Making Space for Our Selves

And for me, it feels very purposeful. I think what’s funny is that I used to marvel for a long time why my best ideas — and by ideas, I don’t mean the ideas about what to write or all of that, but just insights on the truths of my experience, of the human experience, whatever. Those ideas, the best of them came to me at the gym or on my bike or in the shower.

I used to have these elaborate theories that maybe there was something about the movement of the body and the water that magically sparked a deeper consciousness. But I’ve really come to realize the obvious thing, which is that these are simply the most unburdened spaces in my life, the moments in which I have the greatest uninterrupted intimacy with my own mind, with my own experience. There’s nothing magical, at least not in the mystical sense, about that. It’s just a kind of ordinary magic that’s available to each of us just by default, if only we made that deliberate choice to make room for it and to invite it in.

Maria Popova
Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age

Conversing with Ourselves Through Time

And marginalia or this sort of — it goes back and forth because it is the present mind conversing with a past mind. It’s a different kind of hypertext.

It’s so strange how we’re able to carry forward this mystery of personal identity even when our present selves are so different from our future selves and from our past selves most of all. I think a lot about this question of, what is a person? Am I the same person as my childhood self? Sure, we share the same body, but even that body is so different. It’s unrecognizably different. Our lives are so different. Our ideas and ideals are so different. And to me, this question of what it means to be human is always a question of elasticity of being. It’s never an arrival point, you know?

Maria Popova
Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age

Living Through Stages of Grief

We never see the world exactly as it is. We see it as we hope it will be or we fear it might be. And we spend our lives going through modified stages of grief about that realization. We deny it, and then we argue with it, and we despair over it. But eventually — and this is my belief — that we come to see it, not as despairing, but as vitalizing. We never see the world exactly as it is because we are how the world is.

Maria Popova
Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age

Spaces Opening Up Inside

Why would I want that? The pain, their loss… it’s all I have left of them. You think the grief will make you smaller inside, like your heart will collapse in on itself, but it doesn’t. I feel spaces opening up inside of me, like a building with rooms I’ve never explored.

Dolores Abernathy
Westworld

Embracing Disintegration, Emptiness, & Chaos

Most of today’s leaders have been taught to measure themselves by their ability to keep things from falling apart and to fix them when they do. What courage it takes for the leader to endorse disintegration (those “plagues” that accompany the ending) and to embrace the emptiness and chaos that the neutral zone brings! But the wise leader knows that falling apart during a transition is essential. The same disintegration that is dangerous and frightening produces the new energy, identity, and purpose that the organization needs for the next chapter of its life.

William Bridges
Getting Them Through The Wilderness

The Wilderness Between

Since today’s wilderness is not a literal one, but a landscape of the heart and mind, our society has not paid much attention to it.

He could not only break the bondage of the past and convey the vision of a future, but also get the people through the wilderness that always comes between where we are and where we want to be.

William Bridges
Getting Them Through The Wilderness

Rebuilding Authentic Meaning & Identity

Rebuilding can be an incredibly challenging process. The work of growth requires detaching from and releasing deep-seated goals, identities, and assumptions, while also building up new goals, schemas, and meanings. It can be grueling, excruciating, and exhausting. But it can open the door to a new life. The trauma survivor begins to see herself as a thriver and revises her self-definition to accommodate her new strength and wisdom. She may reconstruct herself in a way that feels more authentic and true to her inner self and to her own unique path in life.

Carolyn Gregoire
The Surprising Benefit Of Going Through Hard Times

Rebuilding Ourselves & Our World

By Tedeschi and Calhoun’s account, the way that trauma shatters our worldviews, beliefs, and identities is like an earthquake—even our most foundational structures of thought and belief crumble to pieces from the magnitude of the impact. We are shaken, almost literally, from our ordinary perception, and left to rebuild ourselves and our worlds. The more we are shaken, the more we must let go of our former selves and assumptions, and begin again from the ground up.

Carolyn Gregoire
The Surprising Benefit Of Going Through Hard Times