We all face decisions every day, but some loom larger than others. How do we navigate the process?
We begin with making a choice to use ego or heart as the spark for thought and the filter through which we deliberate in our minds. Sort of. Ego is the default choice. The heart needs to be sought. Really big decisions indicate that choices need to be made that will initiate a liminal journey. When faced with big life decisions, ego will almost always choose comfort zones and the status quo, which equate to stagnation.
A liminal journey produces change and leads us forward into growth. Now, a liminal journey can be heart or ego driven, but it always brings about new vistas. If the heart has been the spark, filter, and advisor, then positive, fulfilling, significant growth will occur. If ego even urges the journey — which it often won’t — the change will most likely create confusion and a gnawing, empty drive to find something else to move on to — no fulfillment.
Whether ego or heart informs the change, liminality brings us to a threshold, one on which we stand and decide to move across into new experience or to retreat into the same old same old. Moving forward means that there will be a time, sometimes a considerable time, before the transformation into a new level is known, an aggregation of the whole person into a new framework of life. This process simply describes progression of life growth; it is not a prescription for how to live.
However, change threatens the powers that be, and in the minds of those who have willingly shut out the voice of their hearts, change will usually present a threat — unless they have originated it, manufactured it. Such is the case in my novel The Fellowship of the Heart as traced in the lives of a number of characters.
Two in particular, Kathryn Frank and Edward Sampson, are engineers at Paragon Structural Engineers where Paul Egan, Stan Boyle, and Anne Lafarnge work. (I hope if you read this that you are becoming acquainted with these people). Kathryn and Edward are both on the verge of turning 30, and they are faced with embarking on a liminal adventure of their own. Anne Lafarnge has begun her own journey of hearing the voice of her heart and reinvesting herself in her job and new position as senior associate. Will they accept the offer from Anne to work as part of the team on the Riverview Canyon Bridge project?
Edward: What do you think, Kathy? Does Anne seem like someone we would want to work closely with for a year or more?
Kathryn: I’m not 100% sure. Didn’t she choose not to use us on the Convention Center? Why did Paragon even hire us? We have been in this together for the last six years. We were hired the same day, and neither of us has done more than just basic grunt work. What do you think, Edward? Do you think that anyone here really cares about developing and encouraging young engineers? Do we have to get pushy like Stan Boyle? Do we have to make a splash, make waves, make people notice us?
Edward: Whoa, Kathy! I love your questions, and they always make me smile. I hope you’re okay with that because your sincerity just lights up my day. And short answer to your questions is I think that people here like Paul Egan and Stan Boyle don’t even know who we are, really.
Kathryn: Then should we leave or just take whatever they offer us? I mean, do we really have a choice? If we are offered something like this and we don’t take it, are we considered dime a dozen engineers who can be easily replaced with new graduates?
Edward: You know, Kathy, that might be true, but the fact is that we have been offered to be work as team members on a significant project. And don’t forget that Ms. Lafarnge called us in specifically, reviewed our history, and then — after she thought about it for a few days and talked to a number of others — chose us.
Kathryn: But does that mean we will be able to move on to our own projects to manage?
Edward: I’m not sure, but I do think that Ms. Lafarnge is making such a future possible. After all, she is the first woman ever in this firm or this region to be named as a senior associate engineer. Don’t you think that is significant?
Kathryn: Yes, it is, and Anne did take a personal, pointed interest in our work history. Did she ask you anything about your passion or life purpose or anything like that?
Edward: Yeah, she did. I got the feeling that it really matters to her if we want to be here, if we care about engineering.
Kathryn: I think she does. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air. Quite honestly, I was ready to leave. I don’t want to end up like Stan Boyle. Tell me, Edward. Do you feel like this is your purpose in life?
Edward: You know, Kathy, I am not totally sure, but there’s just something telling me that I need to be here right now and that Ms. Lafarnge is sincere. I’m taking the offer.
Kathryn: I feel like Anne, personally, is my reason to stay, and based on her spirit I’m going to take the offer, too. I think that we will learn a lot working for someone so motivated. I’m ready to move forward.
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!