We all have a evolving story, but for many of us, it's either hard to tell or hard to know how to share.
I was speaking with a friend over the weekend about writing, which is how I've often shared my journey before. I was talking with him about how disconnected I've felt with opening up to share my story. Opening up to share it with you, but really...to share it with me. A very wise mentor of mine taught me that when you feel disconnected to those around you it is usually just a mirror showing you how you are disconnected to yourself.
I have struggled and sometimes when I struggle, I don't want to look inward. Or outward. And as a result, I see...nothing. In the past year, I've often found myself saying to my best friend that I feel like I'm lost in a dense fog, drifting away from what I once knew but not seeing anything before me.
But really, what it was, wasn't that there was nothing. What I've realized is that there is never, nothing. There is only nothing if we are not looking inward. Because if we are not looking inward, what we see outward is, empty. What is inside us shapes and molds how we see what is outside of us.
And, if we are not looking at what is inside, the void left in that lack of connection is quickly filled by distractions full of whatever catches our fancy; TV, sex, food, drugs. These distractions feel good for a bit, filling. We become so good at fixating on the outside to get something that we forget about focusing on what's going on, inside.
Focusing on the inside can become scary. We don't know what it's like in there anymore. It's unpredictable. What might come up?
What's funny about the fog I've seen this year is that I have looked inward. A lot. I've had to. I've had to work from the inside out to keep myself here, in this life. It was my inside that hurt so much, for so long that without working on it, it was eating me alive. With anxiety, depression and fear. So much so that it was hard for me not to embrace the idea of giving life up in the hopes that my insides would quiet. But I've worked on my insides, cultivated a relationship with myself that is, sustaining. It's not constant, as not much is, but a practice. And this past year, I let go of that practice of connecting to myself.
This past year, it wasn't that I let go not of my desire to live but I let go of hope. Hope that I was capable of riding the waves. I felt like I'd ridden so many waves and these new ones, from this year, almost seemed too much on top of what felt like the history of big waves. And, this year, the waves seemed big again, for me at least. I lost a job I loved and was passionate about, I lost my ability to run which has been a very large part of my emotional wellness since my son was born and very suddenly, moved out of the only city I've found that I truly felt connected to. Away from the only place that has ever really felt like home.
The move and the struggles that came with its suddenness and its stress blinded me for a little while. I moved into an uncertain situation and was living in a space I felt constantly judged and criticized in; from everything from my eating habits to my spiritual practices. I found myself going through the motions, just to get by. Trying to get back on my feet and on my own. But, through that process, I stopped taking care of myself. Stopped listening and looking inward. Because everything seemed so much, and all at once.
I've started to listen again. Because it's a practice and you can always pick back up.
But, I'm not writing to you today to share a part of my journey that "ends" with a happy ribbon attached that radiates sentiments of success. There are no "I did it, worked through and now I am great!" bottom lines to this post.
Connecting with yourself is a practice. It's a relationship. And, actually, I don't think you "do it" to anything in life. I think you are doing it. I am not at a finish line but I am not lost at sea anymore either. I am working. Working on connecting to myself and my purpose. Amid change and amid challenge.
Sitting down, writing, to you. To me. I am helping to clear the fog. I've have found some hope in the last few months. Sometimes, it was others who helped me to hold on to hope. Sometimes it was me, having faith that I could. Which hasn't been easy for me. That too, is a practice and the more I do it, the more I believe I can; hold on to hope.
Sometimes my story is hard to tell and hard to share. Might be hard to believe if you know me. But it is. I am looking inward, finding ways to connect to myself. Through yoga. Meditation. Love. And now, after regaining some practice at that since my move, I feel like I can try to connect, with you.
Sitting here, the shore is coming into focus. And I see waves of change and challenge lapping up against a ground rooted in connection. I am not standing strong in connection yet. But I see it. I see it again. And you are there. Everyone is. Sometimes I focus on the waves and not the ground because the waves can mesmorize me into thinking the ground does not exist.
But it is when I see the ground that I see myself. And in sharing my evolving story, I am sharing my ground with you. And I think, if we all look inward, connect with ourselves, and through that place, connect with others...we are sustaining the ultimate connection. The connection that has propelled us as life forward, for so long.
My mentor always says that life is experienced in spirals. Sometimes you dip into the shadow but if you can keep your gaze strong long enough through the darkness, through the fog, you will see the light and the shore again. Wherever you are in your spiral, if it's in the light or the darkness or somewhere in between, I hope you take the time to connect. To yourself and the life you see around you.