It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
This is the gift of uncertain times: It’s a strength to be undoing that which no longer works for you, yes, even when you think it does. Undoing is progress, not mayhem.
The artist Pablo Picasso wrote, "Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction." And the philosopher Nietzsche said, "You must become a chaos before giving birth to a shining star." These are not poetic elaborations. They are descriptions of how a metamorphosis works. First, things fall apart before they fall together.
A mother doesn’t have to understand or even trust the birth process to give birth. Your next expression wants to be born. Great and mighty forces marshal their strength around you. It’s your time. You’re uncovering a new way to breathe and feel safe in the world, even though you can’t imagine it. Change may wear a wolf suit. Still, don’t be fooled. It’s wild, abundant magic come knocking on your door.
It’s okay to feel as though you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t. You can't supervise creativity, alchemy, reinvention, evolution and the divine flower rearrangement of your life. Yet if you trusted the Energy behind this miracle of change, you wouldn't want to control a thing. You'd throw everything you had into the blender and watch it yield a grace beyond all reason.
Here's the work. It's not about staying in control. It's about staying in love.
I know this isn't easy to do. But you can take the fun bus or the misery bus, because either way you’re going for a ride. If you want to thrive, this is your practice:
Let go of how you think things should go right now. Taste the possibility that something wise and beautiful is taking place. It is.
For right now, I'd like to offer you two simple strategies for embracing the raw juice of change.
Don't Get a Grip: Be Gripped
Do not try to make this transitional time look like what your old life looked like. This is revolution, darling, and it will torpedo your armed guards and old rules.
Lisa left her position as a pharmaceutical sales rep to reclaim her spirit, which she had squelched for years. Initially, she soaked up the newness of time off. That lasted for about 6 days, which isn’t even 6 seconds in the algorithm of transformation.
Then the mad griffin of "responsibility" shrieked in her ears, “Your worthless.” And Lisa began to realize that she had spent her life in constant activity to fight off this underlying feeling. This is one of the hallmarks of transition. You meet the irrelevant voices that are telling you irrelevant lies.
"I've slept in and I didn't even shower until mid-morning," Lisa whispers on the phone, as though the KGB might be on the line, when, really, it’s just her inner critic—which might be worse. “I wore my blue bathrobe for hours,” she whines. I can’t see her but I’d bet she’s even making the sign of an L for loser on her forehead. “Oh, the transgression,” I mock sigh. I am pleased with her incremental freedom. She is gradually shedding old skins, the Type A snake molting into a new, unorthodox, available being. Shedding does not feel building. Shedding does not feel like nailing it. Shedding is not a time for excelling.
I wrote a section called "The Year of Sleeping Dangerously" in my first book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love because I wanted all the guilt-ridden achievers out there to know that sometimes breakthrough change requires rest, self-care, and staring into space and middle earth like your cat. (And at readings, everyone thanks me for this part of the book.) There are secrets and shifts you can’t manufacture by scratching things off of your left-brain’s to-do list. Your True Self is not listless. It’s invincible. It’s inevitable. It’s got bigger plans.
You don't have to get a grip. Be gripped, as in moved from within. I know you think that if you let go of self-control you will turn into a zombie or lag behind the wunderkind cool crowd. But I promise you trust is the fast track. It’s the only track--- to your right life.
Fall in Love with the Unknown:
The unknown is not the enemy. It's an invitation to become even more alive than you were before. Please resist the temptation to grab at “ready-made” solutions and definitions too soon. In the haste to end uncertainty, those of you who are impatient, and you know who you are because you’ve probably skipped to the exercises already—may opt for promises and detours that do not match your essence. In an authentic life, there are no pre-fab answers. Hold out for the fab ones.
One of my friends tells me she married the wrong man when she was twenty-two because she “didn’t want to wait forever.” A student once confessed that he knew he was exhausted, but took on a higher-level project at work anyway, because he wanted to prove to himself he wasn’t weak. He ended up on a gurney in emergency stomach surgery. I’ve also watched clients go back to school for another degree, program, ribbon, bauble, or certification, just because “I’m going to school,” sounds so much better than “I’m freaking out like a cat in a hat. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.”
What if you’re not stuck? What if you’re not adrift? What if you’re supposed to be right here in the dead center of the middle of it all for reasons you can’t see yet? Something else is going on. Birth doesn’t follow strategy, but it does follow a trajectory.
The unknown offers you an unparalleled life. Trust that your gut and soul have a way. And that a Creative Intelligence only paints in shades of love. The caterpillar must dissolve so that the butterfly can emerge. It’s so unbecoming. Yet lean into your becoming.
When our plans fail, our destiny begins. We’re off the map. We’re on track for an awakening life. Nothing is the same. It’s a rite of passage.
If change blows apart your best laid plans, there’s wild magic to be had. It’s grace that stirs all winds. Remember:
You are not your conditions.
You are your response to your conditions.
You are your strength, love, intelligence and choices. And you are more powerful than you know. That’s why this change is here. You are growing.
Join Panache Desai every morning and for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
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