At any given time many of us are pondering a deep question, something conscious and yet connected to a deep inner place we know not. These questions often call for contemplation and deep thought. You know the kind that rolls around in your head... Should I take a new job? retire? separate? move? What am I here to do? Decisions have implications and consequences which we may or may not be ready to face, if and when we actually decide. What appears as a recurring thought, too, may be a question needing our attention, calling us to discern if it is time to awaken and to act, one way or another. What to do, which path to choose, what to do next... these are things that need to be addressed for us to move forward in life. Otherwise, they can slowly sap our energy.
Thinking about this, last month I decided to dust off an exercise I learned many years ago from Gregg Levoy (author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life). In the training session, we were introduced to the practice of using "Clearness Committees" to help individuals discern their callings, to address the difficult questions of their lives. The practice originated with the Quakers and remains a long-held practice in their traditional communities. There is beauty in its amazing grace and simplicity: It simply calls upon a group of friends, a wise and caring council, to help an individual with a question to ponder, simply by asking questions. No Googling for answers. No LifeHacks. No Advice. No Expectations. Peers simply ask questions to help clear the space where the question resides so that the person can arrive at his or her own clarity regarding the situation.
Our session was a marvelous success, as reported by all who experienced it. A participant said, "I became clear about what I still need to accomplish in my current job and have a tentative timeline within which to do it. I am also feeling much more comfortable about our plan to move. I don’t fear the isolation any more. I am confident that wherever I go, I will find and build a community where I can find balance between introspection and interaction. I’m feeling the pull of moving toward something and less of struggle about moving away!" And added, "Now, that I’ve had a little more than a week to mull the experience over, I continue to find it a helpful touchpoint."
What if we all had the opportunity to find a little clearness, how much it would help lighten our load and help us get "unstuck" and to move forward? What if it were that easy, if taking the risk of introspection and honest vulnerability within a circle of peers is easy enough, to get unstuck?
We are currently inviting others to participate in this experience, which I am calling "Clarity Circles." Some have called this processes "radically simple" and equally radical in its effectiveness. Somehow, I think it's not radical... it is an old form of wisdom, born out of a sense of community and humanity. It understands, "The heart has its reasons of which reason cannot know." (Blaise Pascal)
Thoughts for creating success in the second half of life.