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Are You Waiting or Wallowing?

pig-wallowing

For the last several months, I’ve been waiting for guidance, the answer to my prayer of “where do I go next?” I’ve been at peace most of the time. Occasionally, I grew sullen at what I perceived as a delay. And once or twice, ego became really engaged and I felt frustrated, even resentful. “I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to,” I wailed the other morning. “What else do I need to do?” Clearly, waiting had turned into wallowing.

Movement of any kind felt like slugging through mud. It was hard to make that phone call I knew I needed to make or write the e-mail or finish the blog. Stasis is painful. The worst part is that finding the way out of it and into movement of any kind can seem like climbing a mountain when it’s really only washing the dishes.

It can feel a lot like depression. I love the distinction Caroline Myss makes between psychological and spiritual depression. Psychological depression is what occurs when you don’t have the things – job, relationship, house, status – that you believed you would. Spiritual depression occurs when you’re on the road to discovering who you really are and you see another layer of who you’re not.

I’d recently identified several things I “believed” I was and now realized I wasn’t. Stripping the layers of who you’ve told yourself you are can be painful. But as Gary Zukav points out, “pain by itself is merely pain, but the experience of pain coupled with the understanding that pain serves a worthy purpose is suffering. Suffering can be endured because there is a reason for it. What is more worthy of your pain than the evolution of your soul?”

Fortunately, the morning of my little meltdown, I had volunteered to distribute the newsletters for the local civic association. It took everything in me. My body hurt. My mind was foggy. But I had made the commitment. In gratitude, I stepped out the door, a bundle of newsletters under my arm.

Twenty minutes later, as I made my way into someone’s yard, I tripped and fell. I sat in a strange driveway crying as I examined the scrape on my shin. It was a perfect metaphor. The imbalance I had been feeling on the inside had manifested on the outside.

After a moment of wallowing, I got up, mascara dripping down my cheeks, and continued on my route, whimpering as I went. It wasn’t physical pain that brought on the tears as much as it was a realization of how incredibly out of balance I had been. I spent the rest of the day being in the moment – feeling all of it. The trust. The fear. The confusion. And then I took a nap.

The next morning, I had clarity. A clear picture of the next step. I don’t know how I’ll get there, but it doesn’t matter. I asked and I waited. Yes, there was a little wallowing involved, but I chose to move instead of staying stuck in it. Freedom comes from movement, even if you don’t quite know where you’re going.

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