“In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in the dark wood where the true way was wholly lost.”
— Dante, The Inferno
We often don’t know which chapter or season of life we’re living in while we’re living in it. And yet we give it a name, or a title – perhaps silently – all the same.
Every name disposes us to particular kinds of judgements, and particular kinds of action.
And so much of our difficulty, and our suffering, comes from mis-naming.
We imagine that this chapter is called ‘failure (meant to have made it by now)’ when it would be more accurate, more compassionate, and more possibility-filled to name it ‘still learning’.
We call this chapter ‘stuck’ when it would be more accurate to name it ‘seeds germinating, deep under ground’.
Or we name this chapter ‘lost my way’ when it would be more accurate to call it ‘first steps on a new path’.
Often we can only accurately name a chapter after it is done.
But perhaps we would give ourselves much greater capacity to live, and to flourish, if we took up the practice of reimagining, and renaming, as we go.
With thanks to Jamie, who gave me the idea for this in a recent conversation.