When Feeling Stuck…

The past few months life has moved forward much like someone learning to drive a stick shift with a mixture of smooth sailing, lurching forward, stalling, bucking, and screeching halts. Work demands increased, and home life demands seemed to, as well. While I kept up fairly well with much of my self-care, more so than ever during a time of stress, I still felt like I was treading water or drowning more than not. Simply put, I felt stuck in this perpetual liminal or in-between space.

From this extended purgatory of sorts, I’ve learned some new perspectives that can help make the road less bumpy for you.

  • Self-care during this time is crucial. At times, I was resistant about some items yet open and consistent about others. I say, do what you can here. Choose your battles wisely; know who you’re fighting, too… and know that when life “hits the fan,” self-care is needed even more. (I like to use the NASCAR analogy here, that racing around means those cars get more care in 1 race than most of our cars receive in a year or more… maybe I could look up some stats about that one day.)
  • Embrace the slowdown. These transitory rest breaks allow us to rebuild our energy after the ending of one chapter. These spaces also make life seem less clear, and driving faster because we can’t see clearly doesn’t generally work out well for many, for long. I also believe that this slowdown is to allow for taking life differently.
  • Create or find a supportive mantra and use it. Simple ones like, “this too shall pass,” or “this is the breakdown before the breakthrough,” or “I’ve survived this, and more, before. I’ve got this!,” or “that which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger/wiser, etc.” Find or create a supportive mantra that meets your needs.
  • Journal. Writing can be very helpful during this time to help gain perspective. Personally, I write some dark poetry during this time. It’s therapeutic to “poop” out the thoughts that are no longer needed.
  • Find a new perspective or analogy.
    • It is in this void, this space, where we also get to choose to live life differently.
    • This time is for clearing the path for the next adventure. I recently began to imagine my guides laying down new stepping stones… 

IT’S SO AMAZING when we choose to look at this “mysterious” (and scary) time less as an “undoing” and more as a “remodeling.” If we’re tired of our kitchen, we can choose to keep it just as it is. OR, we can choose to remodel it which involves breaking down the old. There will be some dust and mess, this is part of the process.

Remodeling also takes time. Yet it is in our desire for change that we accept that this is part of the process. We sure as hell don’t stop during this in-between kitchens phase. We know it will not do us ANY good. And we also know that something better is on it’s way so we “suck it up” and go about our day. Of course “we can’t wait” (but we also want it to be right, so we do).

SO! When we find that our path is suddenly not-so-clear, when we feel we are stuck and things seem completely confusing… IF we can begin to see this as part of the remodeling process, we learn to accept it for the “breakdown” that it is. You know, the one that precedes the breakthrough!

May we move with ever increasing grace through those confusing liminal spaces, knowing that while it all seems chaotic now, that a new path is being laid out for us to take. It’s our choice in how we take it: with grace or kicking and screaming all along the way. Mine is often with a mixture of both!

Namaste

Celebrating the Pause

Yesterday marked the half-way mark between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. It is interesting that many of us may also find ourselves in transition during this time. I most certainly do!

There is a mixture of excitement and restlessness here. As a very goal-oriented person, it is a challenge for me to feel settled when not working on specific goals. Learning to surrender into this space of unknowing, as if awaiting my next set of orders, creates some anxiety for me. However, I’m learning to recognize the parts of me that want to push and push; pushing is so exhausting!

A great meditation on Insight Timer, which found me, is subtitled “Divine Laziness.” There is so much beauty and wisdom in this space between; in the surrender. Breathing deeply into the unknown also gives a sense of freedom.

May we each find peace in the spaces between what was and what is yet to be. There is SO much potential here, if we can just be patient enough to allow it to be. 

Namaste

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Hiking Through The Bardo 

After about a mile into my 5+ mile Sunday hike I sat on a bench and chronicled the pure ecstasy of my Sunday sojourn. In this post I share how taking a side trail shifted my experience…and some of my paradigms as I traveled through The Bardo: The place of transition according to Tibetian Buddhism.


A turn through the style 

And a passage into a past time once lived

At first, I searched for new memories

Then different scenes, scents and thoughts brought back times long gone

The salty air of the marsh trail

Old scenes crashing into erotic thoughts now lost 

The boardwalks where wayward dogs 

Sought refuge from heat in muddy waters

Humans followed two sets of large paw prints 

The tide moves into this place of transition

And with it the memories return, bittersweetly 


The many years of scenes with 

Wet dogs swimming at every clearing 

in brackish waters begging for owners to 

Throw a stick or a toy

Careful in some places, the current is swift and will steal

Away the gifts  

In this moment, my presence reaches for  

The sights and sounds …

The feeling of water brushed onto my legs as wet, excited dogs run past

of dogs playfully nipping at one another

A competition for the attention of their owners

Loyal dogs with high intelligence

Their ears perk and heads turn giving us

Their full attention 

Chewbacka just may have been modeled after a German Shepherd Dog’s vocal inflections 


Then there are the copper cypress needles adding richness to the brown hues on the trail

Here I remember my son’s first steps on the sodden earth

Or carrying my daughter in a rainbow sling,

Pausing for snap shots and capturing memories

Or the “pregnant” tree I stood beside 

When my first baby bump began to show

Yes, here I am once again in the Bardo

Where the bittersweet memories meet the pain of what is no more 

Walking along the low trails near the cypress bogs

I release my emotional pain into the winds 

And through salty tears that stain my cheeks

Then in the mirror-like water of the tiny lakes  

I see the sky reflected more beautifully below than it is above

The water’s reflection symbolic of its adoration of the sky

Oh, to be adored in such a way 

My mind takes a different path on this day

For so long I have feared my uniqueness and my ability to carry so many different energies 

Now in this place of Bardo and balance, I see and begin to believe 

by law there exists a man 

Who can carry the same

More tears well up, threatening to burst forth

Yes, there must be balance – you cannot be alone in this

I love the effects of light on water, accentuating textures as the tide moves into the salt marsh. The current is swift here, twirling in eddies. The Bardo, a place of transition. Unedited balance

The smell of the earth and cypress needles fills my senses
Soon to be replaced by a curious citrus…

Tears from bittersweet memories have dried on my face, 

Such a cleansing feeling the citron scent brings

It’s been at least 18 years since I started hiking regularly at this park 

Hard to miss memories made here 

I wish I had appreciated all of these times more

Lessons I seem to learn over & over again

The search for new memories 

Slowly replaced by the reliving of old ones

All in the same place

The Bardo: this place of transition 

I could know by now that ecstasy can only be maintained for moments in time, surely each time I soar or fly, there is a requisite digging into the darkness below. Balance in all things. 

This song seems to capture the feelings I had during the latter part of my Hike. 

Missing the Funeral

Today they lay his body

to its final rest.

The second father,

Of the man to which I was

Connected for half my life.

To have known such a man for so many years,

To never to have seen so much as a tear.

My heart goes out to his, his family

His mother, too.

Feeling disconnected,

From a group so once connected.

To miss such a transition.

Seems odd.

There is love

And empathy,

Sympathy in

My heart today.

Missing the funeral

Acting as if it were

Just another day,

So far away.

Perhaps tonight
I’ll call
To say
I’m so sorry
for your loss.

Namaste.

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