physical body, as well as your soul. During these years, you experience spiritual shifts, personal losses and gains, changes in your career, changes in your family structure, changes in your beliefs, a new focus on your inner wellbeing and mental -- and these things just happen one right after the other, or even simultaneously.
These years are a bit like riding a roller coaster, up and down, swirling all around. From finding joy in a new accomplishment to the pain that comes from letting something or someone go, a transformational year throws a woman's life into a continual state of change. And if she’s not paying attention, these years can spiral out quickly.
Experiencing transformational years.
When they happen, I consider transformational years absolutely grand, I don't fear them. I welcome every evolutionary change they bring, even when it may be deeply painful. I'm now experiencing my fifth experiencing transformational year as I rewrite this post.
Lesson No. 1: We never lose our demons, we only learn to live above them.
Yes, I just quoted The Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton) in Dr. Strange. As human being, we have strength, but we also have weakness, vices, a Shadow, demons. Mainstream belief says that you should work on permanently getting rid of your demons, but I've come to believe that are demons are a part of us that need to be integrated. You can learn to balance them, you always know they are there, but you don’t succumb to them.
It’s a delicate balance, an imperfect harmony, but it can be achieved. Whatever demons you carry, you learn to rise above them (and that process is not linear or pristine), encouraging them to go dormant, so that you can wake up. When the demons go to sleep, you become more conscious of what really drove you to commune with them so much. That consciousness brings about the change that needs to come from transformational years, things just start to come to fruition faster than you can imagine. We never lose our demons, we learn to live above them.
Lesson No. 2: Graceful honesty with carefully chosen words is freeing.
It’s always been hard to be honest with myself, and openly speak what I feel should be said in many situations. Our society has taught women to keep the status quo, always asking us to be cautious in how we let the words we uttered from our lips flow. Women are encouraged to overly edit what we want to say. From what I’ve come to learn, this continual editing causes anxiety, stress, and discontentment.
In the last few years, I've worked on not let myself be driven by anxiety because of things I didn't say. This year though, I made a conscious choice to have hard conversation with people in my personal life, as well as my professional life.
Setting boundaries and holding people accountable has been a big theme this year. In my personal relationships, I had to reestablish what I could bring to certain friendships and what I needed in return. The closest relationships (clearly the ones meant to last) were supportive.
But others were taken aback, shocked, and some people even looked at me as they were trying to figure out if I was playing a game as the simplicity of my statements might actually hold some hidden meaning. The ones who chose not to accept the way I could show up and how I needed them to show up, fell away. And that was okay, because from the relationships that ended, the new friendships that have come and are in development are much more grand.
In my professional life, and with clients, I let go of 80% of my business. Very few of my clients reacted positively to how I changed my processes, availability, pricing and services. In that, I was able to building a new business that is replacing the previous revenue, and it's far more rewarding.
Lesson No. 3: It’s okay to wander.
Not all those who wander are lost, in fact, they’re probably the most aware, conscious and observant people you’ll ever meet. Our culture goes to extremes in trying to convince us how we should act, what we should think, who we should be and what we should seek to do in our lives.
So if you find yourself diverging from what society says is how you should be, good, do exactly that. Going down different paths. Happily march to the beat of your own drummer, it’s no longer taboo. Personally, I like mobility, impermanence and wandering, I hope you realize it’s okay if you do too!
Lesson No. 4: There’s nothing as disenchanting as obtainment.
This is a big one, I set goals during my last transformational year, I achieved them. I actually shattered my own expectations. Getting there wasn’t always joyous, sometimes that achievement only came with massive amounts of pain and hardship.
With each accomplishment crossed off the list, there was satisfaction. But it faded quickly. I came to realization that there was nothing a disenchanting as obtainment. Somewhere along this last decade’s journey, I’d become a different person, and it was a person I that I truly didn’t know. Looking at all my “accomplishments” made me feel hollow because they were hollow.
I couldn’t figure out why I had worked so hard to do all that I’d done. I asked myself, “Why did you do this?” There were three answers that came up:
- Because someone told me I couldn’t.
- Because it’s what the world said I should do.
- Because I had to provide for “X”.
When I dug beneath these answers, my heart hurt. Most of my achievements came from the need to prove my worth. I also realized they came from a subconscious belief that I was not worthy nor good enough (which I know now was far from the truth).
So what did I do? I let go of obtainment and the need to set a goal in order to achieve something. Now, I simply focus on intention. I mindfully ask myself if what I am doing, creating, or working on will help others. And if doesn't, then I release it. Creating for a place of mindful intention often yields products, services, ideas, or outcomes that serve others in ways that help them along their journeys. And that creation is ongoing, always bringing about the evolution of what's being laid. It's the journey and process, not the end.
Make what you do in life your Unicorn instead making it your Workhorse.
– Macala Rose Wright
What have transformational years brought you?
- What have you learned from transformational years you’ve experienced during your life?
- If you’re not in a transformational year, are their things in your life that require your attention?
If you haven’t, I encourage you to start to look at what may need to be addressed before your next transformational year comes knocking