For the past several weeks, I have been in the midst of a lull in my spiritual gains. At least that’s been my perception. It feels like my spiritual work is going nowhere, that my mind is moving in chaotic slow motion. And it seems like all I can do is move slowly through the chaos, searching for the change that will lead to fulfillment, being affected by the swirl of emotions as I pass through old pain, and being ushered forward by hope. It is my hope that through writing this blog post, and reviewing my notes from my sessions with Joseph, I can at least begin to understand the lesson in what it is that I am experiencing.
I grew up in a chaotic household, so chaos is something I am intimately familiar with. In fact, there have been times when I have thrived amidst chaos. I have found Peace, during times of external chaos because I recognize that there may be positive changes around the corner, and I can help to influence those changes for the positive. Lately I have been questioning how I identify myself, Joseph calls it “peeling back the onion layers,” but I have been feeling a lot of inner turmoil as a result. I know from experience that on the other side of this turmoil, the potential spiritual reward is well worth the price of admission. But for some reason that knowledge – or hope – makes it only slightly easier. For times like this, Joseph has taught me techniques that have helped me to center my energy, learn more about myself, and more about how I fit in my environment.
For better or worse, the holiday season is a time where many of us see family we haven’t seen in a while. Each year that passes brings changes to everyone, but when I am around family, it can send me right back to how I acted as a child. This is a perfect time to practice Self-Monitoring. Three weeks ago, I went to a festival in my grandparent’s small town where my mother’s side of the family gets together yearly for a pseudo- reunion. For the first time, I made a conscious effort to stay objective as different family members reverted to different personalities or behaviors depending on who they were interacting with. I watched how passive-aggressively certain family members were with one another. I felt irritation and the pull to jump in to participate in the madness but I resisted and I watched. How would I have normally acted in that situation given how irritated I was? Why do I get irritated around certain family members? Having a Teacher or Teachers is so important during this process. Joseph asks the best questions, leading me to the door that holds the answer, but never opening it for me. Most recently, before my one-on-one with Joseph via Skype, I explained to him that I missed exercises and that I just felt off. At that point I was thinking that I have nothing to say and that Joseph and I will have to cut the session short, but by the end of the session, I realized that not only did I have a lot to say, but that there was a tremendous amount of opportunity to learn during this supposed “spiritual lull.”
So back to my first statement: that I am in the midst of a perceived lull in my spiritual growth. Giving a cursory glance at the above paragraphs, I can now clearly see that I was learning and growing this whole time. It may sometimes feel like I’m not but I am. Sometimes it takes time before I can see the change but eventually I will. That can get really frustrating! And then there are the inevitable growing pains, as old hurt and energy blockages are released, or healed, or exposed. Spiritual growth can be confusing! It can feel like no growth is occurring and yet painful at the same time. And change alone can be hard and uncomfortable. It rarely seems to come easy, and when it finally does come, it’s hard to even tell right away. There are periods of time where spiritual growth feels stagnant, doubt creeps in and makes me question whether or not I am doing the right things or if what I am doing is working. When this happens, I now know that there is great potential for learning and growing. I’ve learned the importance of having compassion for myself during these times, to recognize that I am human and that it’s ok to feel whatever it is that I am feeling. I have also learned the importance of hope as I let the desire to improve myself and grow, pull me forward. The positive changes will come if I stick with it.