Venturing forth into the great unknown; it is so very overwhelming. I have a 90-year-old friend who is in the process of moving to her (likely) last physical location, a retirement facility. While she has moved many times throughout her life, often not of her own choosing, she has become skillful at it nonetheless. Still, this time is different for her intuition tells her it will be her last before the ultimate address change to the great beyond, the most massive unknown of all.

In a minor way I can relate to her trepidation as I get ready to collect social security, another milestone surely but likely not my last. While my ‘retirement’ poses a different kind of overwhelming quality, it cannot compare to my friend’s, although I will also be moving to downsize expenses. Yet, through my own confrontation of a shrinking time frame, surrendering to the inevitable earthly departure requires a different kind of living until the actual event occurs.

Taking stock and reviewing a life is not for the faint of heart. Naturally some of us cannot help but examine ourselves when confronting such pivot points. I hear in my friend’s voice her own examination although she rarely relates much detail. Mostly, she shares the fact that she is undergoing a process that is difficult. It requires courage and honesty, surely. There is an unmistakable whiff of both pain and even pleasure as she negotiates it all. Yet remarkably, there emanates a kind of gratitude and respect from her for the privilege of living through it all, regardless of sorrow and reget.

This entire examination process feels essential to any forward spiritual evolution of my own as well. And while I don’t know exactly how she views the process for herself, I sense her necessity in doing so just the same. It is inexplicable how the soul, a larger Self takes over at some point, almost demanding it be done, even if not continuous. While I have the freedom to say no to that Self, some quality deep down where I really live, cannot. After all, I have to take the long view of infinity and me in it, regardless of location, for I know beyond any reasonable doubt I am accountable for my choices.

Surrendering to this accountability is both painful and relieving. For example, I haven’t always been kind. I haven’t always been courageous. And I certainly haven’t always been generous or selfless. I haven’t even always been honest! The details of these broader acknowledgements have been acted out in daily living with family, friends, co-workers, even strangers. While I’m hardly alone in my transgressions, I’m still no less responsible for not just acknowledging them but ultimately transcending them in an effort to be free.

So I watch as my friend moves slowly through her ‘last change’ silently but communicating just the same, all the while feeling the parallel energy of my own. Even if our presumed timelines are different, traversing the spiritually examined landscape is recognizable and familiar. So much of the process between the two of us is unspoken yet felt; a quiet transmission that passes the baton from one to the other, a delicate yet sturdy sharing in some inexplicable way.

And I am grateful beyond measure.