I do my best to have these Monday messages up in the morning, completely unsure if it makes a difference to anyone but me. But I don’t always succeed because many Mondays are manic. This week I’m back in class, starting today (online *eyeroll*), so the delay.
It’s common notion to think of transitions and transformation, especially on the heels of adversity, to be like jumping hurdles. Some struggle, a big jump, and there you are. Transformed. So often, we emerge from challenging periods in our life with new mottos like “positive vibes only” or “happiness at all costs”. And while that has it’s place, sometimes it pushes us to unconsciously avoid the challenges and hurdles that may come up for us ahead.
Growth, self-development, transformation is a journey without an end point. If jumping hurdles is the analogy to take, then it’s a process of continuously jumping hurdles while taking the time between them to process and integrate. There is no arriving, rather continuously journeying. Hitting rock bottom, scaling hurdles time and time again. And to that extent, the journey requires some adversity, a healthy degree of frequent challenges. Situations that stretch us. Situations so intense that they quite literally kill an old self, so a new self may emerge. Transformed.
The Eight of Cups speaks of journeying into the dark unknown. Dire straits, points of no return, the worst experiences. Rock bottom. It’s where realise how little we know, and how much there is for us to grow. In feeling unprepared and unsettled is often the healing.
We don’t look at healing as a means to avoid pain and confusion, rather opportunities to gradually build our agility to be able to meet and engage with adversity in a healthy way. So much opportunity for healing lies in the darkness. Go there. So you may emerge, healed and transformed.
If we make healing all about engaging only with what feels good and comfortable, we risk losing out on the potential to grow from facing adversity. But when we make intentional and conscious living an ongoing focus, we open ourselves up to adversity, and we build the emotional agility to challenge, heal and transform through the testing, gruelling periods of unsettling territory before finding settlement in new ways.
Because life isn’t uniform or linear, we should expect and prepare to hit rock bottom. For it is where we let go of old tricks and bravely discover new answers. There are essential lessons in allowance, to be found in adversity.
Letting go of safe shores and getting to be okay with the wholly unfamiliar, unsettling and often devastating places the journey may take us to, is often the path to emerging into enriched versions of ourselves.