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Mindful : October 2014
soar, letting go of the old and unworkable is the only way to keep from sinking. It ma kes space for something new. Though you may be slough- ing off the old, at some point you realize you’ve hit bottom. Choices become very simple. No matter how much you want, you cannot return to the familiar old world. If you choose not to founder on the rocks, the only way is forward. The growth aspect of this middle period is inten- tional exploration. So the task here is to balance letting go with the sea rch for something new: new relationships, new places, new ways of thinking, seeing, and living. Like trying on new clothes, looking in the mirror and asking “Can I pull this off?” This process can feel wasteful a nd indulgent. There ca n be ma ny false starts further compounding the sense of hopelessness. This is only part of the monster’s bag of tricks. Perse- verance is essential. Put one foot in front of the other. Do the next thing, even if you’re unsure what the next thing after that is. Enlist the sup- port of others—we don’t walk the path alone and rarely is the path straightforward. It’s a journey of discovery. An architect at mid-career feels his game is up. He’s tired of clients asking him to churn out va riations of his “g reatest hits.” So he takes a pilgrim- age to the offices of avant- garde architects. Through his conversations he glimpses possibilites. He realizes he must let go of his old habit of focusing only on himself and advancing his vision. He embraces collaboration and dialogue with the communi- ties he builds for—a n orches- tra conductor instead of a visionar y auteur. From these interactions come dramatic desig ns unlike a nything he’s ever done. He revitalizes himself and his work. CONTEMPLATION How do you handle sensations of discomfort in transitions? What happens when you lessen your resistance and increase acceptance to not knowing? Try new things, go to new places, meet new people, learn new skills as if you’re trying on new clothes, asking, “does this feel right?” Create a system of suppor t. → in practice insight October 2014 mindful 75