Do you ever wonder about what you were like at six years old? Or two? Or get curious about what your parents were like at that age, and how the things that happened to them back then informed the way they parented you?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we become who we are, about what events and people steered our destiny in one direction versus another. As I look back at the stories and moments that brought me here today, I’m noticing that many of my memories fall into one of two categories.
One category I’m calling Unplanned Magic. These are the experiences that I didn’t plan or schedule, but they happened anyway (thankfully!), and I know they’re part of the fabric of who I am today.
In this Unplanned Magic category, I think about meeting my BFF Gina at the age of 12. She was a wise soul with a natural gift for counseling. Her friendship sheltered me through my teenage years and beyond. Then there was Maria Stroup, the older woman whose spiritual guidance grounded me in community, friendship and service during those delicate adolescent years. The book I read in college that will always have meaning and dozens of underlined passages. The road trip out west when I was 22 years old that I still think about all of the time.
Aside from the road trip, very little of these Unplanned Magic moments were intentionally created. Life guided me to the right people, or brought those people to me. Books fell off shelves. Emails of encouragement and love from strangers I met on the internet arrived at the perfect moment. All that magic rolled in and helped to shape me, without me needing to give much effort at all.
And then there’s the other category. I call this one Courageous Creation. This category is about the moments of becoming that I consciously stepped into. It’s the kind of magic that didn’t fall so neatly into my lap. I worked hard for it. I dug deep into that sacred well.
It was facing things from my past that made my heart and head ache. It was exploring old relationships and ways of being and asking myself if those were really the most nourishing and honest choices for me. It was hard conversations with the ones I love. It was stepping into seasons of loss and confusion with a determined heart.
So much of our unfolding winds its way to us with ease and grace. I am grateful for those unscheduled arrivals of beauty and joy. But it’s also true that a big portion of our growth arrives in the form of an invitation. An invitation to courageously explore ourselves – our light and our dark. It’s an invitation to no longer delay our potential, or to overlook the opportunities for gratitude and vulnerability.
In this time of reflection, I’m celebrating the Unplanned Magic, and I’m also honoring myself for the times of Courageous Creation. It has all woven together to create the tapestry of who I am today, and who I’m becoming.
I hope that your life would be filled with magic and courage, with ease and strength. And I hope for your becoming. Every day.