Journey through the dark…

 

Deep growth asks me to leave what is safe, what I believe I must have, and what I’ve fought to keep. I have to become willing to open my grip on life, to receive the gifts it has in store for me.

Periodically I find myself in one of these seasons of deep growth. Of letting go of who I thought I was. Who I thought I needed to be… wanted to be…  so I can discover something more.

As you can imagine, this doesn’t come easily.

My usual approach to life, is to chose growth – proactively. I like heading things off at the pass. It’s how I’m wired.  Who I am. That’s part of why I chose to become a life coach, years ago. I’m passionate about this!

Yet even with that, there are areas of my life that I can’t access consciously. I may not even know they’re not in alignment with me. Often they make up the foundation upon which I’ve built my world. And when they get shaken, it’s not pretty.

Now trust me. If I could access these areas, and be in control of the when and how they got addressed, I would! I’m not the stoic type, and not a fan of pain. I like the feeling of having my life work. Of being in the flow, and feeling good inside.

So what happens when what needs to change is beyond my awareness?

Well, for me, things stop working. On the inside…  what felt good to me before, no longer sits well. On the outside…  the externals shift, and the balance of my life teeters, and sometimes even topples over. In short – I hurt.

Sometimes it’s big things. Letting go of a 25 year marriage…

Sometimes it’s smaller things. A change in my work, in my surroundings, relational dynamics…

But it’s always something visceral, that tugs on my unconscious survival needs. And because its visceral, it takes a shake up to recognize how deeply it’s ingrained. In a very real way, it’s facing a death, and a rebirth.

What does it look like to navigate one of these seasons?

For me, the most important piece is having support – people who see me, who know me, who can hold a vision of who I am, even when I’m bumping around in the dark.

The first time I plunged into one of these seasons, I discovered that most people are scared of the dark. When faced with someone else going through the darkness, their own fear either causes them to back away, or to try to ‘fix it’ for the other person, getting them out of the pain sooner, so it’s easier to be around them.

I see this often, especially in transformational communities, where it hides as ‘being spiritual’. When someone is going through the death of a part of their life… part of how they defined themselves… how they come to the world – people mistakenly try to rush them through the anger, grief, and fear, onto more ‘positive’ perspectives…. encouraging them to distance themselves from the raw emotion and not identify with it.

The sad thing about this, is that without fully going through it, the positive veneer remains just that. A veneer.

Have tried on multiple occasions to shortcut this process, I can attest to the fact that when we skip over to the ‘positive’ without working through the pain, we feel like both a failure and a hypocrite; pretending to a peace we don’t possess.

The truest path I’ve found through this, is just that…  going straight through. Being with the pain, rather than resisting it, or trying to push through it.

In the compassionate process of allowing myself to feel my pain – without any other agenda than to be present to the experience – something shifts in me. Imperceptibly at first, but as steady as the rising sun in the morning.

I won’t lie to you. It’s still not fun. And when I’m in the middle of it, a part of me wonders if I’ll ever come out the other side! But I no longer fear the darkness. And that makes all the difference in the world.

I’ve come to welcome it, rather than resist it… knowing that as I allow myself to feel this, I’m connecting more deeply with parts of me that have hidden behind coping strategies, dependencies, or false beliefs.

I want to invite you, when you find yourself facing a shakedown in your life, to give yourself permission to be with the pain, fear, and grief, that this stirs up. Find the support you need, so you can be held in this process… given the space to navigate this powerful path, and come out of the darkness into the morning, with the gifts this journey intends for you. That support might be from a partner, a friend, a spiritual advisor, a coach…  but it needs to be someone whose travelled these roads and isn’t afraid of the journey.

It’s worth it. You’re worth it. And the rewards on the other side are beyond what you can imagine.

To share in more conversations like this, come join me Wednesdays at 5:00pm Eastern, on Women Waking Up ~ Fertile Conversations, where Coach Marilyn O’Malley and I host a radio show exploring what it looks like to wake up into our lives.

If you are in a time of deep growth, and would like support on your journey, feel free to contact me about individual coaching. I would be honored to support you as you reclaim these deeper parts of yourself.

And allow yourself the space to be exactly where you are…   this is the journey of your life!