Do you ever gaze at the nighttime sky and contemplate the vastness of the universe and time? If so, you've probably realized how fleeting our little (but important) life experiences are in the grand scheme of things. And just as weekends and vacations can provide much needed distance from our work-a-day dramas, so can a conscious act of stepping back from our lives help to provide valuable perspective and direction.
There's a fascinating book by hypnotherapist Robert Schwartz, called Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. This (as well as Schwartz's first book) contains case studies of clients with current-life challenges involving poverty, disability, adoption, violent crime, etc., and discusses how and why these life events are planned by the souls involved for the purpose of learning specific lessons, some of which are excruciatingly difficult. Dealing with these issues sets the stage for major life themes, and this occurs within the context of a multi-life journey of intense learning and growth. (Note: the earth experience is not for the faint-hearted!)
You may or may not believe in reincarnation or pre-birth planning (I know these concepts may seem foreign or even outrageous to some), but the idea that every human life has an overall theme that we can use as a handle for growth and personal progress is worth looking at.
What is the Theme of Your Life?
If you were to step back from your life and view it from the time you were born, through all the meaningful relationships, events, and emotional content, up until today, what words would you use to describe the major themes of your life? What have you struggled with repeatedly: loss, guilt, abandonment, failure, rage, low self-esteem, addiction, lack, depression? What about the positives: safety, abundance, love, health, humor, success, friendship, emotional balance, ease?
Now, take that list of words and pare it down even further. If your life were a novel or a play, what would the storyline be? You might even try scribbling a few sentences and see which one fits best, such as, "This is the story of a nervous little girl who, through repeated trials, grew up to become a strong and courageous woman." Or, "This is a story about a sickly boy who wanted more than anything to be an athlete, and how he came to be a teacher and model of health and fitness."
If your story doesn't have a successful-sounding ending, don't worry---it just means that it's not over yet! It never really is, because as long as we're souls on a journey, we're learning and growing. If you can identify a theme (there may be more than one) and see progress of any kind, you're doing fine. If you can't see a theme or detect progress, then you might benefit from talking to a wise friend, therapist, or life coach who can help you gain clarity and connect with your inner guidance.