I suffer from amnesia, it’s a specific strain though. I constantly forget how uncomfortable, difficult and arduous my last transition and struggle was. When circumstances smooth out, I think, that wasn’t so bad. Not until I look at my journal, with my crazy, slanty, spidery writing from that period of time, do I remember. The journal spells out my months of second guessing, grasping, testing, assessing and floundering. I forget my complete lack of patience, my fickle trust, my flipping from feeling solid one minute and then a tower of Jell-O the next, and my obsessing over the crumbs not knowing that the whole sandwich is just out of site.
It is such a complete forgetting that it reminds me of a soap opera character in the 1980’s who wakes up in the hospital after a bonk on the head with complete memory loss. They are a blank slate. Was I an heiress? I have five children and a husband? I am a woman? Are these my hands and feet? That is me at the start of every big change.
My complete lack of forgetting would be comical if it were not so sad. Sad for the fact that I know it’s happened – but once in it I’m like aren’t we done with this bit yet? Can’t I skip to the less struggley, crazy making part of this transition?
The Universe’s answer is always an emphatic NO. You are done, when you are done. It is a process. It’s like baking a cake and thinking that turning up the oven to rush the process will be easier. It doesn’t net the desired results, it doesn’t work. The cake, if you can call it that, is burnt black on the outside and cake soup on the inside. Not unlike me trying to rush through a tough spot in the road with busy work, numbing or pushing through when I really need to just take a breath and pause. Growth happens in it own time, not mine and not yours.
Transitions and struggle take time, effort, patience, a boat load of humor and lots of self-compassion. I hate the process but love the result. I have to remind myself and go back to the analogy of a baby bird. A chick has to build muscles to break out of the shell. It has to push, peck, and struggle against that shell over and over to break free. In doing so it is building the muscles it needs to not only get out but to fly. If there is no muscle building through struggle there is no flight for any of us.
It is our pushing, pulling, trying things, resting, thinking, praying, learning and not giving up. I mean really, really not giving up through the ugly, feeling stupid, like a failure, out of my element. All the things that build my spiritual, physical, mental muscles for next adventure and flight.
I always want to rush ahead to the good part, the answers, the satisfaction, the enjoyment of the mastery. What I forget is that it’s all the “good part”. That when I am in it, I feel alive, creative in my small wins and frustrations. I get angry at my missteps- but always learning from them and jumping back in to try again. The struggle feeds my curiosity, creativity and spurs me on and yes it also makes me tired, cranky, and frustrated. Even hopeless sometimes. It is a careful balancing act to not let the negative feelings, perceived setbacks, and overwhelm discourage me for longer than is healthy. Making sure my small wins, and hard work is celebrated on its own merit knowing that these are the building blocks for my future.
It’s like going through a very long tunnel. I keep thinking ok, I will see the light soon, ok not yet, okay around the next curve, nope, is that a light, nope another train passing…. Then I think wait maybe I took the wrong tunnel? Maybe this won’t take me back into the sunlight? Maybe this is a mole tunnel? I don’t want to be a mole person, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I don’t want to live a mole life. All that fur seems itchy, it’s always dark and I hate grubs! Just as I am pushing through and obsessing about mole life, and how long it is taking to come out of the tunnel or from my shell, I break through into the sunlight.
It is the not giving up, the learning from the mistakes that make us strong. Celebrating the small incremental wins with gratitude and satisfaction help sustain and move us along in our struggle. Breaking giant goals into small manageable micro steps to feed those wins, feed that mastery of skill and build strength to what is to come. My knowledge on how I did it the last time only marginally helps in the current transition. Mostly because in the moment I feel awful and remembering is difficult.
When I do pause and take a deep breath, I remember the knowledge I gained last time and my bag of tools which helps. Things like taking care of myself and eating whole food and not too much; To move and stretch my body daily remembering that I process when I move, and it also helps calm my busy mind; To take time to rest, to clear my head out; To enjoy the daily silence which enables my mind to wander and play which leads to creative problem solving; To spend time in nature for my soul; To connect to the world around me and ground.
I have to remember to reach out to people who make me think, laugh and love where I am in the moment and myself. People who are thoughtful, funny and hold space for me nudging me past my amnesia pointing out my bag of tricks and tools, reminding me of my past struggles, breakthroughs and flights and rejoice in the ones to come. We are not alone. Not in struggle, not in sorrow not in anything if we are brave enough to reach out. We might be in our own eggshell working at busting out that is true. What we have to remember is the nest is full of eggs and we all breakthrough at different times. So there is community to support , to listen and to celebrate it all.
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