It is not the darkness or the trial that provides the growth in our lives. The darkness often tears down the last of our walls. It breaks us open. Tragedies and trials take us places we would never voluntarily go ourselves and it is then that we are open to the light and healing that comes.
We can fight the darkness. We can deny things happened. We can hold ourselves tighter against the lessons we are meant to learn but it only means the darkness will return and its pressure might be even greater and our breaking apart might needs be even greater. There is no escaping the lessons we are meant to learn.
I watched my first husband crawl around on his bed at times with pain … it was as if he was trying to crawl out of his own body. There was no escape. He had to lie still and breathe. Life is like that. We have to breathe. We have to stop fighting. Surrender is the point when life and light can work its miracle.
The process of giving birth is the perfect metaphor for understanding this. Fighting and tensing against the pain only makes labour worse. You have to relax, you have to breathe, you have to work with the pain. A woman is taken to the edge of death, she is alone, she is broken open and a new life emerges. She is forever changed in her understanding, in her connection to the world around her and in her own sense of strength and purpose.
Sometimes I think people believe that knowledge is like a scavenger hunt and once you have a full basket, or a list with everything checked off, you are done. You win.
Everything is always moving and changing and morphing and flowing and knowledge, and wisdom is included in that. We see, we hear, we experience, we grow and then the scene changes, or our eyes suddenly note a new layer, or we hear something different and we are in a new place with a new understanding.
Just be open. Just listen. You are still in control of you. You still get to decide whether you take the new information on board or let it flow through you and on its way. You don’t even always have to decide if it is right or wrong … you just have to know whether it is right for you, right here, right now. You can always come back.
You can enjoy the ride, you can arrive at things in comfortable stages … however it works for you. THAT is what this is all about! But whatever you do, don’t stop flowing. Don’t clench tight against life with your basket full of scavenger finds. And always pay the most attention to the things that make you insanely crazy because THOSE are things that some part of you knows are wrong but you are holding on to and defending and fighting as if they were everything in the world. They aren’t. But I guarantee they are holding you prisoner.
I no longer fight my feelings. I let them be and I let them run their course within me, not spilled out all over everyone around me. If I am angry, I am angry outside where the trees are more forgiving of my rampage than any human being can be. They never tell my secrets and they shelter me with a love that sees beyond my flaws and loves me anyway.
I breathe deeply.
I walk away.
I no longer allow people to try to contain me and tell me what I am allowed to think or feel. I understand my thoughts and feelings are there to teach me about myself and the world around me. I know that I have so much more to learn and understand and I can’t do that if I am going to direct the feelings at other people. They aren’t about the other people. They are about me.
I don’t give a lot of “across the board” advice to people but there is one thing I find myself always saying to young people. GO AWAY from where you grew up. Move out. Travel. Even if you can only move to another town … make that break between the child living in your parents house, and your own life.
Spend that time with yourself mainly. Get to know who you are. Pick and choose the people you want to spend time with and enjoy those relationships. Don’t expect them to be anything more than more information about who you are and what you need. If they are more than that – Bonus! If not – you won’t miss the point or regret the experience. Learn to trust yourself. Learn to hear your own voice. Make mistakes and figure out how to fix them. Have fun. Laugh.
When you come home again you will re-establish yourself as an adult, ready to have a different relationship with your parents, hopefully one not haunted by “oh Jim, he was always the stupid kid who scraped by.” We all get trapped in the role of the “kid” we used to be and it is even harder to break that if you are always there. It is hard for us parents to take that giant leap to see you as an adult. Remember it is the long distant relatives who observe, “WOW, you have grown up so much, I can’t believe it, you aren’t a little boy anymore,” NOT your parents.
You need to feel in charge of your own life and of who you are and once you get that – I promise you – the rest will be so much easier.
Everyone has to do that journey – sadly some people never do and some people leave it until they are old and grey. Do it while you are young if you can.
I have so much faith in this generation. They are creative and honest in ways we never were. They are fearless in so many aspects and they will inherit this world regardless of whether we think them capable or not.
Jose Silva commented that it is not really the best idea for people to insist they can “do anything they put their mind to.” It would be more productive for them to discover what is that they are meant to do, and do that.
Lots of people can do many things well. People do things to earn money. They do things as a hobby. We even do things we actually hate but we do such a good job we always get asked, or there might not be anyone else to do it. But WHO are you? WHAT is your passion? WHAT are you meant to do?
Finding your souls purpose can be so many things, from very narrowly defined to a specific action or event, to a broad loose understanding of a way of being, to a career, to a role. Understanding what it is gives you the courage to fight for it. Making it happen gives you the fuel and sense of ownership that carries you through life. Appreciating how much you love it allows your life to fully impact the world around you with your gifts and your light. The actual “product” you create in this process, no matter how incredible, is secondary to all of that. What we do with our lives, what we create, how we spend our time, is just stuff we do while we learn to grow and love. It is really irrelevant in the larger scheme of things.
Finding out who we are and what we are meant to do should be the one thing we focus on with such a hunger, that we put all our resources into it. It gets to the heart of our humanity and our potential.