Have you ever considered that those things that are ‘eating at you’ are there to devour any part of you that is getting in the way of your inner most purpose, and composting it? That those things that keep you up at night, that keep revisiting you no matter how hard you try to “overcome,” “let go,” “process,” etc. are actually ‘your mission if you choose to accept it?’ The aching we feel isn’t about running away from or anesthetizing it; it’s a message to get inside and do something.
Everywhere you go you meet it in some form or fashion; the things that haunt you; the things you try to be okay with, but aren’t; the patterns that keep showing up to knock you off your footing; the pea under the mattress that keeps you tossing and turning. They are the things that you keep coming back to again and again: anger about an injustice, battle with addiction, an issue or cause you are passionate about, relationship patterns, an oppressive myth you want to dispel, an illness, stagnation, etc.
It doesn’t matter that you changed locations or relationships or jobs and decided to wear a “positive” attitude: ‘changing your thoughts to change your life.’ These discords live in you. You are the keeper at the Inn, and also the tour guide. If we abandon what occupies our rooms, we abandon parts of ourselves and dissonance becomes accumulatively load bearing – and our very purpose could be lost on us. Because accompanying all of these things are the visions and the voices you are gifted with. We carry in us the dysfunction of our culture, our history, our ancestors, our parents, and the fact that we are disquieted by these things is a good sign of life; a spirited wake up call. When it feels like something is wrong, it might very well be right.
Rumblings precede cracking, and cracks are openings that free a caged potential.
The irony is that the enormous amount of resources it takes to keep these gnawings at bay (albeit unconscious) is often greater than what it takes to uncover and convert them into something life-giving. Repression takes more energy than expression, but because expression is outwardly experienced, we tend to think of it as more exhausting, when often it is the other way around. Calcifying falsehood only appears to be innocuous. Turn towards what is bedeviling you. Treat it as an informer, a messenger and see what happens when you inquire into its nature. There is a story there and you are not only its teller, but its source for healing – in you and the world.
We don’t know until we turn towards it, that in the light of day, it loses the ability to threaten us, to weigh us down, to control us, to cause dis-ease. Let’s face it, what we don’t give recognition to terrorizes us more than that which we recognize. If only we can trust the process; going in slowly and with a good head lamp. Stay the course. Endurance is built over time, on the field and not by sitting on the sidelines; and although very difficult, the long-term reward pays in dividends.
We may never get to know why some themes are present in our lives. Especially because they are things we would never choose consciously, and in fact may be things we’d ordinarily run from (our demons), but there they are, wanting to be used as our muse to make a change, to alchemize, to transform one generation to the next. When we consciously decide to participate in our own evolution, transformation happens much quicker and we become more alive, contributing to the vibration of something bigger than we thought ourselves to be.
As I was finishing this article I got this post on Facebook, a Joseph Campbell quote that speaks to the inner calling:
“When you follow your bliss, and by bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it, and doing what the push is out of your own existence – it may not be fun, but it’s your bliss, and there’s bliss behind pain too….And I think the best thing I can say is to follow your bliss. If your bliss is just your fun and your excitement, you’re on the wrong track. I mean, you need instruction. Know where your bliss is. And that involves coming down to a deep place in yourself.”
Joseph Campbell in The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work, p. 217
©Jessica Bahr – 2012