Last night I dreamed that are new kitten was staring at me through the darkness. He had a very important message to tell me. His eyes were imploring me to look a little deeper at the places within me that have been left weary and alone. It was a soft and kind experience…
“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.” ― John O’Donohue
For almost 4 years I’ve been wandering in the wilds. Currently I am so unbelievably lost and weary that it seems like my being has always been in this place. Life circumstances, along with my own inner work, tossed me into a long-term place of Unknowing. This goes beyond any “dark night of the soul” experience, and it is most surely doesn’t seem to be meandering towards Gnosis.
In case you are worrying, this is not a dip into the ocean of depression (although I do work my way through anxiety and sensory issues daily)…trust me, I’ve already checked on that one. While there are emotional/mental challenges that come around me, there is no despair.
What does loom near me is a specter of Restlessness. She is dressed in the most fantastic fabric, luminous and bold. Each strand of her hair beckons me to gaze fully into realms unknown. She is not forceful, and doesn’t wish to be overwhelming. However, and this is a big however, Her goal is to make me feel just a little bit uneasy. The mirror She carries reflects to me the glittery parts of my Soul, and it seems like this might be the time to let them shine.
Many moons ago, when I was a professional life coach, one of the techniques in the program was to use the phrase, “If I had all the money and time in the world, what would I do?” as a journal prompt. From there they would create a vision board, or do a creative piece about that entry. After that clients would go through intense one on one discussions about their goals, working through any blocks that prevented forward movement.
Over 80% of my clients ended up with vastly differently “goals” by the end of their work. And of those folks, 100% of them had nearly the same pathways laid out. Yep, you read that correctly – 80% of my clients were in the same boat after the end of their time with me. At the end of the seeking and longing, they began to hear the lyrics of their own song.
During my time in the therapy and advocacy work, some friend and I came up with something we jokingly called “Moses Syndrome.” Of course we all had it, and could easily spot our clients that had it as well. The criteria for this syndrome was easy: 1) you had to help everyone else first, 2) you had to constantly seek validation from others that what you were doing was, in fact, the path for you, 3) you must engage in the talk of “if not me, then who?”, 4) you had to be okay with not entering the “promised land” yourself.
If you want to know why therapists and counselors have such a high burn out rate, just let me know. However, you’ll have to wait until my Sabbatical is over to get the answer.
Are you wondering about those clients that had the same experiences? Even though I tried to distract you, there is a though in the back of your mind wandering around. You might not even realize it, but science tells me that it is there.
Here is a hint — it was two things, simultaneously, that came up. The words were different, but the sentiment was the same.
So in my longer-than-expected time of wandering, I’ve really looked at these things. I’ve also looked at how much I was in love with being the person that helped everyone else. It wasn’t/isn’t martyr syndrome, nor is it the above mentioned issue, but more like a need to find my own bearings.
On this 2nd day of June, 24 hours after my decision to continue my Sabbatical for at least one more month, there is something that has come to pass…
It is time for radical active listening (to my Self and to others), and for internal authenticity. Both of these will be in safe and healthy places that have strong boundaries. And, truthfully, it is time to start writing again. Not just for myself, but out in the big old wide world.
As the Mystics and Wise People have said…
“Not all who wander are lost.”
keu/ Yarn & Zen