Instead of Giving Up, Try This
Last week I fell into an old, familiar trap. Maybe you’re familiar with it too. It’s the trap of needing to say the “right” thing when there is no right thing to say. It’s the trap of wanting to say so many things all at once that it suddenly feels better to say nothing at all. It’s the trap of feeling so much intensity that the intensity hits a tipping point and goes numb, like the icy blue color in the center of a flame.
I read about an experiment regarding choice once. Mice inside a maze were faced with 4 different, possible ways to go and instead of trying them out, the mice just laid down and seemingly gave up.
What I want to share today isn’t necessarily the “right” thing but it’s the thing that keeps coming to the forefront of my mind and it’s the thing that feels like the opposite of lying down and giving up so I’m taking the time to share it.
We are trying to heal in record numbers in our modern societies right now and we are trying to heal in the midst of unbearable tragedies and crises. One after another after another. Healing, under these kinds of circumstances, is an extraordinary task and requires spiritual intervention.
There is no way to take in the daily happenings of our world, metabolize them, release them and go on our merry ways. This just isn’t ever going to be a linear, tidy endeavor. We’re going to need to open our hearts and minds to new ways of coping against the deep impulse to shut down, go complacent or give up, like overwhelmed mice trapped in a maze.
Specifically we’re going to need to open our hearts and minds to a higher intelligence. The levels of violence, collapse and destruction we are witnessing are simply way above our pay grade and capacity, as human beings, to contextualize or make sense of.
Whatever is too heavy to bear is meant to be surrendered.
There’s a particular pain we suffer when we forget this or seek to bypass it by taking the work upon ourselves. We don’t heal in isolation. We heal in collaboration. Not just with other people but with other energies, vibrations and entities. The backlash against “thoughts and prayers” is appropriate if we’re talking about hollow offerings from corrupt politicians. But let’s not forget how powerful the vehicle of thoughtful prayer can be in our individual lives, on a personal level.
The act of prayer is exactly what we’re talking about here. It’s the act of surrendering and opening ourselves up to receive guidance, feedback or solace from a different source than our own limited minds or circles of influence on the earthly plane.
When nothing feels like it’s working, something new is meant to be called in.
The point of despair is the point of real, authentic change. My meditation teacher used to say: it’s suffering that brings us to the cushion. Every meaningful search begins with the realization: I can’t take it anymore. I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t pretend anymore. I can’t self medicate anymore. I can’t lie to myself anymore. I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t endure it anymore. Enough, enough, enough.
“Enough”, is a prayer.
“I don’t know”, is a prayer.
“Please meet me where I’m at and show me a new way forward”, is a prayer.
Caroline Myss’s definition of prayer is still my favorite: a request to see.
When we don’t know and we can’t fix it and we lack the clarity to see the path or the vision, that doesn’t mean we’ve reached the end of the road. It simply means we’ve reached a limitation within ourselves and it's time to seek help from other resources. It’s like when the quarterback is clobbered and looks to toss the ball down the field to the wide receiver who is open. We take it as far as we can and then we acknowledge: I’m inundated. I need my other teammates. I’m not going to score a touchdown on my own.
Your 'teammates' are your friends, your loved ones, your trusted confidants, your guides, your angels, your divinity, your Soul, your higher power - in whatever shape or language that takes in your life. You are not alone on this journey. You have not been alone for one single moment. And your life is not a game you can win or lose. It’s just the experience you’re having at this moment, along an infinite spectrum of the time/space continuum all living things are a part of.
Each one of us will spend time on the field and each one of us will be called out at some point. Someone else will take our place, as the revolving door of incarnation spins around and around. So while we’re on the field together, let’s remember to be mindful of the energy we bring - even in the face of despair. Let’s be thoughtful about the choices we make. Let’s take meaningful action as our Souls dictate. Let’s make the extra effort to be kind to one another. Because it makes a difference on a level that’s beyond our five senses, a level we're meant to trust with all the faith we're able to conjure.
Sending healing, light, protection and love to all,