|Oh dear, my high school graduation day--bad hair and all!|
I immediately flashed on graduation days in my own life: high school and college, my husband Bruce's from medical school and of course, our children's graduations. And then just as quickly I thought how quickly Maren, our 13 year old granddaughter, will graduate from high school.
Graduations are special days of celebration.
A Brief Story
Both my husband Bruce and I graduated from St Olaf College in 1970. We had dated each other during those years, but not senior year. After the commencement ceremony, graduates picked up their actual diplomas in the registrar's office. Bruce and I passed each other on the walk outside the office, and I blithely said to him, "Have a nice life." Little did we know in just over a year we would marry each other and would create that "nice life" together.
Graduations signal an ending and a beginning, one we hope will lead us to the desired "nice life." We graduate from something and someplace and graduate to something and someplace else. Graduation becomes a time of transition when we hold past, present, and future in our hands in the same moment.
Imagine the person you are now walking across the stage of a commencement ceremony today. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, What is it I am graduating from? As I view my life what regrets or hurts require graduation? What "shoulds" I've held onto rigidly for oh, so many years deserve a ceremony of "been there, done that"? How about judgements about the way I think things or people should be --oops, another "should." Where have I been closed?
As you return to your seat, diploma in hand, ask yourself, What does graduation signal for my present and my future? Graduation is a time to be grateful for the accomplishments in our life, the learnings and the ways we have been able to use our gifts and skills. How can I use my gifts now? What is it I am called to do now? Be now? Are there people we need to thank for their help, support and guidance over the years?
How well do I really know myself? In what ways can I be more open? Where do I need to redirect my energy? What relationships do I need to tend? Can I build on my life experiences to live with more compassion, love and forgiveness?
There are no official additional degrees or diplomas in my future and yet, graduation can be an ongoing theme in our wisdom years.
Now is the time to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder of your life.
Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourages you to live everything here.
See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.
From To Bless the Space Between Us
A Book of Blessings
Think of yourself as a graduate today. Listen to your heart. Where is your graduation leading you now? I would love to know.