I suppose it’s not uncommon to experience a storm while writing about one. Lately I’ve been feeling as if the universe is trying to squash the life out of me. Really, and in all fairness, it’s just asking me to grow up; to make the shift required from my old self and ways of thinking and being into a new, higher purpose. I would assume that as many times as I have done this it would get easier, but I will be honest in admitting that while it doesn’t necessarily get any easier, thankfully, it becomes simpler. I’ve been resisting the idea of writing this article for several reasons, first of which I felt like a liar. Here I am telling people to be brave, to weather the storm, they have what it takes…and then I wake up every morning feeling less and less like myself until I reach the mornings I don’t want to wake up at all. I felt I had nothing left in me to give, that I was tired and unworthy of an audience. So I haven’t written anything in over a week.
The best part about not taking psych meds for depression is that I can feel whatever it is I’m feeling, and hopefully learn from it. Younger versions of me would have been quick to numb the pain of feeling isolated and pressured to make moves by disappearing in a bottle of vodka, pacifying my anxiety with sex, and avoiding my insomnia with a blunt before bedtime. This time, with no job to report to, no lovers to fall into or deadlines to crush, I allowed myself to feel every miserable moment of it. I also joined a support group of women- self-titled, awesome goddesses- who are all going through changes of their own and upon whom I can rely for a friendly ear and emotional support.
Feeling it meant allowing myself to stay in bed when I didn’t feel like getting up, crying for hours, wanting to die, going to sleep and then waking up angry because I didn’t die. It also meant recognizing the mornings when I felt better and being grateful that those mornings actually happened; looking at the house in its deplorable state of uncleanliness, having enough energy to finally clean up, and recognizing happily that I’d made it to the other end of the tunnel without my usual vices. It meant recognizing too that while I felt better, I was still not my absolute best, and that being gentle and loving with myself is the most helpful thing I could do to help myself get better.
It was in this space that I was able to see how many of the thoughts and feelings I’d been carrying all these years about myself and the world around me were so off that it was no wonder I’d been prone to anxiety and depression all this time. I could see my fears as if they were identifying themselves on the theatre screen of my mind- no longer permitted to hide in the shadows of errant thought-messaging. The universe was trying to squash me, but in a good way. The part of me that needed to die was, indeed, dying, and I was grateful. I could face my demons head on now and overcome them, just as I’d done so many times over in the past. Of course I would rise like a phoenix- that is who I am; it’s what we phoenixes do!
And I realized this too- this wouldn’t be the last time I experience this type of shift, just like it wasn’t the first. I pray to god it’s not my last. As I step into the new me, I can see I have so much more growing to do, and for that I’m excited. I’d never want to remain the same-old-me. Living things grow, after all; that is the nature of living. Sometimes growth is painful. Not all pain is harmful. Sometimes pain is a precursor to growth.
This time around, instead of resisting, I learned to embrace my storm.
Instead of running from my anxiety and cursing myself for my feelings of loneliness, I took hold of it and made it mine. In retrospect, I can see how many beautiful things happen in the storm. In the moment, though, we usually lack the vision to see it. Ask anyone who has become suddenly homeless, widowed, childless or parent-less. Ask anyone who has been through a personal storm about the love and beauty by which they were surrounded- the human compassion and prodigal blessings upon which they were bestowed as a result- the outpouring of love and compassion from the community, from family, from complete strangers who live thousands of miles away. In the midst of disaster there is always help, there is always grace, there are always angels. In the midst of darkness, there is always light, there is always love, even if it is just a tiny spark.
And don’t be fooled by people who say things like, “Your life wouldn’t be that way if you would only ______________. That’s bull. Last time I checked, no one is exempt- everyone goes through it at some point, even the most cheery of the bunch. We all have our dark days, we all have our storms. Storms are normal and necessary parts of the human experience.
Storms put us in the unique position of experiencing the grace and unbridled compassion of the universe, we simply have to be willing to see it. It is always there.
I embraced my storm and found a part of me I always hoped was there- the girl who believes in her ability to be successful despite what life throws her way. I found my tribe- the group of upstate goddesses, former strangers and one high school friend- who are beautiful and resilient, who mirror for me the things I need to see in myself and who love me even when I’m in a funk so I can get through it. I found that I have what it takes to weather the storm, and that in itself is the most loving affirmation I could ever receive from the universe.
I’ve decided to call this series Lessons From The Lighthouse, in homage to the imagery found in the film, Life Of Pi. These lessons have served as an inspiration to me in my personal growth and development in the past year and half, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I hope that they are instrumental in helping you find your inner ability to create miracles in your own life.
Light & Love!
To find the entire series, click here.