I believe our work revolves around soul growth, which may or may not look important in the eyes of those who are “worldly minded.”
Our work may be unappreciated and undervalued by cultural standards. And we may remain unknown. We may feel that we are lost in the cracks.
But that doesn’t make our work less important.
Dr. Carl Jung believed we all came into life with one major task—one essential challenge, something that has continued to present difficulties in our life. (I am paraphrasing my understanding of his teaching)
This resonates with me. It narrows things down so that I can concentrate on my most important task.
What is my reoccurring difficulty that plagues me?
I would say comparing myself to others. And being envious and jealous when I didn’t match up. It seemed I must reach a certain standard or I would fail. This was deeply conditioned in me at an early age.
I recently read these words: “The past that hinders your path is your path.”
We can’t very well go forward when the past is dragging us backwards.
Somewhere along the line I didn’t feel safe. I felt I would be thrown out if I didn’t meet the standards set by those around me, my peers, society.
In order to find a place in life I had to work very hard and not let down my efforts. I must be approved of.
Tossing out what others rejected caused emotions to be repressed. They fester in the darkness of the unconscious causing woundedness.
All that is unhealed within us is asking for healing.
This is our path. This is the past that hinders our way forward.
So, my task is to learn to welcome all my emotions and thoughts as they arrive each moment, not just the ones I deem acceptable or am comfortable with.
I am learning to be the “Guest House” that Rumi speaks of in his famous poem.
This requires directly experiencing each emotion as it arrives, and paying attention to each thought—to observe what is passing through my mind. Observe, but not jump onto the train of thought. Let it continue on its way, out of mind.
I open to “the whole catastrophe” with compassion—not indulgence.
Each emotion needs to be experienced, breathed with, not necessarily acted out. It is vital to notice when we project our anger and hatred onto others, and instead of acting them out to seek the roots of these emotions. The light of awareness will transform them.
We are not a problem to be fixed.
I do my best to note when I try to bolt the door to keep the unpleasant out—which doesn’t do any good because it just finds a window.
I have observed again and again that the universe gives each of us just what we need (perhaps not what we want) to grow our souls.
Investigation is part of the solution. Questioning our opinions, especially the ones we cherish.
In my early life, up until my thirties I thought my life purpose was to have a family and bestow upon them all my love.
It was quite a blow to find out this loving family also brought out all my unhealed past. I discovered didn’t know what to do with unruly children who didn’t obey my words.
Through much soul work I became aware of the unruly child that was causing the chaos. It was within me. This one needed much compassion and love for it had been shoved into unconsciousness and ignored all these years.
This is my work. It has no competition, no end, and no retirement bonus.
It has many rewards, but I can’t cash them in at the bank or receive a plaque of appreciation to display on a wall.
Life continues to give us situations that bring up familiar feelings. As the saying goes. It is our past that is our path.
By meeting each situation openly, welcoming it in, dialoguing with the “other” in our journal, and talking with a therapist or spiritual director, I slowly uncover the ways I have been seeing through my old programming, my distorted lens.
This is how I gave my power away. It was no one’s fault. Just the way it was. Now is the moment for healing.
So as each of us finds our work, when we are ready, use lots of kindness, for we are doing much of this work in the dark—which is good because we would hurt ourselves and bump into things if we moved too fast.
Slow is good. Breathing deeply, taking time for ourselves to reflect on our thoughts is vital.
Is this true? Or was it given to me when I was too young to discern? Did I simply adopt what others believed?
This holy work can’t be rushed. I often get off the path. I do best when I admit it and ask for help.
And when I don’t know what to do I remember the Spirit within me knows.
And I can wait for the answer.