“Are you okay, Tom?” my friend, Sara asked.
“No,” I replied. “It’s over. I’m grieving.”
Are you enduring something tough today? Has some door shut in your life?
I’m writing about this as I’m reflecting on an important door that has shut today in my life. A couple of hours ago, I finished the final grades for the last class of Comparative Religion on the college level that I will ever teach. That’s 14 years, and I served as an instructor for over 1,700 students on this topic. I wrote the online course version, too. So from today forward, I’m not a Comparative Religion instructor.
So what do we do as life pushes us forward and a door closes?
Some ideas arose in my thoughts.
3 E’s of Living with Joy and Energy!
- Embrace “I don’t know”
- Enter a New Chapter (let go)
Fourteen years ago, I walked into the office of the director of the department (of the university where I teach). I said, “Did you know that Yoda speaks in Zen Buddhist phrases? I’d like to apply to teach Comparative Religion.” That was the beginning of my journey of teaching so many students. This was a big experiment for me. I put my heart into teaching the students. In reading reviews, I’ve seen that students have enjoyed that I set a safe place to talk about different spiritual paths. I set the stage for understanding, compassion and tolerance in my classes—both in person and online.
- Embrace ‘I don’t know”
How do I celebrate a good run of 14 years and how do I flow with my feelings that are a mix of grief and even gratitude for the opportunity? I don’t know.
And “I don’t know” can be a good place to start. On the other hand, I’ve met some rigid, judgmental people who claim to have all the answers (including a couple of elderly relatives). I’m glad I’m not one of them. For one thing, when we say, “I don’t know” a whole world of possibilities opens up.
Now it’s your turn. Let’s begin with “I don’t know.” The next step is to ask, “How can I try something new?”
So what will you try that’s new for you?
- Enter a New Chapter
Have you met some miserable people who try to cling to something from the past? Maybe it’s winning an athletic event or something else. The solution resides in entering a new chapter of life.
Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “The past is the wake behind the boat. It does not drive the boat.” Recently, I asked one of my clients, “What’s the engine of the boat?” He said, “My heart.”
“Yes!” I replied. “So the idea is to connect with your heart in the present moment. The present moment is where the bow of the boat hits the water. Avoid living in the fears of the future–that’s the ocean far ahead of the boat. Focus on being fully alive in this Present Moment,” I emphasized. The next morning, my client emailed me with the message: “I feel like a big weight has lifted from my shoulders. I’m focusing on this Present Moment.”
I continue to be fortunate in that I’m doing a number of things (writing books, giving speeches including one at Linkedin Corporation, serving as an Executive Coach and the Spoken Word Strategist). I’m leading a team for my series of graphic novels titled Jack AngelSword. I’m even writing a Young Adult novel. So as a portion of my identity (related to teaching Comparative Religion) slips away, I’m still fully engaged with serving lots of people.
Now it’s your turn. Will you acknowledge that you’re enduring some form of loss? Will you, at the same time, celebrate whatever was good in that previous chapter of your life?
Finally, will you embrace the new chapter of life that has just risen?*
* See my new book Year of Awesome! How You Can Use 12 Success Principles including 10 Seconds to Wealth (CLICK HERE to look inside the book)
CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)