Excerpt from The Bridge: A Seven-Stage Map to Redefine Your Life and Purpose by Dr. Marilyn Powers and Steve Viglione
Bridging the Gap Between Past & Future
To move forward you must build a bridge between your past and future.
In this stage, we cover A Major Life Review, Embracing Your Shadow, Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You, and Taking the Best from the Past.
The View From Here
As you enter Stage Four, you feel as if you have finished an enormous work. It’s as if you have climbed a great mountain. Some of you may have even reached the top, the summit. As you stand back and review all that you have achieved, you feel proud of your efforts and your accomplishments—you have met the challenges.
Stage 4: Bridging the Gap Between Past & Future
At this moment, as you stand on top of the mountain and review your life, you are aware that you traveled through infancy, early childhood, pre-school, grade school, puberty, adolescence and high school. The late teens and early 20’s are defined by issues of occupational choices and additional schooling whereas; developmental milestones of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s may involve dating, marriage, children, education, career, and financial security. You’ve established your roles as son or daughter, brother or sister, acquaintance, friend, lover, student, worker, entrepreneur, husband, wife, significant other and parent.]
During these years, many of you defined yourself through the predetermined structure that society or your parents built. Now you are experiencing a state of ambivalence where everything appears to be gray and nothing is just black or white—everything is both/and. You feel you can’t use the same curriculum for the future because the present is too full of change and feels off center.
In Stage Four, you find you have to work both the past and present because so much is changing in your life. You need to recapitulate the past before projecting into the future. You conclude that you can’t use previous models for the rest of your life, which is one of the predicaments of Stage Four. The time has come to identify the jewels/wisdom of the past so that you know what to carry forward. It is here that you are confronted with parts of the first curriculum that you didn’t complete satisfactorily. You realize that, before you can move forward and make the connection to your soul and inner guidance system, you must first complete the work of the first curriculum. Now, in Stage Four, you are confronted both by an ending and a beginning.
Bob had always done what he was told and was successful doing so. He went to the prep school his parents selected; he went to college where all the men in his family had attended; and he went to the same medical school—all the while assured of success, money and prestige. Now, in his mid-30s, when out of medical school and working a couple years, he felt a lack of enthusiasm about performing surgeries every day. He knew his heart was not in it. He began questioning why he had chosen medicine. At age 20, there was never a doubt in his mind. Now, looking back, he wondered if it was really what he wanted or was it nothing more than an expectation. As the feeling of resistance grew, he stepped out of character and spontaneously signed up for an African safari.
For two weeks he was totally disconnected from his family, work, peers and daily routine. When Bob returned, he began questioning his entire life. He had never questioned who he married, how many children he should have or even if he should have children, where he should live, what profession he should pursue, or how much income he should earn. This had all been planned for him—long before he had taken his first breath. His entire life, Bob had conscientiously followed a script without resistance. When he was younger it seemed logical, the right thing to do. By all outward standards, he was a success.
Now, he was feeling a void in the pit of his stomach, a gnawing feeling that wouldn’t go away—as if something was missing. He was no longer certain that he was doing what he genuinely wanted to do or if he was simply living out his family’s dream of success. To explore his feelings and question every aspect of his life, he joined a group where he received support to further ask life-changing questions.
For more on this chapter, please see The Bridge: A Seven-Stage Map to Redefine Your Life and Purpose