We Need This Darkness

You know this feeling you have right now?

The feeling you feel you shouldn’t be rearing its ugly head because you’re a generally positive, loving person who strives to see the silver lining in every situation?

A person who:

– does their work, both inside and out

– tries their darndest to follow their heart and believe in more than what we can see, touch, taste, smell and hear

– puts themselves out there and takes risks for the sake of a more meaningful life

– takes care of themselves as best as they can with the time allotted amidst the demands of work, life, family, friendships, partnerships, and ‘extra-curriculars’

– is as kind as possible, as giving as possible, as grateful as possible…

What I’m trying to say is, you feel like you’re a good soul who adds value to the world and is doing everything they can to have a more meaningful, whole-hearted, love-and-joy-filled, abundant life.

BUT. (Yes, here’s the BUT.)

This week, it feels different.

It feels…hard. Deflating. It feels like everything you do is going nowhere, like you’re running up hill and just getting exhausted.

Like you have nothing to show for every ounce of positive energy and gratitude you feel you invest into every single day, for every net you cast out into the world…

As though you try your best to paint the day with rainbows and see everything through rose-coloured glasses, but this week, you’ve lost sight of the pot of gold, the view is a bit grey, and all you’re doing is getting soaked from the torrential downpour over your head.

You might be saying to yourself, ‘I know that everything really is all good… but why do I feel so damn scared/low/doubtful/confused? What on earth am I doing wrong?’

I FEEL YOU.  And I wish I knew the answer to instantly make you feel exactly how you want to feel — happier, full, with far less doubt and totally lacking in any kind of sticky-feeling fear. Maybe swimming in the murkiness that is arising is our task at hand, without willing it away, running from it, or wanting it to be different than what it is.

Maybe this feeling — this weird, icky, scary feeling RIGHT NOW — is the gateway to a new chapter in our life. Perhaps we need to know that it’s possible to be fully present in where we are, and see the horizon at the same time.

And in terms of doing anything wrong or right… I’m going to bet dollars to donuts you’re doing what you can. If you’re committed to a more meaningful existence, the steps you are taking to create that for yourself is part of your process. You’ve assembled a real tool-belt for yourself and you’re getting more adept at whipping out the tool you need in the time you need it. Or maybe you’re realizing that you need more tools, and the thought of how you’ll acquire them is daunting.

It’s all part of your journey of living fully in your humanity.  You WANT to make a change. You WANT to be BETTER.

But guess what?

That would translate as putting in an order for Transformation, and with change comes its own brand of unravelling. When you commit to transformation, the veils start to fall. As things start to shift, there it comes: the grand-scale revealing of every single fear you’ve ever had, trying without fail to convince you that you’re making the wrong choices, that maybe you were wrong in taking those risks, and maybe that pep talk you gave yourself about being able to handle everything that comes with the change was just a load of bull…and yes, when you said you were open to EVERYTHING what you actually meant was everything that is GOOD, EASY and PLEASANT.

So why the panic? Why the fear? Why the doubt?

The answer to your questions and how you feel lie completely within your own heart, but I am willing to share my heart with you in the hopes that we can all see that we are not alone.

The truth is, friends, that we need this darkness.

We need the doubt.

We need the fear.

If we didn’t have any of these things, we would never change, and we would never experience the moments of clarity and lightness in our life that we wish made up 99.9% of our existence. We would remain complacent, stale, stuck, and resign ourselves to the fact that we can absolutely be ‘happy’ with the status quo, even if it leaves something to be desired, even if it doesn’t fulfill what we think we are meant to contribute to this planet.

Every day, lately, has provided a lesson that vulnerability, paired with taking the courageous steps necessary to change your life, makes for one massive catch-up in the feelings department. Brene Brown calls it a ‘vulnerability hangover’ and it couldn’t be more aptly named.

I recently gave notice at my job — a decision I have been agonizing over for some time that is neither rooted in rational thought or financial responsibility; a decision that took herculean strength to formally acknowledge the need for change in, and to finally articulate those words, “I feel like I’m coming to a crossroads.” Over the last few months, I have been committed to strengthening myself both inside and out, and with that work has come a lot of change, and a healthy dose of backlash to make me doubt the emergence of a ‘better’ and more empowered version of Me. I’ve been working with beliefs that have kept me safe (and sometimes stuck) for most of my adult life to date, and am now seeing with true clarity how they are no longer serving my growth and development. I am also seeing how I have chosen to keep these beliefs alive, and how I can, in equal measure, choose to build a more positive belief system that benefits me.

What happens when you begin to stretch beyond your perceived limitations of yourself is that it’s harder to put up with your own BS. It becomes tiring to listen to your own excuses, your old ‘tapes.’ I would hear myself tell the same old story of how I feel doing this particular work, and how I have all these things I love doing on the side but barely have the time or energy to invest fully in them, or how I am stretched thin and don’t always have much to show for it. It was like being a security guard with a permanent placement near a TV monitor in a war exhibit and having to hear the same old monotonous story play over and over again. After a while, it got harder to tune myself out, and the stunning mirror I have in my husband would reflect back at me my discontent of how my precious energy was being inappropriately invested (if I had any), and yielding very little returns. Sure, I had an income, and I am grateful for that. But once rent and bills were paid, there was very little show for it. That, in itself, spoke volumes.

One day, as I was attempting once again to summon up every ounce of get-up-and-go I had to make my way to work, my defenses dropped completely and my partner-in-life staged an impromptu intervention. He looked me in the face with his big, blue eyes and said, “Did you ever think that maybe you weren’t meant to live an ordinary life? I know you feel that this is what you *should* do, but clearly, it isn’t making you very happy. How many people teach Yoga Nidra & write about Purpose?”

“TONS,” I believe was my answer that came through snot-laced tears.

“Sure,” he said, “but none of them are you.”

I’m pretty sure that little truth-smack made me cry harder.

This conversation became the impetus to sharing with my irreplaceably wonderful boss that I had decided the time to close this chapter was coming soon. Though I felt nervous to actually articulate my truth, my heart was leaping with validation. Telling each of my coworkers about this decision (women whom I have come to love and cherish) has felt like breaking off a piece of myself every time, but what has come back is genuine, unconditional support, and affirmative words that remind me I am making the choice that is unequivocally right for me.

I have been reminded that it takes courage to follow my heart and give permission for my soul to be stretched in the ways it is yearning to be expanded… On the same token, I have every reason to feel completely and utterly afraid of the unknown, of lack, of failure. Acknowledging my own truth and my own needs felt like a million bucks, and then Monday rolled around…

I went from feeling liberated by this decision, to doubting everything that had anything to do with me doing what I love and having any sort of future success with it.  By Wednesday, my ability to be positive and “Just Trust” was shot. Doubt and Fear instantly sat heavily on my shoulders. I filled with the panic of “what if,” of “not enough,” of possible judgement, or even questioning if there is a need for what I have to share with the world.

But before I felt I had to change all of my heart junk into something more positive, I had to take a walk with Doubt & Fear.

I had to validate them and thank them for stopping by…but I let them know quite firmly that I had no intention of them stopping ME.

It’s been a hard week for all of us. I know this because I have had a conversation for every day of this week with someone who is “feeling it.” But not a single person who is feeling this heaviness (whatever they feel it is attached to for them) has given it permission to knock them down completely. Brave souls.

Maybe it’s in the stars, but I’m starting to think that, really, it’s just US. It’s Spring. Something is changing. Our souls and the world are calling us into something more…something greater…something lighter. Who we are and what we believe about ourselves is being tested…and truth be told, it feels downright awkward, hard, painful or fearful. But don’t let yourself be paralyzed by the darkness. Feel it. Know it’s there to propel you forward, to take that step even closer to the edge of the nest…

Take a deep breath…It’s time to fly.