Saturday, January 22, 2011

Life's Pivots Points

Throughout life, there are moments when what is, is no longer. Based on a new awareness, life changes. I define these moments as pivot points. When a pivot points occur, the trajectory of your life pivots, and you change the direction of your life. Sometimes the pivot points are “big” and impact a lot of people, other times the pivot point is uniquely your own. Sometimes the change is positive, and other times the change may be negative.

We all experience pivot points. Here are some examples.

• Many individuals in the United States see 9/11 as a pivot point. It changed the trajectory of the country. And both sides argue whether or not the country’s response was positive or not.

• The moment in your personal experience where you decide to start or end a relationship. While the relationship process may take a while, there is often a moment when you know something has changed.

• Ever been so angry with someone, that you hold a huge resentment? After you gather your courage to talk to the person, you find the individual doesn’t remember the incident. This is an example of a pivot point in YOUR life.

• Ever have someone apologize to you for something that you don’t remember? That incident was a pivot point to THEM.

• Sometimes pivot points are about self-awareness. For example recognizing how you engage in disrespectful behaviors toward yourself or others. Or, coming to awareness that you are attracted to someone of the same sex.

• Other pivot points are spiritual. In the 12-step tradition, step 1 reflects the moment when an addict surrenders to the powerlessness of the addiction/compulsivity. Being reborn within a religious tradition is another example.

• Any experience of transference (discussed in a previous blog entry).

The key for self-growth is to increase your awareness of the large and small pivot points. Too often we simply focus on “big” pivot points. But many pivots occur on a daily basis; consider them the small daily self-corrections in your life like the continual corrections when you drive a car. By sitting back and reviewing the pivot points, you have an opportunity to examine the underlying issue leading to awareness and transformation.

To this day, one of my favorite scripture passages from my seminary studies is 1 Kings 19:11-13

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there.

I see the small pivot points in my daily life as the whisper of God. My response to the pivot points demonstrates what is key in my life.

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