What is a Multidimensional Life? It’s one in which we tend to what is truly important to us at every point of our lives. It is life planning. Sure, we know things may change but we also learn that we will flow with it. A MD life is mindfully choosing how we spend the precious commodity that is our time. It is a creative process that is non-linear, sometimes unclear and always a rich adventure. It is especially potent when we are preparing for the second half of life.
Once upon a time, my life was one dimensional. It was a life out of balance. It was work and more work even when the stage of business or the job itself didn’t warrant the effort I expended. Work is hard, suffering is good. You finish your work before you go out to play. These were messages I had internalized from very young. It was a harsh regimen I set for myself.
For me, life was also an all or none proposition. If I didn’t have huge chunks of time to devote to <blank> then it had to wait. Wait for the right time, when the stars are aligned, nothing is on the calendar, work agenda is clear, the house is clean, the to-do list is all checked off…then I can do <blank>.
Now, there’s also procrastination here, which has its toes in fear. After all, taking the risks that change and boldness ask of us is scary. I would say I wanted to do art or write or garden or take a walk with a neighbor that could evolve into a friendship or make the call to an elderly neighbor to see how she’s recovering from a broken hip. But there were tasks to complete, work to be done and it was safer to stay in my world of work.
In the process I lost something of my old self. The self that danced and played. While I may have thought that I needed to work and strive as best I could, the truth was that it was slowly killing me. Oh, not in a physical way. At least, not yet. But I was drained. I was the pond that was overfished, the field that was parched, the flower without the bumblebee.
One dimension, one string to pluck, no beauty to be made. Until, as Anais Nin said so well, “the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Psychic pain is quite different from physical pain. It’s so much easier to ignore. I would stuff it down and, just like those funny, squishy stress balls, it would pop out elsewhere.
It would show up as: weight gain, crankiness, fatigue, boredom, resentment. Maybe it was more like whack-a-mole. I was so busy dealing with the symptoms, I neglected the cause.
In the end there was no epiphany; no overnight transformation. It was simply a growing misery that erupted in a desire to throw away my career, move and change my whole life. Sounds like a witness protection program for stifled creatives. Still dealing with symptoms, though, not the cause.
But this dark night of my soul set me on a quest. It forced me to step back, find and listen to my inner voice and determine out what was best for me. What was best for me, not for what I thought others expected of me. That was big for me and it took me quite a while to figure it all out.
I slowly learned the value of Pausing. Pausing to discern what, for me could be a richly layered life. In doing so I found balance among the things that feed and nurture me, delight and stimulate me, educate me, create beauty in my world. And, yes, I learned how to still work while being in the world with others, developing friendships and connections. Because these are the things that are most important to me.
In other words, I learned how to create my Multidimensional Life.
Most days, my MD life has balance and flow. It asks and answers the question of what wants to be done in my day, my work, my year, my third age, my life. And it knows to leave space for those things that need to be done. Notice the lack of the word “should”.
This Multidimensional Life will look different for each of us. There is no template. It is not one size fits all.
If you know in your deepest self that there is more to you and your life than what you’ve experienced so far, it is worth the journey. If you’d like to pare down to your essence in order to build back up using the best of your life experiences and values, it is worth the work.
The work involved in fashioning this life is an act of creativity.
It is the ultimate work of art: Your Life.