Adrift. Betwixt. Between. Limbo.
I was feeling all of it last November when I realized I needed a creative ritual to see me through the end of the year.
For a couple of days I pondered one compelling idea after another, until finally settling on what was right in front of me: writing prompts I’d put together for the end of 2012.
Open the journal and give the pen free reign.
Freedom. Free writing.
So I started. And it was good. Over a period of several weeks a lot of bottled up stuff flowed out, some of it brilliantly shiny and bright.
Some of it intensely shadowed and cloudy.
There were disappointments. Resentments. Judgments (self- and other-directed). Anger. Bitterness. Hurt.
So here’s where I want to stop and ask you a question.
Have you ever had an experience where this shadowy stuff comes up and you think you must take some action?
That’s what happens for a lot of my clients. They might ask: What should I do about this? What decision should I make? Do I need to end this relationship? Or quit my job? Or fix this part of myself?
Often I ask back: Could you just be with it for awhile?
Because really you don’t have to do anything right now.
In fact, it’s probably best to chill with it for a bit. Let it work its way out to the place where it reveals its wisdom to you.
I know how difficult and uncomfortable that can be though. I think that’s why we don’t do inner work more often. Maybe we believe we’re too fragile to cope with it.
But the thing is, there are some very powerful ways to cope and be with it.
I ended up coping with my shadowy stuff by diving back into it, intensifying the dark feelings and words, ranting more of them onto the page. Multiplying them until I was spent.
Then I covered them all up with black paint. And used chalk pastel pencil to add (in a smudgy way) the most insightful and revealing words from my original free writes. The words that really stopped me in my tracks. I knew I didn’t want to lose those.
But I didn’t make a very conscious decision about any of this. I had no idea where I would end up. I just let my intuition lead.
I’m so glad I did because eventually the clouds started to move and I found myself at another threshold.
A beginning. A door opening to the light.
More painting. More writing. Until a flowing image emerged that looks an awful lot to me like a woman dancing with joy and abandon.
Thank you, Inner Work.
One of the most life-affirming things I know is that while there will always be shadow there will always be light, somewhere, balancing it out.
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