Last night I had a dream in which I felt trapped. I found myself in an excavator and harnessed in, like I was riding a roller coaster. The harness over my shoulders was oppressive, and it felt as if a forklift was pushing down on me. As well, because of the restricting and forceful nature of the harness, I was not able to control the levers in the excavator. In some crazy manner, the excavator operated by itself. It was digging and digging while climbing steep banks and there was nothing I could do. I felt completely helpless.
At one point in my dream the excavator moved inside a large warehouse causing structural damage to the building. No matter how desperately I tried to reach for the levers and stop the madness, I was trapped. I felt trapped in a machine that was out of control, the weight and pressure of this load felt unbearable, and I was scared.
And then everything went black and I found myself weeping. It was here, in this precise moment, that my dad came to me and told me it was okay – everything was going to be all right. I can still hear his voice; it was kind, gentle and reassuring. At the sound of his voice I could breathe again.
It has been over 20 years since I last heard my dad’s voice. To be honest, I’m not even sure what his voice sounds like anymore. But last night, in that moment, it was the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. Maybe his voice was the voice of God. Maybe the excavator was my life. Perhaps I feel trapped and secretly believe I don’t have control over my life, where it is going, or what I can do. Maybe.
And perhaps you feel this way too.
First I want to reassure you – just like my dad did in my dream – that everything is going to be all right. It’s okay. You’re okay.
Second, lets take a moment to reflect on this feeling of not having control over our lives.
It wasn’t my choice that my dad took his life. Trust me when I tell you: it took years to learn that I did not play a part in causing his death with all the shit associated with this tragedy. All the fighting, guilt and shame. All the “if I had only done this, or said that” playing over and over in my head.
Let me state: the simple truth is you don’t have control over so many of the things that happen in your life. You don’t have control over earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions. You don’t have control if your spouse decides to quit on your marriage and leave you for another person. You don’t have control if a drunk driver decides to get behind the wheel of their car and kill a loved one. You don’t have control if the company downsizes and you lose your job or if one day, your child becomes ill and never recovers.
Learning to fully and completely accept this truth will allow you to experience courageous transformation in the way you live your life.
Because learning to fully and completely accept this truth equips you to stop the cycle of blame, and as a result, once again enjoy the sweet and nourishing fruit of freedom and growth.
Acceptance, forgiveness and learning what is, and what is not within your ability to control, are essential steps toward cultivating clarity of being, purpose and action.
Therefore, what is within your ability to control?
In an interview with Oprah around the topic of discovering our authentic self, Richard Rohr stated, “If you and I do not transform our suffering, we will transmit it.”
If we don’t want to become victims and live in a constant state of bitterness, anger, despair and resentment, we need to harness the God-given gift of choice with which each one of us is blessed. Through the struggles and pressures of life, when it feels like the rug is being pulled from underneath you, it is easy, so easy to forget who you truly are. And then it becomes very easy to believe that you are your failures, your thoughts, your emotions, and your outcomes. Once this belief takes hold, clarity of being, purpose and action are quickly overrun by fear, worry, guilt and shame.
In the next post, we are going to take a closer look at who you are through the eyes of four key archetypes and how seeing, and living your life through these archetypes can courageously transform your world. But until then, I invite you to ease back and finish today’s reading with an excerpt entitled, Even in the Dark by Mark Nepo:
Seldom seen, growing along the ocean floor, the white plumed anemone is a watery blossom. It is white lace opening under tons of black, opening as if bathed in the sun, while so far from the sun. This is the trick to staying well, isn’t it: to feel the sun even in the dark. To not lose the truth of things when they go out of view. To grow just the same. To know there is still water, even when we are thirsty. To know there is still love, even when we are lonely. To know there is still peace, even when we are suffering. None of this invalidates our pain, but only strengthens our way back into the light.
Today’s Unitas Project:
- Take a few minutes today to intentionally pause and breathe. While you focus your attention on your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling, place your right hand over your heart and feel its pulse – feel its life force flowing through you. Give yourself permission to stay in this moment with your breath and your heart and mind flowing as one, and as you do, what do you notice is different now? Give thanks for this moment. Give thanks for the gift of life flowing through you and in you.
Until next time…
Be You. Be Unitas.
Photo of a white anemone from iStock Photo