Life provides us with triggers to prod us. While that can make us feel lost or fatigued, they can also teach us to alchemize it into profound transformation
So here we are standing on the precipice of a new season as summer crosses into fall, a time I usually go kicking and screaming, not wanting to let go. Like an exhausted kid being pulled from the ocean by a parent after a long day at the beach, sun-kissed and with a bathing suit laden with sand from riding the waves…I don’t want to get in the car and go home. It is a time of dramatic change — back to school, back to work, back to routine, ‘reality’ and colder temperatures.
As I sat chatting with a dear friend recently she remarked how this summer absolutely flew by. My initial response — don’t they all? But this unprecedented summer doesn’t get to lump itself in with all the others that were filled with laughter, ease, travel, impromptu gatherings and hugs (God do I miss hugs).
No, this summer is not invited to that party, not one I will want to recount for the memory books (or will I?). And quite honestly, it’s left me feeling both lost and COVID-fatigued. I also have a sneaky suspicion that I am not alone here after receiving so many comments and private messages from our beautiful Best Self community.
We are all navigating a sea of unsettled territory — some things feel familiar, others completely foreign. We struggle to gain footing, to ground ourselves.
Admittedly, I’m feeling weary.
But truth-telling is critical here. We meet within each other’s stories and stand upon common ground, the sacred ground of shared experience. We want to laugh, to love, to feel connected. We want to feel safe, strong, impassioned. We want to show up, help each other, hold hands. I believe in the innate goodness of our souls, but I also know many of us are wandering all over the map trying to find ourselves and our place in this all.
I’m tired of the divisiveness that tells us to pick a team. I’m tired of the judgment and unkindness, the intolerance and the opinions that make no room for those of others. I’m tired of the loss of critical thinking. I’m tired of arguing because I have a point of view. We mustn’t lose our elasticity — our capacity to listen and learn from each other — to build bridges from myriad thoughts, beliefs and ideas. Most of all, I’m tired of disconnection. Simply observe what has happened to the body language of masked people walking about in stores, towns even out in nature — no eye contact, no connection, like strangers passing in the night.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not debating COVID-19 here. Surely, you’ve heard enough of those already. Instead, I’m focusing on witnessing my own reactions, attempting to remain open and soft. It is the only way to give and receive. I want to observe what is percolating within me, recognize what seeds that were previously planted are breaking ground.
Like many of you, I’ve reached for all kinds of support to bolster my spirit during these trying times, the kinds of things that feed us like meditation, prayer, empowering books and podcasts, nature and of course, my puppy Zoey. I know that refraining from the mainstream media narrative, mindless scrolling through social media to pass the time and self-medicating in any form that ultimately only further entrenches me within this deep sense of lostness — is a part of this course.
The greatest gift I gave myself was stillness amidst this. And I didn’t sit still for a few days or a week…I did it for an entire summer.
In some ways, I gave my inner cruise director a pass. I allowed her to stop planning, strategizing, striving — and instead to just figure out what the inner crew (me) really wanted.
I didn’t push, rush or make anything happen that didn’t feel like it was meant to be happening. I let go of things, lots of things. I went with the flow of my house. I soaked up the unexpected extra time with my son home from college — the family meals, the walks in the woods, the stolen moments of grace. I got down on the floor on multiple occasions throughout the day to roll with my puppy (otherwise known around here as the great distractor!). I breathed and decompressed in a way I hadn’t before. I read. I wrote. I felt. I didn’t build an empire, but I believe I allowed space for healing to tiptoe forward. Healing I didn’t even realize I was desperate for.
Sometimes I would step back and observe myself saying, you know, you better get your shit together soon. And yes, I had set some deadlines for myself throughout the summer…you can get that going this summer, start that in August…and well, the months faded into each other and still there I remained, a bit untethered. Oh, the ‘ol me has a difficult time letting go of the way things are ‘supposed to be’. Alas, I stayed the course and carried on…flitting about like a butterfly (which honestly made me feel guilty and uncomfortable at times).
Here’s the complexity of it all; while my nervous system clearly responded to the new pace and nurturing it also cleared space and left me wondering what the hell I was doing. I began to dance with uncertainty in a big way. Nothing was safe. Everything was on the table for its evaluation.
I even began to make bold statements and get very clear about what I no longer wanted to do. When was the last time you just laid it all out for yourself before finding yourself at the brink of frustration? When was the last time you allowed yourself to voice your truth?
It is amazing how tightly wound we can get — how tightly we can hold onto things that aren’t serving us — how afraid we can be of letting those same things go. We can be so stubborn and hard on ourselves.
We’ve all been alchemizing a great deal these past 6 months whether we are conscious of it or not. New moons, full moons, planetary alignment, retrogrades, pandemics…oh my. What will life look like when this is over? What will be left? The world hasn’t stopped spinning about (though it’s felt that way) and we haven’t stopped the evolution of our souls. What is yours begging you to see? Beneath the noise there is a cry to see, hear, be — to step into more YOUness. Believe it or not, you may not even recognize who you were and what you were thinking in the not so distant past.
Here’s a fun way to see this transformation within your own life. Look back to your calendar or scroll through your pictures on your iPhone…what were you doing around February 24th? As I scrolled through my own, I sighed when I landed upon the date. Aaaah, yes. Mexico. I was in Punta Mita on a wildly fantastic impromptu girl’s getaway. It was impulsive and extravagant — and in hindsight, boy am I glad I acted upon that one.
This is where I was the last week of February 2020, Bahia de Banderas
When I look at my smiling face amidst the Pacific Ocean sea breezes, golden sunlight and palm trees, I realize that I had no idea what was about to go down…none of us did (do we ever?). I would return from that trip to a world I didn’t recognize and the uncertainty of when I would ever be able to travel again.
We all likely have similar stories, but here’s the thing — great transformation is underfoot within each of us.
That version of me from 6 months ago was still forging ahead ignoring the cues and the soul cries. She heard the whispers. She knew they were there. They’d been calling to her for a long time. But she simply carried on business as usual…she’d been doing it her whole life. She had aced that routine. What about you? Where were you 6 months ago; emotionally, spiritually, physically?
And what are the repeated struggles that are emerging? They are calling to be healed…really.
When the fluff gets stripped away, we can see what needs to be seen. And hey, it isn’t all ZEN.
I’ve been quite irritable lately because I realize there isn’t any going back — and as if that isn’t reason enough to feed the irritation, it is all compounded with a sense of the great unknown ahead. In the knowing of what we don’t want, we have to identify and own what we do want. It’s about replacing the problem with a solution. And that is both terrifying and exhilarating — and beautifully expansive if seized.
The train has left the station and there’s no turning back now. Though still feeling a bit lost and definitely fatigued, I’m committed to compassionately embracing it, to trusting it. This is not the destination, it is a moment in a chapter. Let’s write a new collective story. Let’s each listen to the stirrings within, take its hand and allow it to guide us. It will lead us to a place where we are no longer lost and fatigued, but rather directed and energized because despite all the circumstances we face — we are ready. The time is now. Are you in? Your Best Self knows you’re ready…
Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.~ Gloria Steinem
Within the disruption of your own life have you witnessed feelings that want to emerge, that are nudging you in a new direction, or trying to free you from something? Let us know how you are navigating this time of great personal alchemization in the comments below.