From the intake of the breath and all that it holds–the experience of it–to the release of the breath as the moment unfolds is an exercise we practice all the days of our lives.
Graduation is neither success nor failure but a series of milestones, markers of where we were, indicators that we have gone on to what comes next. Sometimes, that is only the next breath. Other times, graduation is a moment of accomplishment, of adding another tool to the toolbox that we carry through life.
Life is its own school, with assignments unique to each one of us. Always, there are questions; always, there are options.
I get up every morning determined to both change the world
and have one hell of a good time.
Sometimes, this makes planning my day difficult.
Graduation does not guarantee changing the world or having a hell of a good time but it does get us from one point in life to the next. It is a reminder that breathing is always an option. For the rest, we have our ever-expanding toolbox.
Throughout our lives we make choices. It is indeed a milestone when we are thoughtful in our word, taking nothing and no one for granted, doing our best not to take things personally. This moment of graduation is available in every moment we live. Its lifelong tool is awareness.
Awareness helps us sort our options wisely, carefully, especially when our choice is one difficult path or another. Awareness reveals the hollowness in magical thinking for no decision made with heart ever rings hollow.
Many times, we approach crossroads that seem so familiar that we are sure we have been in this same spot before yet life does not afford us that luxury, not quite. We are not the same as we were, and neither are our options. Each moment in life is as unique as each breath. We graduate from one decision to the next.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(“The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost)
Graduation requires we immerse ourselves into life with our head below our heart so that we do not leave the difficult choices to someone else while we wither in weakness. Rather, we lead with our heart as we stand, perhaps alone, for what we know is right.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King
Our graduation from the womb to the outside world is the first of many, the beginning of miles of stone markers of the path traveled, the one that made all the difference.