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May 23, 2019

Real Awakenings are Not Elegant—they are Messy, Ugly, Shattered & Raw.

 

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I want to have an awakening like they do in the movies.

You know, where the protagonist experiences their quantum shift with elegance and grace, leading us, the audience, into a wonderful montage (complete with awesome music) of all the ways their life will now improve.

They get an amazing new job after sending out a few résumés; a random run to the coffeehouse yields them a phone number from their dream partner; they ditch their sh*tty apartment and relocate to a house that they can now somehow afford very easily; they make up with their asshole father and go fishing. All in the span of mere weeks.

And, after the montage is over, we witness the protagonist looking back at the crossroads that brought them to this new, wonderful place in their life, all the while contemplatively smiling and drinking a margarita.

Reality check, please.

Real awakenings are not like this. Far from it. There is no montage, there is no music, there is no shortcut to the next scene in which we will somehow now be miraculously happy, at peace, or in love. We can’t fake it. We can’t skip the middle. We can’t yell, “Cut!”

With real-world awakenings, there is a lot of crying. There is a ton of confusion and doubt and questions and shock. There is deep-seated socialization and conditioning that gets unearthed, leaving us wondering what the hell we believe/want/know/feel now. There is the messy middle and feeling terrified in the middle of the night and that body issue that for sure got cleared up in therapy but is now rearing its ugly head…again. There is the wondering if anyone else ever feels like this, and, if they do, why aren’t they talking about it?

Awakenings feel like our heart is breaking and being pieced back together again at the same time. It feels like all the parts of ourselves are at war and they are inviting us to come along for the ride. It feels like we are caught between this person we say we want to be and the person we are right now (who is a complete mess!). It can feel wretched one minute and like we are on cloud nine the next. Sometimes, it just feels sloooooooow.

And then, in the middle of the awakening, something happens. A flash of a fresh perspective that shifts the entire world on its axis, a rush of love to the heart that makes us grab our chest and catch our breath, someone telling us that we matter, an old wound that finally, finally heals. Something releases. Something surrenders. There is a softening where there was once a hard place. There are moments that feel like we are being hit by a ton of bricks and knocked over by a feather at the same time.

Awakenings tear us open. They expose all the yucky stuff, the shameful stuff, the secrets, the dreams that were never given a voice, the relationships that imprison us, the words left unsaid. Awakenings are a mirror we can’t turn away from, even in our ugliest, most tattered gown. They force us to get real, to get honest, to get transparent. They ask us to up level.

Awakenings don’t just come for anyone. They seek out those who are strong enough to take a hit. Awakenings don’t f*ck around, because they have a mission: to help us arrive. To arrive at our deepest place of love and compassion. To arrive at our endless inner wisdom. To arrive at the tender crossroads of accepting ourselves and loving others. To arrive at the place in which we are in full trust of who and what we are. To arrive at our shattered places and pour some light over them.

And when we do arrive, we realize we have been cleansed, blessed, and prepared. We understand that those dark nights of the soul were an opening for our raw truth to claw its way out. We are humbled that our greatest pain has now become our biggest teacher.

The truth of who we are is not in how well we can contort ourselves into who the world says we are allowed to be. The truth of who we are is when we stop contorting. When we stop making excuses. When we stop lying to ourselves that we are satisfied when we are not. When we stop believing that all the beautiful experiences in life are reserved for other people.

Awakenings allow us to realize all the ways we make ourselves small. All the ways we try to fit ourselves into other people’s rules, limitations, and beliefs. All the ways we have rejected ourselves and not honored our own wisdom.

We change when we realize that there must be another way. When our inner truth is so loud that we can’t find any more excuses or distractions to turn the volume down.

We must answer the call. We owe it to ourselves.

So, give me the messy middle because I want all the good stuff on the other side of it…including an amazing margarita.

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Elizabeth Gordon

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