Hey Graduate! (Yes – It’s You!)

“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” ~ Eleanor Powell

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjungling/5640846/I love it when students put on shapeless gowns and strange “caps” to march down an aisle and receive a piece of paper that recognizes their time and effort put into studying, learning, and enduring some phase of their education. Yes—I’m talking about graduation time. When we attend graduation parties for graduates from high school and college, it makes me think about what “graduation” really means.

I think it is interesting that graduations are often called “commencement” exercises. Since “commence” means “to start,” the use of the word with regard to graduation is fascinating. We usually think of graduation as “ending” something, usually some stint in high school, college, or graduate school. But when we think about “commencement exercises,” it puts a new spin on the meaning of “graduation.”

If we choose to think of “commencement” instead of “graduation,” then things are just beginning for those who walk across the stage and receive their diploma. The world is open to them. They are just getting started. I love this idea, and I think I will try to send “commencement” cards rather than “graduation” cards in the future, though the recipients will probably think I am a little strange. Of course, if they are anything like the graduates I know, they won’t care what the card says as long as there is some money inside!

Like so many graduates who celebrate in the spring, we can think of ourselves on a constant journey and cycle of completion and beginning. But we are not like those graduates who have a date and time imposed by others for the “graduation ceremony.” Thankfully, we can choose at any moment to “complete” something in our life and “begin” something new.

By this, I don’t mean we capriciously bounce from moment to moment, scattered and unfocused and completely unsure of where we are going or why we are doing what we are doing. Sometimes those completions are very significant life events. We change jobs. A relationship ends. There are some events in life that are clear “endings.”

And there are clear “beginnings.” We start a new business. We add a child to our family. A new relationship blossoms. We move into a new home.

But there are also smaller “endings” and “beginnings” that we can choose to make every day. We stop a bad habit like smoking, procrastinating, or emotionally being too hard on ourselves. We start new things in our lives like consistently exercising, conscientiously spending more time with loved ones, or setting time aside each day for contemplation, reading, or quiet time each day.

We have the power in every moment to choose. We can hand ourselves a “diploma” any time we want to. And we can think about that as signifying an “ending” or a “beginning” in our lives.

So what phase in your life are you “completing?” What are you “graduating” from? Think about something in your life that has run its course and is ready to be finished and grant yourself permission to be done with it. Mentally hand yourself a diploma of completion and move on. Or better yet, make yourself a real diploma, complete with your name, the course that is over, and the date. It’s a great reminder that you are moving onward!

On the flip side, what are you “commencing?” What are you beginning anew in your life? Think about what choices you can make right now to move your life in a new direction. It’s totally up to you—you choose your direction and your actions. What will you begin?


TODAY: Become a graduate. Complete and release those activities and habits that no longer serve you or help you become the person you want to be living the life you want to live. Then “commence” something new, something that will move you closer to your ideal image of life. Today, and every day, can be a day of “beginnings.” Get going, graduate!



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