What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
–– Charles Bukowski
A few weeks ago, I was discussing with a friend some big and quickly approaching changes that are occurring in my life. Tearfully, I said, "I just can't go through one more loss." She said, "You already are." And then it hit me. I've been grieving for years. With so many losses, my sense of direction has felt murky. I'm the kind of girl who savors change (or so I thought). I love the mystery and magic of unknown possibilities. But once again, I'm being called to show up, change, and begin again. This time with lots of resistance. As we all know, part of a deeply courageous, fulfilling, and spiritually driven life is to welcome it all. Surrender to it all. Recently, I was struck by something simple written by spiritual teacher and author Panache Desai about change: "It is a catalyst and a blessing." We want to believe this. Know this. And feel this, but in the pain, we search for some other way through.
Trying our best to accept that the old way no longer works.
It's so easy to travel down that familiar, comfortable, and safe road. Until one day, the pain of staying the same begins to outweigh the pain of the unknown. When you reach this point, you will know it. It's in this space where one realizes it's more graceful to be committed to growth than the impending pain. It's here that I knew I had no choice. When we're not living in alignment with our soul's purpose, it shows up –– in all area of our lives. But we ignore the signs.
Or worse, argue with them.
While I'm trying to honor the space between no longer and not yet (Thank you, Nancy Levin for these words), it's a scary, lonely, and sad place.
If there is anything that's unavoidable in this world, it’s change. Impermanence and change are undeniable truths of our existence. It seems that the more that you try to avoid them, and the more fear and anxiety that you have about a pending lack of stability in your life – the quicker they find you. There are, of course, no guarantees. Yet despite all my years of spiritual and deep inner work, I've recently discovered that I've held on for dear life to many dying circumstances, relationships, and ideas. I guess you can say, I have a high pain threshold.
Fearing the actual change that I thought I desired.
Either way, change is on her way (for everyone). Is it good? Is it bad? Is it sad? Is it a relief?
Sometimes one, sometimes another, sometimes all, but it is what it is. I know the whole spectrum of feelings will come and go. They always do. For most of us, certainly me, the pain of loss, grief, and despair have paved the way for new opportunities, new ways of seeing, and new life to emerge.
As Rumi said,
"Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
If you're going through some big changes, transitions, and epic shit yourself, I've found three basics helpful.
- GO WITHIN | Resist the urge to run away, push away, drink away, shop away, exercise away, deny away. Let what comes, come. Sit in silence. Meditate, Pray. Ask. Listen. Receive.
- LET IT OUT | Write, talk, scream, cry, chant. As women (and men), we often turn our sadness, anxiety, and anger inward. This serves no one –– and especially not ourselves. Find a safe space and release.
- & TRUST | The universe is always working for your highest good. And sometimes, this just plain sucks as we reach newer ways of being. Trust, surrender, and repeat.
When nothing is certain, magic is possible.
Mystery is possible.
Forward facing, my friends.
You know the way.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.