Updated: Jun 19, 2019
Embrace that spark! You may go out into the world and make a splash, or not, depending on what unique role you are called to play in the grand theater of the universe. But one thing for sure is that you will be a source of light and strength, in a much confused world. Indeed, it's a rare blessing to be you.
Life has thrown suffering your way and propelled you on a truth-seeking path. But just as you become almost content treading the sensible path of human improvement inch by inch, it started- the mysterious process of real transformation, which takes you by storm. It's chaotic, explosive, confusing, yet at the same time the most intelligent and elegant process ever. If you know what I'm talking about, good for you. If you suspect you know what I'm talking about because it is happening to you right now, then read on.
All the mystics who came before you, be it Jesus, Buddha or Muhammad, had periods of disappearance into the void- the empty spots on the timeline of their life when it seemed they had suddenly dropped off the edge of the planet. Nobody knew where they were and what they were doing. They went alone, they went within, relinquishing their old limited identity and becoming something more expanded, powerful, and closer to their true self. In a sense what you're experiencing is similar. Except that they had a desert or a cave to go to, instead of living in midtown Manhattan and riding the metro to work everyday. Now we don't have that many caves left to legally occupy. But that doesn't mean the archetypal process of spiritual transformation has changed in its essence.
Thus, the kind of spiritual shift I'm talking about is most likely inconvenient to your daily life and worse, makes you question your own sanity. Because from an outside perspective, what you're experiencing...um...sucks. (A catholic monk once wrote a book about how much it sucked for him. You've likely heard of the book. It has a depressing name. But I feel the author is more than a bit masochistic. So, reader beware. The point is, when transformation comes knocking on your door, it unapologetically asks you to let go of parts of yourself and your life that are no longer of service in order move toward that which is. Sometimes, the welcoming of the new is right there to greet you. More often than not, there is something that writer Charles Epstein calls the space between stories. He describes it this way:
"The old world falls apart but the new has not yet emerged. Everything that once seemed permanent and real is revealed as a kind of hallucination. You don't know what to think, what to do; you don't know what anything means anymore. The life trajectory you had plotted out seems absurd, and you can't imagine another one. Everything is uncertain. Your time frame shrinks from years to this month, this week, today, maybe even this present moment. Without the mirage of order that once seemed to protect you and filter reality, you feel naked and vulnerable, but also a kind of freedom."
Monumental transformations don't happen all that often, and they can be difficult to identify, but after reflecting upon my own experiences and those of my clients, I've been able to parse many of the signs indicating that transformation was indeed happening. Awareness is like a road map of understanding that can help you feel less alone while facing transition. May this writing bring understanding and serve as a support net for you, while in the throes of this process.
1. Something feels "stuck."
Feelings of "stuck-ness" are something everyone can relate to. Your job isn't fulfilling, but you don't know what else you would do. Your relationship isn't satisfying, but you are afraid to leave the security of what has been developed. You feel bored or unenthusiastic, but you can't figure out how to get out of the rut. Sound familiar?
These are the moments when we often start to blame and judge others because we don't want to take responsibility for our own fear and discontent. These feelings tend to be physical and energetic versus analytic. And things can feel out of alignment when caught up in the rat race of life: working hard, participating in the grind of a daily commute, feeling weighed down by obligations, and not getting enough sleep, exercise, or time for stillness and self-care.
This is the perfect recipe for some serious "alone-ing."
As Henry David Thoreau states in Walden,
"I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."
Although often scary or uncomfortable at first, being alone is one of the greatest gifts for acknowledging stuck-ness and uncovering your own truth. By having the extra space and a lack of external stimulation to run toward, yo