This week I've been called to talk about sinkholes.
You know, the obstacles that show up the minute we decide to change our lives?
For me these have taken the form of the following:
Friends With Problems
Professional Challenges--usually concerning the work I truly no longer want to do but am afraid to leave
Anything resonant yet?
I've worked enough with transition now to recognize a pattern. When we say yes to the work of our heart, when we answer what Joseph Campbell calls the Call to Advenure, we cross the threshold from the familiar world into the unknown. And it is there that we face a kind of initiation, for the familiar world will keep pulling at us, and we must confront each obstacle as it comes.
Or we could give up. There's a lot of talk in the so-called spiritual circles about ease. "When it's right it should be easy." Yes? But ease is different than alignment. When we are in alignment with our purpose, when we are in alignment with spirit, sometimes we have to clean up whatever is not in alignment. We will be tested. Our prayers will be answered. And sometimes it might not be easy at all, if we don't live up to what we said we intended to do, we might get our ass kicked by the Call to Adventure.
We might get it kicked until we truly answer the call.
I have had my ass kicked many times on my path. And I've watched some clients try to have it both ways, the past and the present. The day job and the vision. The security of the known, and the leap into the unknown.
But in order to live the life we've imagined, we have to let go of anything that distracts us from our true intention. And that sometimes looks like leaving the life raft behind.
Yes, this is a test. Don't you think it's odd that the minute you say you want to support yourself your partner loses their job?
Or what about when you claim to want to write a novel, but you don't have the time, you suddenly break your ankle and get a leave of absence.
Or when you say you want to change, that you won't repeat your old patterns of the past, that something must absolutely shift, it does? Often in challenging ways, ways that force us to confront old demons, release our fear, to take chances and GROW.
You are listened to, and when you make a statement the world is looking for your commitment. The universe asks: Are you really going to make a shift? Is this a declaration of freedom? Or is this just more talk, soon to be swallowed by excuses and sob stories?
Circumstance is the universal litmus test for self-sabotage. I've started warning my clients in advance of our first sessions:
"When you make this commitment, you are telling the universe you are ready to do whatever it takes. And because you are bringing your life into alignment with your dreams, it can get rocky and scary for a while as things reorder. But don't give up, challenges don't ever mean you should give up. Challenges mean keep on, you are doing something right. There is always some destruction in creation. Prepare for this."
I have lived through a lot of chaos in the last ten years.
I have been challenged again and again to "forget safety, live where you fear to live" (Rumi).
When I began my journey toward sovereignty in 2005, I found this stone in the river near my home in Cottage Grove:
(This isn't the real stone. The real stone is a brick with the word "will" on it that I can't seem to find a photo of today. So let's imagine it...WILL on stone...potent...)
It has remained on my altar ever since.
Through divorce and displacement.
Through long distance parenting and single parenting and home-of-my-own-less-ness.
Through seven moves.
Through job change and career change and economic insecurity.
Through custody negotiations and legal wrangling.
Through ending old relationships.
Through beginning new ones, and partnering and blending a family and remarrying.
Through leaving an old dream and beginning a new one.
Through homeschooling and autism advocacy.
Through years of illness, diagnosis and a return to health.
Through Moon Divas.
Through writing and publishing a book, and making art and making myself an artist through the making of art.
Through creation of a business in multiple incarnations.
All the way through, to here.
My life is no more difficult or special than anyone else's. We all are in transition, and the transitions are often multiple, overlapping...this is the cycle of the hero's journey, this multiplicity, with each transition--large and small--beginning in separation from the known, initiation on the road of trials. What makes all the difference to the efficacy and acceptance of transition is will. The will to trust the unknown. The will to meet the trials. The will to take risks. The will to let go.
And believe me, there are many days where my will is puny, where I'm tired, dispirited, I want to give up.
Then I light my candles. I pray. For the will to keep the path.
I know now that along the road of trials, there are helpers and mentors. There are keepers of wisdom and keys to the kingdom that acknowledge our core.
And I know that the trials are temporary, and essential and there are other phases to behold that allow for oneness, integration, emergence and peace.
For when we answer the call to adventure, we live into our authentic lives, our purpose. We become who we are.
Love to the process--