Dear Kind Reader:
Often the only time I KNOW that a difficult experience is the 'right' one for me is in retrospect. While I am in either physical or emotional pain, a big part of that experience is my asking, even begging, to have the pain go away. Yet, in the larger picture and as I look back over my life – I do see that those truly painful times woke me up, made me softer and kinder and truer and deeper.They are what make me so able to BE WITH others in their suffering. They
were what I needed and certainly not what I wanted.
If I have some kind of physical or health issue, though, it always, always gets my attention. Often, a health issue is the ONLY way I slow down. The last few days, my stomach has been kind of nauseous. The queasy feeling is really
zapping my energy. So, I'm resting off and on these days and just getting done what comes easily. My stomach ache is giving me what I need. It would be lovely if I slowed down without a health issue or an emotional issue, and on occasion that does happen, for now though, I am grateful for the stomach ache.
There have been many times in my life and career where I have taken long term sabbaticals. (3 months, 6 months, 3 years). I didn't plan for these and I surely did not WANT to be off for such extended periods of time. The thing was, I could not keep going. I had absolutely no mojo for working with people. I didn't think I would EVER return to my life as a helping professional.”
Great Mystery knew what I needed each time. I needed to rest, writepoems, paint ceramics, read and read and read. I started making soup and enjoying running the vacuum cleaner. I tried to force the outcome though.There were times I demanded that Great Spirit let me go back to work NOW. After a while, I would surrender once again. I would just let myself be “off” for the duration. I even got to the place of being willing to be “off” for the rest of my life if that was what was best for my soul.
I began to trust that there might be a bigger picture than the one I was looking at. Maybe there was value in the ebb time. Perhaps a great letting go and reshaping of my life was taking place, almost without my knowledge.
When I actually did return to work, I KNEW it was TIME. I could feel a new sense of resiliency and resourcefulness within me. Giving myself what I really needed, had opened the doors of my heart in surprising ways.
When I returned to work, my private practice was full within two months. I had good boundaries. I was able to open my heart as well as protect my heart. I let go of working in particularly difficult situations with unwilling clients. I let go of a kind of hierarchical way of working with people. I just wanted to be equal, offer my skills without ending up on anybody's pedestal. I learned that being on a pedestal is a setup for getting blasted. The gifts that I was using before to work with people had somehow broadened and deepened. My work life became way more balanced and I treasured my personal relationships and time in a way that was not available to me prior to these sabbaticals. While depression was also part of my experience while being without work, this, too, made me more vulnerable and open to
Where this thought that we don't always get what we want, but do get what we need becomes crystal clear for me, is in the times when I have had the privilege to be with the very ill and the dying. So many folks say that their “cancer” turned out to be their greatest gift. It woke them up. Cancer lifted the veil between them and others. They found themselves truly living in the moment. People-pleasing moved to the background and they found themselves being their most authentic selves. Their compassion for everyone else quadrupled. No one wanted to get cancer, yet getting cancer, on some level, was what their souls needed.
I believe that what we truly long for is a close connection with Life itself. I think we really want to show up for what Life is offering in this moment, even if it doesn't look like what we had in mind. In our sweet, old souls we know that what we really need for our healing may look very different than what our MINDS say.
Way deep down, past the noisy rumbling of the mind, lives a sense of well-being no matter what's happening in our lives. I don't always experience that sweet center, but when I visit that sacred place, I remember and I vow to do the inner work necessary to return to this deep sanctuary.
I'm suggesting that we consider TRUSTING that we are getting what we really NEED to do our soul work in every moment. Our old issues reside in the unconscious until we are triggered – until someone or something pushes a
button. Once the buttons are pushed, we have a chance to integrate another piece of unresolved material. That integration makes us more whole, more present and more aware of Life itself.
It's a lovely thing when what we want and what our souls need are one.
Thanks for listening,