Feeling Adrift

At times the intensity of our emotional and felt experience is such that we have the sense of being adrift. The sense of being in a lifeboat alone in unchartered waters without a rudder to steer us, or even any sense of where we’d go if we had a rudder for steering. During times like this there is a substantive question mark planted squarely over our hearts that says, “huh?” with regard to where we are and where we’re headed. To say it feels uncomfortable is putting it mildly. We squirm in our skin. We often feel foreign to ourselves, wondering where the ever-sturdy, clear-hearted version of ourselves went.

If we check in with ourselves, we might sense thick feelings or sensations in our chest, our heart center, or our belly. It might feel like an ache or a contraction. If we sense more deeply into these sensations—a gentle, quiet return—we might realize that there is deep sadness or grief therein, that when met with the gentle return of the light of our awareness, bring tears of release.

Fear not. This is a powerful place to be that calls for showing up differently. When the old M.O. fails to serve us, a vaster intelligence is at work. Thank goodness this intelligence is encoded in our DNA. It vibrates in our cells. It informs our hearts. It is, in fact, all that ever was, is, or will be. It has the power to stop us dead in our tracks, which is ultimately for our benefit, though it can, at times, feel like an evisceration.

What do we do when we find ourselves feeling adrift? We hang tight, gently and quietly. We give ourselves the space we need in our lives to accommodate our unfolding, which may mean permission not to make plans or show up for others like we usually do. Being selfish is a great act of self-love that is absolutely warranted and needs no permission save that which we give ourselves to tend to the garden of our being. We let go of ways that keep us tethered into the old M.O. … ways of avoiding our experience that include binge-watching episodes, social media, internet, cell phone, and reliance on others for our validation and sense of direction. We rise in the unknown of our experience.

It’s like being in a chrysalis. Transformation happens to the extent that we show up for it. A wise man once said that if you turn a light on in a dark room the darkness must go away. Lucky for us our exquisite awareness—that which is in continuum with all of eternity—is the only light we ever needed for this journey. When we cultivate it, we can use it for our benefit, for our growth. We bring it gently within to that which feels painful, contracted. Maybe to the areas in the heart center, the chest, the belly, or wherever they may be. We show up with this exquisite light with which we were gifted without any labels or story. That means dropping whatever we think we know about the experience despite how convincing or seductive it seems. We show up with just the purity of our awareness.

We leave behind any story that suggests that the pain, grief, sadness, doubt, or uncertainty is caused by ourselves, a situation, or a person. We let any sense of self-doubt that arises because of these feelings just be. We leave behind the old pattern that has us feeling less-than, damaged, or as if “something is wrong with me” because of the feelings. We stop trying to plan because being in the chrysalis is so uncomfortable that we spin our wheels in attempt to be elsewhere.

We simply show up with the powerful light of our awareness, of our being. We bring it to the painful parts. We breathe into them, making our breaths deeper and longer such that they reach the depths of the belly. We stop talking and let ourselves have the experience of that which feels staggeringly uncomfortable. Maybe we gently move our bodies if our deepest intelligence calls for it. We keep returning to the experience when we realize that the light of our exquisite awareness—the only balm we ever needed—is drawn back into story about the experience, spinning our wheels in self-doubt or planning ourselves out of it. We do these things not because we’re trying to change ourselves, but because that is what is warranted. A mother doesn’t hold and rock an infant because she is supposed to, needs to, or because she wishes the child be different. It is simply called for.

We keep returning. One of the single greatest gifts of being human is the ability to begin again, in any now in which we find ourselves. We always have the choice to begin anew, which isn’t something we should take lightly. It is profound. We can choose to gently and quietly return to that which has us feeling adrift and be with ourselves in a new way. We can be with ourselves in such a way that we no longer doubt ourselves and kick-and-scream when we feel the intense pain or discomfort of sadness, grief, anger, or uncertainty. That was the old M.O. We can instead usher in acceptance, allowance, and radical self-love for the entirety of our experience, which ultimately allows for our unfoldment, our transformation in the chrysalis of being. We are absolutely stronger than we think.

There is always a choice, however it requires slowing down and greater care. It requires time alone, and cultivation. It requires finding the legs to stand squarely in the face of self-doubt and beam the brightness of our being, our awareness, deep within the shadows of our nooks and crannies. We are fortunate that we were equipped with all that we ever needed for this at-times difficult journey. Giving ourselves what we need for our chrysalis-time is imperative. Rest assured that if you hang in there and tend to the chrysalis, a time will come when you look back and realize that you were never adrift. You were being given the opportunity to dig deeper and cultivate trust in unchartered waters. Growth is rarely comfortable.

Your thoughts, comments, questions, or musings are welcomed in the comments...