Periods of transition are incredibly hard. We get stuck in the tight space between knowing, without a doubt, that we must move on, and the weight of having no idea what the future holds.
It makes me think of when Moses encountered the burning bush. God spoke to him. The bush was on fire, but remained alive and green. That’s some crazy shit! You can’t just walk your sheep back to base camp and pretend that didn’t happen! There was no question - he couldn't go on living in the desert with his family as before. And yet, he was terrified and confused, pushed off the cliff edge of knowing into the mysterious abyss of his calling.
Most of the time we don’t receive a directive from God telling us to go to a specific place to preform a specific duty. We have to chart that course. Looking back on it, it is remarkable. But in the moment as it unfolds, it feels like you are the burning bush. And we tend to put ourselves through several flavors of hell while imprisoned to that narrow corridor between leaving behind the life that isn’t ours to live and forging the one that is.
Since this space is so uncomfortable, it is easy to jump right into wishing we were someone else, the age-old practice of compare and despair. “If I had done this program at this time I’d have friends like this person and be collaborating on projects like that!,” which happens to be my current compare and despair mantra. Or the popular, “Wow this person is my age and has already figured out how to do what they love and make a living!” This string of consciousness quickly devolves into “What am I doing with my life?”.
Certainly, reviewing your life and direction is meaningful if you truly do not know what you are doing with your life. A breakdown like that can be a wonderful invitation into the mysteries of nature and psyche and the uncovering of soul’s calling.
But often, we are charting a purposeful direction, but haven’t arrived yet and wish we had. Problem is, the one life that is ours to live can only be reached through the claustrophobic and liminal hallway of transition, likely several.
Our compare and despair not only makes matters worse psychologically, but effectively removes us from that singular, unique hallway, the place that we must inhabit, and out onto a playing field on which we are not captain. It is an escape from our actual situation, which is uncertainty. In some twisted way, it is better in our minds to be worse than another, than to simply not know the outcome.
However, there is a facet of ourselves that handles uncertainty like singing in the shower, that isn’t attached to outcome whatsoever, and is willing to live precisely in the present moment. This aspect of ourselves might rise above that cramped passageway, but only to show us the larger, mythical, and universal aspects of our journey. This facet of ourselves has the perspective that this hallway is the exact right place to be, no matter how unnerving.
Here’s how you might channel that facet of yourself:
• Make a little fun of your situation. I usually get pretty dramatic in that hallway. Some humor can help lighten up the scenario.
• Envision yourself as an eagle and fly up to a peak high above your life. Looking down from this wider perspective, what do you see? What is the larger picture of your unfolding life?
• Maybe you can use this wider perspective to tell the story of your life and where you are now with a mythical approach.
• Hang out with blue vervain. This plant is an incredible ally for moments when we feel we should be more than we are. Its capacity to shift our consciousness out of the ordinary and into the realm of the sacred, allows us to touch in with the knowing that there is a larger story at play.