A very dear friend of mine wrote to me today asking for help. She’s in a place in her life right now where she is questioning everything, feeling irritated, and not knowing what to do. Perhaps my response to her may somehow be helpful to someone else. Here it is:
My Dear Friend…
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have questioned, “is this IT…all there is?” Or, I’ve had the thoughts/feelings that this surely ain’t IT. That questioning/irritation has come up for me in jobs, relationships, school…you name it.
The restlessness is good. The irritation is good. Something is just around the corner and you can’t yet see, feel, hear, taste or touch it. Right now, the only way to know it’s there, is through your restlessness, irritability, and all the ways that affects your emotions and moods. This is GOOD, heady stuff my friend.
Hold on. Take one really deep breath. Take another.
I’ve learned that when I don’t know what to do…I don’t. I just stay where I am for a few more moments…a few more days…a few more weeks, months, and sometimes years (unless it’s an abusive situation). I wait it out. Not always easy…certainly not always comfortable. Sometimes irritating as hell.
Here’s my personal key: sitting outside alone with the forest. Every single time I’ve felt up against it, I’ve gone to the forest alone and just sit there. I go with a specific question or questions…actually write them down as if I’m asking someone in particular. Then I sit out there and I listen and do my best to clear my thoughts out and be empty.
I trust the process and have faith that my intentions, set in the questions I wrote on paper are enough. And I sit…and wait. I don’t wait for an answer…I wait for the silence to come…the silence of no thoughts blaring through my mind…no emotions going through my body. It takes time. Sometimes, it takes tears and screaming and getting all the noise out. I’ve stood in the forest and screamed and yelled and cried alone…until there was nothing left. And then I sat in silence…within and without.
That’s the magical place. In that place of no expectation and no thought…I’ve come to “hear”…in the silence of my heart…what I must do.
The last big time I did this process was when I was preparing to go to Bastyr some years ago. It was August and I had been accepted and financial aid was all set up. My kids were still homeschooled at that time, but I was feeling irritated and emotional about not doing what I really wanted to do for myself. We were going to hire a teacher for them. Everything was perfect. Then…I went to the forest alone, just to be sure I was doing the right thing.
I took a rock…a petrified shell that spiraled around. It represented my intention and my question, “Is it right for me to go to Bastyr?” It would be an 8 year full time process to become a naturopath. I set the rock down in the forest, sat beside it, and then took my time in emptying myself. A few hours later, what I “heard” in the silence of my heart was just a simple question back to me. I just Knew what I wanted and had to do after that. The question was, “If you do not go to Bastyr and instead, stay home and spend this time with your children, 8 years from now…will you regret it? And, if you do go to Bastyr…will you regret missing the next 8 years at home with your children?”
That was it. That was enough. I did not go to Bastyr. There was no way I wanted to, our could, after I “got” those questions.
It was that experience in the forest that led me to wait to work on my Masters degree until now…8 years later. My kids are all done homeschooling. Now it is time for me to reach out. And, I would most definitely have regretted missing all those wonderful years of memories with my children, that we all now get to keep forever. Thank you Spirit. Thank you Forest. Thank me for showing up to Listen.
This is how I work through my irritations and challenges. I don’t have to come up with answers, which makes it easy. I do have to “show up” by coming alone to God, having the faith that it will work out and that the answers I seek will come to me…and then I have to trust the Divine timing on that. It does not always come in a few hours. Some answers have taken years. But, I wait. I trust God. I have faith that I don’t need to know…to Know.
Your irritation is Divine, my friend. God is calling you to listen. It’s the phone ringing and ringing and ringing and it’s driving you crazy. It’s supposed to. Pick up the phone and spend some time in sacred silence…write out your intentions before you go do that…as clearly defined questions. And then, let go…surrender to the fact that you don’t have to figure it out. Open yourself…open your mind, your heart, your gut.
And then go Listen in your own way.
This is what I do.
Remember…it is the irritation of a grain of sand in an oyster that produces the Pearl. You are on the threshold of producing a Pearl.
I’m here for you if you need to talk, and I love you,