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Perfecting Life Shifts

I met my husband when I was twenty-five. We were friends first and then began dating. By age 30 I was married and pregnant with our first child. These five years were incredible transitional lessons, although I did not know that at the time. Within these five years I learned to practice patience, gratitude, and love, but most of all I experienced the art of holding space for another person. Of course, before I met him I understood other people were important and had feelings, but I was young and with youth there is a good bit of self-centeredness. Not because you are selfish, but because it is the natural order of growth. First your parents take care of you, and from that you learn to take care of yourself. And then in time, you balance that care to hold space for another.

Self-care is imperative when you are thrust upon the world. In many cases the first time you are alone is when you move out or head to college. I have vague memories of the day my mother and sisters dropped me at my dorm at Newton Massachusetts. There was a heaviness to my soul that I had not before felt. When they got in the car to drive away, I waved furiously until I could no longer see the taillights of the familiar car. I went back up the stairs to my new home and sat for a moment on the foreign bed that reminded me of nothing. I looked around and honestly felt a bit dizzy at the newness that was thrust upon me. This was a life shift. And not one I was sure I wanted to experience. The good part was there were many other girls around me that seemed to be in the same funky daze I was, and we were able to talk, to cry and to celebrate our new-found role in the world. Gone were the days of childhood and the meaning that carried for each of us. Instead we were independent women making choices that would create our next step.

The shifts of life are perfectly aligned. We need not force them or worry about them. We all have common shifts and we are meant to learn from their existence and ease into the transitions.

From childhood to adulthood. From single to couple. From couple to family. These rightful passages were handled with care, compassion and love. I will not say they were easy, but they were beautiful and full of growth. I loved being present in each stage and truly mourned their passing, but in the same beat rejoiced in the coming of the new.

There is an unfamiliar paradigm on the horizon and maybe because I am in the midst of it right now it seems the hardest. My first child is about to embark on his own shift, going from childhood to adulthood. And parallel to his shift is my transition for which I have no name, but if I must, I will call it separation. It feels as if something that was part of me is being divided out. This piece, my son, will always be a part of me, it is just not of me any longer.

It is hard, as it feels like my alignment is off and I need to adjust. But as much as this is a change for me, it is an even bigger adjustment for him. He may not show it as openly as I, and his feelings may not surface the way that mine do, but he is shifting, and it is my job to witness his transformation. I need to rise and remember that I need to hold space for him and allow that to be, whatever form it takes. He is going into a world of which is his to interpret, perceive and enjoy. He will find his tribe, as did I, and will navigate this with trepidation mixed with confidence, as youth tend to do. I am so happy for him as he will soon learn that these transmutations are for his benefit and are there to make him stronger. His move to adulthood is on the horizon and I know he will adjust his sails accordingly to the ever-changing winds before him.

I am looking into the future with a smile (after many tears) and see the possibilities and beauty this metamorphosis holds. Good luck to you my son, this is your time to shine. And I am so very grateful for this opportunity to perfect life's shifts and unearth the gifts it holds for all of us.


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