Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Mother Teresa
Years ago, my husband, son, and I visited our dear family friends —and native Irish speakers — who live in a fishing village outside of Dublin, Ireland. We took lazy cliff walks and farmer’s market trips together; we fed the seals in the harbor; we ate fresh mackerel, sea bass, and Irish soda bread with Irish butter every night; and we enjoyed conversations with some of the warmest, most soulful people I have ever encountered. Like many Americans who have traveled in and romanticized Europe, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much simpler life seemed there. Yes, sadly, Ireland is becoming “Americanized,” but still, the people seem more connected —taking time to enjoy one another in simple day-to-day interactions and treading more lightly on the earth. There seemed to be a strong sense of vitality and vigor in people of all ages, who walked and rode bikes everywhere.
It was a memorable trip. But, the thing that stayed with me long after it ended, was how engaged the elderly were and how they were treated and revered for their wisdom. The Irish seem to give special love and care to the very old. The older generation was integral to and active in their communities, and they modeled how I’d like to BE when I’m 80: loving, present, generous and grateful.
Our trip made me realize how quickly time passes. It reminded me that I am making the choices right now for how I want to BE and LIVE in the next forty years. Living an awakened life calls us to go against the grain, — to step off the “go, go go, do, do, do” tracks — challenge the ideals of our culture and create a life that nourishes us from the inside out, regardless of the opinions of others.
I’ve been swimming in a sea of exploration for the past few years around this stage we unglamorously refer to as “middle age.” To support me on my personal journey, I’m facilitating groups and retreats around Embracing the Wild Unknown, devouring books on how to soulfully navigate the “fertile void,” (thanks Katrina Kenison, Richard Rohr, Carol Orsborn, Marianne Williamson and all the wonderful mindfulness teachers who write on this topic) and becoming increasingly curious about this fascinating and pivotal life stage. I have unearthed more questions than answers, but the truth that sits as solid as a 200 pound anchor in my being as I explore this theme is: I care much more about who I want to be than what I want to do– in the decades to come.
My challenge to you this month as we gingerly step into 2018 is how do you want to BE in the New Year? My word for 2018 is Kindness. (I’ll be writing and sharing more about this later this month).
As you sit with this question, I encourage you to take baby steps, keep inviting in self-compassion and as my Irish friends say in Gaelic: Tsg go bog I (pronounced toogguh bug ay), or “Be gentle with yourself.”
P.S. I’d love to hear “who you want to BE in 2018” in the comments section below.
Would you like support for naming & claiming how you want to BE in 2018? Join me and like-minded women on Jan. 26-28 for A New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires or April 20-22 for Embracing the Wild Unknown at the beautiful new www.1440.org in CA. Curious about what happens on my women’s self-renewal retreats? This short video gives you a taste. I absolutely love to support women in connecting to their soul’s wisdom and envisioning “What’s next.”
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/speaker/author Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find their center through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum. She is the author of three books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 15 year-old son. More on her background here.