It's hard to believe nearly two years have passed since I last posted a blog entry here. Ironic, given that COVID brought most of us to a near standstill in terms of our interactions with the outside world, encouraging (some would say 'requiring') us to stop, look inward, and take stock of our lives and the world around us. I'm no exception, and in fact have largely welcomed a sanctioned slowdown and withdrawal from the busyness of life. As a contemplative, growth-focused person by nature, my tolerance for being in the quiet and navel-gazing is very high. For me the most challenging aspects of this protracted period of "downtime" were, initially, holding the high-watch for those close to me and staying out of the ever-present waves of fear moving through much of the world. Easy for me to say, yes, because I didn't lose anyone close to me to the pandemic, nor was I thrown into a transition I didn't ask for. Have there been struggles? Of course, basic needs are real. But whereas my spiritual faith was strong before, it's even more so now. As messy as our world looks now, I have become even more convinced--for me the signs are everywhere--that God, the Universe, Source, Gaia (by any name...) is intentionally and lovingly pushing us along stressful, often painful paths of growth and positive transformation that we have resisted choosing for ourselves and the planet. In other words, I believe everything we are going through is intentional and for our highest good.
Still, when I moved out of the Bay Area after decades there last November, I wasn't at all prepared for the deep-dive into the shadows that Spirit had in mind for me. On another site, I wrote starkly last year about the shattering experience of finding myself in a hazy, confounding relationship with a narcissist who had been lying and cheating on me profligately through most of our tumultuous year together. I couldn't believe after decades of working on myself and considering myself to be a pretty darn healthy person that I could fall prey to the twisted web of such an individual. Despite being a long-time psychotherapist, concepts like 'love-bombing' and 'gaslighting' were new to me (narcissism had not been a primary treatment focus among my clientele). They say lived experience is the best teacher, and I certainly learned a lot! Not only while the relationship was going on, and I watched myself slip (back) into old patterns of co-dependency and "rescuing" (as if that's a real thing), ignoring red flags left and right, but after even more so, when Spirit brought me to a beautifully peaceful little home where I got to look at myself and my soul every day in order to dive even deeper into the shadow work that I thought I had finished long ago. LOL. My new metaphor for this is mucking one's stall, and boy did I need my tall boots! I went back into my deepest, earliest experiences to look again and even more assiduously into what was still lurking there and asked it to come up to the light of my awareness for healing. I always tell prospective clients that therapy is not for the faint of heart, and rarely fun. But the peace, clarity, freedom, and love, of self and others, that we experience after we've done the work is nothing short of magnificent. This past year has been incredibly painful at times, but I wouldn't change it for anything; I'm at once profoundly transformed and yet more truly myself than I've ever been. The whole time I was aware that I was creating a very clear demarcation between Life 1.0 and Life 2.0, that the deeper work I was (again) doing was moving me forward into a new way of living, loving, and seeing that can't help but be the doorway into a life I can't wait to live. As I prepare for yet another literal move, further south to be close to my son, I am filled with positive anticipation of what light is waiting to be born out of the shadows.