Thursday is my fiftieth birthday. My husband is sending me off to the mountians for some pampering at my favorite spa, Tall Grass. At the end of the day, he is taking me to some secret place for a celebration. Turning 50 is about crossing a threshhold. On the otherside is using all the lessons of my youth more completely. I pondered how I will mark this event with a ritual or ceremony that goes beyond the traditional cake and candles. What would set the stage for me to step gracefully toward the wise old woman I am becoming?
I have been working with a partner in a new offering called, Creating Collaborative Partnerships. In the course of doing that work, I have watched how challenging it is for my clients to create trusting relationships where authenticity, transparency, and full permission is the rule rather than the exception. I still find it difficult, even with the communication tools and specialized training I've had. Bottom line is, it's easy to make a mess.
I am getting better at it, but I recently spoke with my partnering colleague about all the relationships that I messed up in the past. I didn't know how to clean up the messes I made back then, and it often resulted in broken relationships. In some cases, I made feeble attempts but with little success. In other cases, I waited for the other to reach out a hand toward me, and when that didn't happen my pride wouldn't allow me to make the first move. Often, it became easier to go our separate ways as the tension and lack of trust between us felt like a wall that was just too high to scale.
In the past several years, months, and days, I have thought of those relationships and wished it had been different. I have had regrets for the loss of special people in my life. It may be too late to repair the damage, but I can attempt to clear the brush away. This is the ritual in celebration of living fifty years, I will do my part to clean up any relationship messes I played a role in. I didn't have to look to hard this morning to decide on the first five.