The last month and a bit have been very challenging for me and I have been taking my time returning to writing because I really didn’t know where to start. I have hit lows before in my life, but I never expected to hit such a low when everything seemed to be going so well.
This world is kinda confusing, right? We are taught for most of our lives that more is better, that success is about gaining and winning, but I have to admit, that I have had the opposite experience (and it’s rather tough to deal with). You see, as I meet challenge after challenge – where I used to believe that overcoming said challenge was when I gained my strength (because success is the destination, right?) – I have realised that it is in my recognising the exact opposite (that I have no power at all and must surrender myself) that real inner growth/transformation happens. But it’s not in complete passivity that these amazing changes happen. While it may seem that I am suggesting you just stop trying and do nothing, I am actually saying that *in* that apparent nothingness (where we often fear to tread, because of the world convincing us somehow that we mud continue to create noise and keep the momentum going. You must keep treading water or you’ll drown), I have found that my main “action” has been to simply become willing and open to be still and listen to a power greater than me. By “doing” that, I have become more equipped to deal with the challenge in peace and a certain joyfulness.
By laying my weapons (striving, grasping, explaining, trying to be something I am not) aside, my being has become free to feel, hold and wear peace, and that is when the real stuff gets added on to me. And in a way that I simply cannot take credit for it.
Recently, I have been quite literally crippled by pain. Pain that has spawned new pain. It’s like I have become pain’s own personal slave and I obey it’s every command as it takes me away bit by bit. I have had many days that I no longer enjoy simply walking to the shop without it gripping me tight, trying to hold me back or convince me my day/life is ruined. It takes over every thought and I plan every movement around its cruel and gnashing teeth. If there was ever a time to examine my motives for training, this has been it. You won’t believe the fear I have had of “losing my body shape” or getting fat. You wouldn’t believe the feelings of sorrow I have felt as I lay by the pool wondering if my muscle has fallen away to leave an “typical girl”. In fact, I am ashamed to admit that I felt my very identity was slipping away (as if all I have ever been is a body) and I began to mourn. Mourning the loss of everything I had held dear, feeling the loss of my very self… or was I?
The same thoughts would surface day after day as I attempted the gym or went out to sunbathe at the compound pool (there’s not much else to do here LOL, but thank God, or I’d be so overwhelmed I’d probably not even notice the trend). I’d see other people and become competitive. I needed to look the best, I needed to be the strongest, I must show them! My ego was in a fiery rage within me trying to provoke me to regress back to either seeing myself as my old self (who was strong, attractive, different from everyone else. You know, special!) OR feeling more and more disgusted with myself for not being who I once was. Goading me into putting on a front with which I could prove my bad-assness in front of random people I’d never even met. Yet all the while another voice, gently prompting me to stay put and just … wait.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.“ – Philippians 1:6
As the days went by, and I wondered what on earth I was going to do with my life now that I had become pain’s victim and I would lose everything I thought was important, something rather amazing happened. I became less, my thoughts became quieter, and that was becoming ok. Pain was no longer representative of a threat to my identity, it wasn’t even an identity in itself; it was just something happening to me. When I stopped trying to fill the silences of my life with my own speculation, or the endless feeding of some fantasy of making a radical come-back (going back to my old self), I finally saw what was happening. My ego, no longer being fed by my agreeing with it, was beginning to shrink and retreat. It was like my ego was once the nucleus of me and now it had somehow shifted out from the centre. My ego (or at least I am calling it my ego) must now revolve around a new centre. But what is that centre? I am not entirely sure yet. If I try to name it or figure it all out now, then it’s no different than before as my ego will create edge its way in to have the final say. I shall wait a while to find out.
And in the meantime, I sit without knowing all the answers and sit without needing to; becoming more and more content with “less”. Then, when the time is right, I shall know what’s next.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28