When I was growing up, anytime something would go REALLY wrong, my dad used to tell me to say 'Thank You--I don't know why--But Thank You'. I would roll my eyes when I was very young and say, "Why would I THANK anyone for this?"... but as I got older I saw the wisdom in thanking every opportunity for the wisdom it contains...no matter how uncomfortable.
I've been a bit M.I.A the past few months because I had a shit--er--crap-- (rated PG blog!) February and March. I will spare the (mundane, but difficult) details and just summarize as: everything I had relied on for things to run smoothly in my life was quickly pulled out from under me leaving me exhausted, in physical pain, apathetic and depressed. These dark feelings quickly spiraled lower and lower and my exit out of the darkness proved to be harder than I anticipated.
Luckily I was familiar enough with darkness in myself (and my clients) that I had my wits about me to realize I was in DEEP and needed to reach out for help. I was a bit disappointed at first that despite having all my tools and skills close at hand, I had zero energy to use them. I even asked several times "OK....THANK YOU! What am I supposed to be learning from this?!?" but no answer...
I resisted the darkness for a while, which proved difficult with such little energy to bounce back, so after several weeks of feeling dragged down deeper and deeper, I stopped resisting and allowed myself to fully surrender to these feelings.
Surrendering is not easy for my clients, and admittedly it is NOT EASY for me either. However, when we can't stand back up easily after repeatedly getting knocked down, it is usually a sign that there is something on the floor that is worth our attention.
I allowed myself to completely 'check out' of my normal social routines, rest as much as possible, practice mindfulness more than normal (but I'm still not great at meditation!), and then once I got some energy back asked again, "THANK YOU! What am I supposed to be learning from this?!"... a few answers started coming.
"Ask for Help!"
For so many of my clients, I am their 'last straw'. They know they can't do it alone, but due to many reasons, they try again and again until they realize, "OK, I finally need help with this!".
I was the same way... "I literally help people with this all the time, I should be able to help myself" I thought. But it wasn't until I reached out for help on my 'tour-de-health' (natropath, counselor, spiritual healer, physical therapist) that I realized what I needed (and what I didn't) to get back on track.
Asking for help is humbling and vulnerable (especially if you consider yourself a healer), but we really can't think our way out of our problems. Sometimes we need the support and guidance of another to get us to a place we can feel our feet on our own path again.
"Heal Past Hurts"
Ok I will blame Mercury-in-Retrograde for some of my darkness (!), but the purpose of this hectic astrological season (that happens four times a year) is to go inside, reflect, and heal so you can move on. I was harboring some past hurts that were really holding me back in my life.
A combination of a counselor and a spiritual healer were just what I needed to help me through some painful memories that were rearing their head and demanding to be dealt with during this time. It is interesting how the same emotions that hurt me in the past were the ones that needed to be addressed in the present. This further reinforces that our lessons are cyclical and will spiral back to us to be understood in deeper ways when we are ready. I know it will return in a deeper way one day, but for now I think I understand what I am meant to before it cycles back.
"Flow over Growth"
This is a lesson I have failed to learn over and over again in my life! I am one to value the yang/active act of growth over the yin/passive act of flow. Yet when we push instead of pull, we get trapped (think of pulling a Push door over and over again and wondering why it won't open!)
It was an epiphany from a book that lead me to this realization and I recognized my problem right away. I was trying to push through something that needed me to just 'go with the flow'. Once I did, things fell into place and lessons became clearer and clearer.
I share all of this with you because it is important to know that EVERYONE goes through these dark moments, and sometimes we get trapped in them longer than we like. While it is important to ask "Thank You, what are you trying to teach me?"--sometimes it won't answer you!
Recognizing when it is time to get help is a vital skill that we all need. What does yours feel like? Mine is both embodied (I feel like I have the weight of the world on my neck/shoulders--which leads to migraines) and visual (I see myself treading water with my head barely above water). These are my signs: ALERT! GET HELP!
Then, sometimes when we surrender to the help offered, we get those lessons we so dearly need. Reach out... :)