Most of us began the New Year with a bang. With written down goals, dream board, drenched with ambition. I began the New Year empty. Maybe even numb. Why? Honestly, I don’t know. All the books I’ve read, motivational mojo I’ve listened to, and people I’ve talked to hadn’t clued me in to the root cause. Quiet. That’s how I’d describe my inner space for the past six months. Just quiet.
It’s not unusual to enter the winter months in hibernation mode. In fact, the coldness of the season beckons us to curl up with ourselves under a warm blanket. And though part of me was quite excited to take a season to rest in solitude, another part of me was wrestling with… Emptiness.
I literally felt as if I’d lost much of my soul. My passion. My purpose. For a few weeks, I didn’t mind feeling this way. It gave me time to reflect and rest. But after a while, I started getting anxious. Scared. The emptiness started feeling a lot like the depression I used to have. The simmering depression that journeyed with me much of my life. And I started thinking, “Oh my God, what if this is depression and it doesn’t go away? What if all the inner healing work I’ve done was for nothing? What if I can’t find my way out again?”
I thought maybe I was dealing with a physical illness. Maybe sinus infection? Chronic fatigue? Mono? Or worse- cancer. Now, granted, through this time I was spending some time in meditation and prayer. I was seeking counsel. I went to church. Worked out. I was doing the things I knew to do in order to get some positive momentum going, but still, the void was still there. Then one day I simply decided to accept it. I decided that I would live each day as it came, in the moment. I decided I would increase meditation time and frequency, to contend with my thought life. I decided I would lean into the emptiness, lean into my soul, and navigate life from there. Navigate from the unknown.
Giving up control. See, for me, control is important. For me, control is safety. I like to know what’s going to happen and all the details before I do anything or go anywhere. It’s a security thing. There’s been a good many times I’ve been paralyzed by fear because I did not know what to do or what was going to happen. I talked to my counselor about this. He said maybe the reason I’m feeling negative feelings is because my life is relatively peaceful. No drama. No one to take care of or see about. No toxicity.
Just peace. And maybe peace is not very familiar to someone who grew up hypersensitive in a dysfunctional home, walking on egg shells and people pleasing. He said, “What if you were to pop your head up (like a gopher), look around and realize that.. All is well? You’re safe. Secure. And it’s your right to enjoy it.” Immediately I felt a release. I had an “aha” moment. What if? What if I could lean into the unknown and the empty, but instead of calling it that, I could call it peace? What if I could lean into peace? Spaciousness?
I think it would feel better. Maybe not perfect, but it’s not perfection I’m after. I’m after moment by moment presence, being led by God. Believing that God is my source of security, peace, and joy. Believing that each season of my life has purpose. Today, I write this with hope bubbling in my veins. I’m still contending with the mind (thoughts), but regular meditation and prayer are helping me become more of an observer of thoughts. After all, they’re not reality.
Today, I’m still navigating the landscape, wondering about some things, but I’m alright. I’m right where I need to be, passion brewing, and love abiding. And grateful. I’m so grateful.