This is an updated version of this original blog post.
Straight to the next.
These days, it seems we’re often eager for the next thing.
The next promotion.
The next event.
The next vacation.
The next big project.
The next world leader.
I learned this powerful framework from Gail Larsen called the JourneyWell Wheel of Life.
Our life (and work) go in cycles.
This JourneyWell Wheel suggests there’s a cycle we go through that often starts with;
Innovate & Create (dream, vision, set goals, begin program)
Peak or Plateau (make progress, decline and deny, get triggered)
Complete or Abandon (interrupt or end, let go and grieve, withdraw)
Reflect and Integrate (self-renewal, seek support, experiment)
And then you repeat the cycle again from “Innovate and Create” on and on…..and on and on….]
As a nation, in the United States we just completed a very emotional election process. Collectively, we’re in the “Complete or Abandon” phase of the wheel and are moving into the “Reflect and Integrate” phase. This is a time to get still, go within and ask; “What did I learn? What do I need for self-renewal? Hmmm, who do I want to be now?“
On a personal level, I’ve also been ending a phase of grieving and completing, and moving into a phase of withdrawing, self-renewal and seeking support.
For me, “Reflect and Integrate” is the hardest place on the wheel to be. It’s so tempting to jump straight to the next thing without pausing.
We don’t live in a world that honors the importance of taking time to withdraw and integrate.
When we complete something, whether it’s a marriage, an election or a big project at work, our society doesn’t encourage us to pause and take the space we need to let go and grieve, to withdraw, integrate and practice self-renewal before we move on to the next thing.
One of the reasons I find it hard to deepen into withdrawing, self-renewal and seeking support is because none of these things are tangible or can be measured.
And we live in a world where everyone wants to know; “what did you do today?”
It’s not easy to feel like you’ve had a productive day when you’re practicing withdrawing and self-renewal. When you’re grieving or passing time in self-reflection.
You have nothing to show for your time.
It takes incredible courage to honor the importance of these phases of the wheel, because you may initially have less “to show for it” to the outside world.
And yet, it is in honoring these quiet periods that you will restore and renew yourself for the next chapter. The new life that wants to grow and expand in your next cycle. In our next collective cycle as a nation and an interconnected world.
I still remember when I had a miscarriage at about nine weeks pregnant when we were trying to have a second child. I was so sad for days. I couldn’t imagine working.
Occasionally, I craved work as a distraction. But mostly, I just wanted to grieve.
At the time, I remember thinking how many of my girlfriends had suffered from miscarriages, or other losses. And how uncommon it was for anyone to take even one day off work to grieve or withdraw after such an experience.
I have the fortune of running my own business; I control my own schedule, and I still struggled to give myself time and space to grieve and practice self-renewal before moving on from that loss.
I used to think “grief” only happens with major tragedy or death. But recently, I’ve been noticing there’s always a little grief when something ends. Even if it’s a project at work, or a vacation you didn’t get to take, it’s important to spend a little time grieving and honoring things that have come to an end (or never got started).
Reflect on your experience before jumping to the next thing.
So today I’m asking you; how can you honor the importance of grief, withdrawal, self-renewal and seeking support?
If you’ve been on an emotional roller coaster with the election in the U.S., another lockdown in Europe or COVID, where are you on the JourneyWell Wheel these days? What do you need to grieve before moving on?
In what way do you need more self-renewal or time to pause and reflect before beginning the next thing?
I made a new commitment to myself (which you’re welcome to borrow!):
I Commit to honoring and appreciating all the cycles of my business and life.
I give myself permission to grieve, reflect, renew, integrate and seek support before moving on to the next thing.
May you reclaim the time and space you need to grieve, reflect and integrate. May you receive plenty of high quality support for all your needs, dreams and desires,