I distinctly remember when I read this sentence in Adyashanti’s book “The End of Your World” – What do you know that you wish you didn’t know? The bottom dropped out of my stomach. You know, the way it happens when you are driving rather fast over a particular kind of hill in New England and you catch a bit of wind so you have a momentary sense of weightlessness, and then – ugh – your stomach drops hard (My husband Jacob’s family calls it a “Thank you, Ma’am.”).
I knew then, after reading that sentence, what I did not want to know – that it was time to leave a relationship that was no longer working for me. I loved Robert. I knew he loved me. Our soul connection was deep. In past lives, we had been in almost every familial relationship possible.
Whether you believe in past lives or not, you couldn’t deny the genuine care we had for each other. But on a very practical level, the 17-year age difference just wasn’t working. He was headed towards retirement in an intentional community in northern New Mexico and I was looking for a way to re-tool and earn a living after recovering from a life-changing car accident. I was becoming more active and he was slowing down.
A Time to Slow Down
I remember feeling that way again after a year of serving as the administrator for a Unity Church in transition between ministers. Jacob and I went for an extended vacation to San Diego because I was exhausted and needed a break. I loved the congregation – I had been a part of it for a decade – but I just couldn’t go on anymore. I needed work that didn’t demand so much of me each day as we worked to produce a weekly Sunday service.
And yet again, there it was, the sinking stomach when the adrenal fatigue set in last year after working myself to exhaustion at a beloved college. A knowing that I wish I didn’t know but could no longer ignore.
Each of these times it took me a good while (and a good many therapy sessions) to be able to act on that knowing. But each time, the “good while” was a bit shorter. I was able to get past the dithering, the swirling, the fear of not knowing what’s next or what people would think a little bit faster each time because I had done it before.
I was becoming practiced in hearing the next step and taking it. I came to know and trust that I would walk out the other side in a better place physically and emotionally. That I would be held and cared for by my loved ones and the Universe/Spirit/God. That a new life direction would unfold as I walked into it, and it would be better than I could have ever imagined.
Learning to Trust, Gaining Clarity
Through these challenges, my faith (in myself, in something larger of which I was a part, in life itself) deepened. I sharpened my capacity for discernment each time I moved through the process of unraveling the feelings that swirled around inside (fear, excitement, disappointment, despair, uncertainty, terror, grief, freedom, etc.)
Each time the clarity and acceptance came more quickly as I quit taking things personally (QTIP). I still had to feel my feelings, but I became less resentful of that process and learned to trust I would get through it. And that my life would be better on the other side.
The Process of Processing
As I’m writing this, I find myself wondering “Where did all this come from? Why this topic?”
You see, when I sit to write a blog, I breathe, pray, and start writing with only a wisp of something. Like a wisp of smoke from an incense stick. Then as I type, the floodgates open. The words come flying through my fingers and mind at the same time. I hardly know what the teachings and learnings are until it’s all out. But I always know it will be a story and I will learn as much as the person reading it.
The answer to those questions came quickly this time–because a LOT of people are struggling with these kinds of knowings. Knowings that we want to avoid. Knowings that if we acknowledge, we can’t easily dismiss. Knowings that require something of us we don’t think we have.
Knowings that, if acted upon, will require us to grieve.
So. Take a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Maybe even sigh it out. Acknowledge to yourself if there is something you wish you didn’t know. Maybe write it in a journal or draw it.
Then, check out these books. They have helped me move through this journey of life from the inside out – listening to my intuition, soul, and gut. I hope whichever you choose to read will help you, too.