“In the midst of darkness light persists. In the midst of death, life persists.” ~ Ghandi
In early summer of last year, my world became very small and quiet. A combination of illness and clients completing their work with me en masse left me feeling adrift at sea, an experience I wrote about here. I did feel, at that time, that there was something meaningful in the timing and circumstances of that confluence of events, but that doesn’t mean it was smooth sailing. It’s been anything but.
It’s been a long year of waiting and watching, worrying and wondering. Waiting, patience and trust are simply not my strong suit. But waiting, patience and trust are vital to any grand endeavor, even when you don’t actually know what that endeavor will be, or if it will be. Anything good and meaningful takes time, and that’s just a fact; never mind if it’s hard and frustrating and scary as hell and makes you crazy and you have serious doubts as to the grandness that may or may not be waiting on the other side.
Well, after nine months adrift — nine long, tedious months of illness and waiting — something downright amazing occurred: the peeking of what perhaps might be a new little life on the horizon. Two months ago, I received an email from a conference that I’ve attended in the past in Arizona. It’s the sort of junk mail I usually trash without opening, but for whatever reason I opened it, and the first words I saw were, “Call for new speakers,” and before I even read the thing I was saying, “Yes, yes, yes!” and jumping up and down.
This is huge. It’s on par with Cinderella being invited to the ball; a once-in-a-lifetime sort of opportunity to win a speaking spot at a big, hotshot, spiritual conference where people like Deepak Chopra give keynote talks. I’ll just say this: I know a synchronicity when it lands in my in-box. Having imagined speaking to an audience for years, and having spent all these months in tears and prayers, meditation and frustration, you can bet that I see Spirit’s hands all over this. It might as well have been handed to me by an enormous Being of Light with great, giant wings; it was that obvious, that momentous. After months of not knowing where I was headed, I had a direction, and a very clear and big one at that. Suddenly I was energized, focused (I better get that dang book finished!), and genuinely excited — the opposite of everything I’d been feeling for many months.
In the wake of this opening it occurred to me that this difficult time was, at least in part, preparation for receiving this offering. In the dark times of nothingness the ego begins to dissolve and the soul stirs and deepens. In the dark times we refine who we really are: what we value and what we truly want. This painful, invisible work is what creates the person we need to be to enter the new life that is coming. I used to say this to girlfriends who were single and oh-so-anxious to meet a guy. I’d say, “This is the time that you need to become the person you need to be in order to receive the guy you really want.” Same principle.
It’s so easy to forget this truth when you’re mired in the muck of it. Doubts and fears cause you to question whether anything is happening at all. But it is. The dark has its place. It has purpose and meaning, even when it sucks. Even when it hurts. Even when you hate it. Even when you want nothing more than to get out of it. Like grief itself — the very subject of the talk I’m pitching to the Powers That Be and the subject of my upcoming book* — the dark times, while dreadful and onerous, are also meaningful and valuable. It’s all good, even when it’s not.
So, while I’m a big, fat baby who whines and moans and is afraid of the dark and complains about the length of the journey and keeps asking, “Aren’t we there yet?” I really do know better. Part of me knows better even while part of me freaks out. The whiny, fearful stuff is also part of the process. It’s part of being a spiritual being in a human incarnation. We are both/and, all the time. It’s a wild ride.
I don’t know what sort of chance I have for “winning” this speaking gig, but I do know that after what feels like an eternity at sea, I’ve spotted land, and even though I still don’t know exactly where it is I’m going, or what I’ll find there, or if there’s anything there for me at all, it’s land, and seeing land after months at sea is happiness enough for me. For the time being.
*Grief Girl’s Bedside Guide to Grief: How to Do It, Why You Should, and What’s in It For You. Coming Fall, 2018.