I recently posted on my Facebook page a long, lamenting post about how distant I felt from living according to my values and purpose. This year has been tough as my partner and I have grappled with finding the right mix of work, play, family and leisure – long stints apart due to work opportunities overseas and long nights of sleeplessness with a sick, teething or upset toddler have been catching up of late as I’ve attempted to hold it all together with brute force. I had been wrestling, I explained, with the beast of balance. And I was failing.
After I posted, an outpouring of support swept me up and lifted my spirits – not only because of the tide of compassion and kindness – but because so many women told me how much my words had resonated with them. The suffering of feeling so far from where you want to be. The feeling of going ‘back’ to old habits. The deep knowing that something is not aligned and yet the unknowing of how to change things.
Underneath all the exhaustion and the suffering, I’ve also felt a deep sense of understanding that this is where I’m meant to be right now. That this battle has some deep lessons that will fuel the next revolution of the wheel. That this feeling will only bring a re-alignment with what is important and foster a period of deep reconnection with myself and others. I feel very much as though this is the last time that I will be here – and I am being challenged to learn every last lesson there is to learn before I take them forth and not only share and teach them, but embody them as a woman.
One of the hardest lessons for me, and one that I’m passionate about using the wisdom of mindfulness to teach, is that life is not linear. Despite living in a society of before and after photos, despite the masculine construction of time that we live by, despite the deep-seated cultural stereotypes that pervade out very sense of being…. we all know this. We all know that life does not occur according to a steady upward trajectory of growth, wealth, success and wisdom.
Life – like the seasons and the planets – goes in cycles. And so does our growth. Finding ourselves ‘back’ in bad habits, or in old jobs, or in damaging relationships does not indicate failure. It represents that there is more juicy wisdom to be learned, more self to accept, more wounds to move beyond. We get the chance to look at something with a new, wiser, older perspective. We get the chance to tackle limiting beliefs once and for all. And because of this, the circles that we take are always upward.
The most painful part of the circle is where I find myself right now – at the polar opposite of where my soul is calling me to be. The distance feels vast – and yet if I stop fighting it and allow the cycle to be, I will find myself ‘there’ once more. And if I pay attention and notice, the distance – albeit terrifying – offers the most important lesson of all.
The contrast between what is and what I feel it should be not only lights a fire within to lose the externalities that hold me back, but it reinforces my deep, deep desires. If life was linear and not cyclical, how could we possibly remember what it is that we want? It is through experiencing the opposite that we learn what is meant for us and what is not.
And so I want you to know this – because I want me to know it too. You do not need to fix anything because you are not broken. You are not failing. You are not quitting. You are not a disaster. You are not weak. You are not in the wrong place. You are not doing the wrong thing.
You are just being reminded of what you want. And that, my friend, is absolute perfection.