In the past, when I was on a certain medication, I experienced mood swings that made me feel both reckless and fragile.
The changes in mood were abrupt and unsettling, and it seemed to strip me of the ability to cope. During that time, I wrote a handful of confessions, too dark to utter aloud but that needed to come out.
Now that I’m no longer on the medication and no longer experiencing the mood swings, I wonder what dark sediment lies below this surface. If I could just reach deep inside, would my fingers brush and disturb the silt lying quietly in the dark?
What would rise out of the darkness, if I only took the time to look?
When we choose the path of growth and change, we’re accepting a certain amount of struggle and risk. However, we’re also opening ourselves up to blessings and possibilities. It’s a balancing act to continue transforming ourselves while also taking care of ourselves through the pain of that transformation.
There may be points along the journey where we need to allow ourselves a break from the work. We may need to take time just to recharge and to regain our balance.
There may also be times where we have to push ourselves to keep digging deeper, particularly when we feel stuck.
Lately, I’ve been in a recharging period. I know that I’m about to be required to dive deep. However, before I’m able to do so, I need to allow myself to heal. It is important that I prepare myself for the work ahead by finding my center, whatever it takes. I have a feeling there will be a hefty combination of meditation, yoga, extra sleep and a few nourishing rituals to get myself to where I need to be to complete the work I so clearly need to do.
When we face this kind of inner-work, we can often allow ourselves to be paralyzed by our fear of it. It can be frightening to explore beneath the surface because it’s uncomfortable, oftentimes painful.
However, when we become aware that there is work to be done—whether our issues surface in dreams or become clear during times of great change—we know we are ready to address them, simply because of our ability to acknowledge that they exist. The very fact that we know that there is work to do means that our souls are ready for the work of making that change. Even when we feel that we’re not up to the task. Even when our souls are weary at the idea of the challenges ahead.
And the reality is that we can run as far and as fast from these changes as we’d like, but they’ll still be there. We can’t just delete them. We can deny, and we can avoid, but they won’t go away. Our struggle becomes more difficult the more we try to avoid meeting them head on.
So, when we become aware of the work ahead, we can choose to face it. We can choose to care for ourselves in a way that will allow us to work through it and to find the opportunities and blessings hidden inside of that struggle.
My experience has been that when our struggles are great, so also are the blessings that result from them. Often, we’ll get in our own way by refusing to go down the difficult path of change. We’ll deny our own behaviors, absolve ourselves of any wrongdoing. We’ll refuse to accept accountability for our choices and their consequences. And when we do these things, the struggle becomes more challenging. The pain from avoiding the struggle multiplies. It’s only when we get to the point of acceptance of the role we play in creating the lives we’re leading that we can move forward and lead the lives we actually want to lead.
Our dreams are just ahead of us, but we’re often too short-sighted to see it—we are too busy obsessing over avoiding any pain or discomfort.
What if we changed our perspective?
What if we realized that everything we’ve longed for is just around the bend, if only we work through what’s in front of us? Would that help us to move forward with enthusiasm rather than fear?
In this recharging period, I’m using this as my mantra.
We can remind ourselves that all of our dreams are just there, out of our reach at the moment, but soon to be held gently in our hands—because our hands will do the work of digging deep, excavating whatever dark sediment lies above our treasure. We’ll refuse to be afraid of the work, or we’ll choose to do the work even if it scares us. We’re the ones who keep reaching for those dreams, even when no one else believes. And we’re the ones who keep working on ourselves, even when it’s painful, even when it would be easier to be one of the ones who never do the work and never chase those dreams.
Because we know that in the end, our struggle is worth it. Our dreams are worth it. And we cannot have one without the other.
So we will hold on. We will be open to the signs that it is time to change ourselves. We will allow ourselves time to heal. We will do the work. And the treasure of our hearts, those precious dreams we’ve spun out into the universe, will be ours.
“Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Emily Bartran