Spiritual awakenings that I've experienced, read about and seen in friends' lives often hinge on a specific timeframe. Things may feel like they've ground to a halt in that timeframe until what issue that needs to move moves. Usually at this point, most of us don't really feel like we're on the doorstep to an awakening. We're usually frustrated, pissed off, ready to give up, freaked out, or some other garden variety of upset emotions that we have when life isn't playing by our terms. But then it hits, you let go. You see the issue in a new light. Things shift and resolve and the whole world opens up to you. You're suddenly like, "Damn! What just happened? Was that really what this all was about?" And just like that, you're unstuck, and life goes faster.
Expansions and Contractions on the Path
I've talked about expansions and contractions as the usual process on the spiritual path that I've seen. In a contraction, virtually anything I touch explodes in my face. Even in the job world where I've had a magical touch at times to find awesome jobs, even there things blow up, and I can usually pretty much forget anything happening on the dating scene. During this phase, I've shrunk back to the lowest energy level I naturally hold, and I get to hang out with whatever fear is lingering on down there. If I work that through, then suddenly everything starts opening up again. New friends enter my life, recruiters hurl job opportunities at me, girls want to date me, and so on and so forth.
I've noticed that when the initial awakening kicks in, those cycles of expansions and contractions happen really fast. To the outside world, people will think you can't hold a job, stay in a relationship, or sit in one space for too long. It looks like you're out of control, lacking commitment skills, etc., but you're really changing fast. Most other relationships in your life won't be able to keep up during this time period. It becomes really important to expect this transiency. You just got unstuck. Good job! This is the other side of that coin. You're going to need to hold virtually everything lightly and give yourself plenty of room to explore yourself, what you can do, what you can be, and what fulfills you. If you have relationships that hold you lightly, those are the ones most likely to travel with you during this time period. Others that feel needy or draining will be anathema to you, and you'll most likely leave them.
That's Not My Experience At All
Everyone has different paths and experiences things differently, so I'd welcome any comments from people who have experienced the initial part of their awakening differently. If someone has had a history of being commitment-phobic, I could see the bigger turn in their lives of having to stay in a relationship because that's where their growth potential is greatest.
I don't have a commitment-phobia, although I don't seem to last long in romantic relationships (they tend to be really intense and fast; I feel like I pack a whole bunch of experiences into a few months with whomever I am with). Personally, I'd be happy to hang out in a job or romantic relationship I really liked for several years. Since my spiritual turning point, I've only been able to find one job that could hold me for a year. Contracting as a freelancer helped me during my initial shift, allowing me to work on small projects with a variety of different companies.
Rest: Catching Your Breath
It will be so important to find moments to rest and spend time in refuges with spiritual communities, friends, and the like to catch your breath. Pausing to journal and to simply be are huge. You'll need to integrate all this change on every level of you from your mind down to your pinky toes so that body, mind, heart, and soul are all on the same page. It's been a bit of a struggle for me to do this. I often feel like I have re-realizations as a different part of me learns the lesson that other parts of me already know. So I continue to spend a lot of time just sitting and being, letting it all sink in. Deeper and deeper, and then the next thing in my life hits.
Today's lovely photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky
Stiller. Please feel free to check out more of her beautiful work on this flickr link.