When Your Transformational Sh*t Hits the Fan

Blame it on these evolutionary times we’re living in, but there’s no mistaking that if you haven’t already been called out of your comfort zone (assuming you’re still in one), you will be and probably soon.  2010 sees the universe stepping up its game for those who’ve been clinging to old ways, whether comforting, frustrating or downright confining.  Whether you’ve wanted to cling or not makes no difference.

If you’ve had even an inkling of desire to head in a different direction but have been too comfortable, stuck, scared or exhausted to figure out how, guess what?  You might not have to – figure out how, that is.  The universe may very well kick your ass into position.

What better way to illustrate the point than with the stories of three close friends which all went down during the same two weeks (names have been changed to respect the privacy of the transforming).  Like Earth’s geological shake-ups this year, once things start shifting the energy unleashed has to go somewhere.  As the months tick by, it seems no one is immune. The universe (or God, Source, Consciousness, Life; whatever you chose to call the energy that fuels us) has a time-table of its own, and it appears to be growing impatient.

Delaney

Over the past two years my good friend Delaney has been my “spirituality buddy”.  We’ve each been down our separate paths at about the same pace, often encountering similar road blocks, pitfalls, and challenges involved with spiritual awakening and growth (many of which I’ll discuss on this blog).  We’ve “held hands” along the way, supporting one another emotionally and energetically no matter what else is going on.  Delaney is like me, a “regular person” discovering her divine nature in the everyday.  She’s got the same challenges most of us do – a job working for someone else, nagging kids, a traveling husband, and the demands of managing it all.  No ashram-living or three hour meditations for her.

During the final few months of working on a project at her company which was less demanding than previous roles had been, Delaney began pondering her life’s purpose more.  She gave serious thought to her next career move, and I for one was thrilled to learn of her desire to enter a new field – green energy – that had captivated her since college but barely existed then.  She was mulling thing over, putting out feelers, and dipping her toe in the job search waters.  It was all very friendly and comfy and slow and nice.

Then I told her about Tim Kelley, author of True Purpose.  She stepped up her game a bit and bought the book.  Three days later she was let go (budget cuts) from the big corporation she’s worked for over the last decade.  They’ve been downsizing for last three years and somehow she survived all those layoffs until now.

Once you decide to blossom, when you show only the slightest inkling of spouting shoots above the soil, that’s when the universe gets busy kicking your ass out of where you’re not meant to be so you can get to where you are meant to be.

Paulina

Paulina is a free spirit with a hell of a lot fewer attachments than most of us.  The only friend I’ve ever had who has intentionally and whole-heartedly dedicated herself to the spiritual path (she married her guru) she’s been living in the wilds of a certain small Latin American country ever since her husband and the members of their ashram moved there several years ago.  It’s a beautiful place in the mountains, but really isolated.  They made a life for themselves, became part of a small, sustainable community, bought a big tract of land, planned to build a spirituality center, and in the meantime supported themselves teaching yoga, coaching, and providing retreats.

On the heels of my own recycling marital roller coaster, Paulina called to tell me she and her husband had separated.  He needed space to pursue his next process, whatever it was, and left.  She was emotionally – well, not devastated – but certainly wrenched.  I could only laugh at the irony – not of her situation, but of how perfect a reflection hers was of my own.

Paulina had for years since moving out of the US been in nebulous contemplation over what it was she both most wanted and was meant to do.  She let go of a previous career working for a book publisher as an editor and writer’s consultant, picked it up again in self-employment, then occasionally put it down to try totally unrelated things.  For a while she wanted to simply practice Shirodhara; that broadened into a desire to provide massage and other healing modalities.  And let me not forget the belly dancing career (a possible future choice, but probably not for right now).  Recently, she whittled down the list of likes and dislikes, desires and passions, and focused her direction.  She began at long last to narrow the field. She stepped up her game by eliminating from her life anything that didn’t fit her vision for herself even though that vision wasn’t yet fully formed.

Guess what didn’t fit right then?  It was not Paulina’s choice to part with her husband.  I don’t believe she would have done it voluntarily.  Perhaps it will be temporary, perhaps not.  As I see it, the universe has plans for those who are ready and willing to grow into their purpose.  And the roadmap those plans are laid out on doesn’t normally have streets named Comfort and Ease.

Katie

As if I didn’t already have whiplash after hearing Delaney and Paulina’s stories, in the same two weeks’ time came Katie’s.  Katie has had a life of leisure and relative luxury.  Married to an older man with money for sixteen years and without kids (he’d already had his previously) they traveled. They shopped. They boated. They golfed – a lot.   Since I first met Katie in college, previous to her married life then throughout it, she  has had an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

For at least a decade I chalked her up to just being a “partier” (hey, I was too in my 20’s) but as the years progressed, the faster the partying caught up with her.

It was only in the last twelve months that Katie finally faced the harsh reality of her addiction.  A variety of outpatient counseling and treatment facilities weaned her off the drugs and hard liquor.  Still, she struggled with going cold turkey, until a few weeks ago when we met for lunch and she (through a bottle of wine) told me her plan – arranged with her therapist – to go alcohol-free for fourteen days straight. Since the next day was her birthday, she’d naturally be starting her “cleanse” after that.

The universe had other plans.  Katie was arrested for drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident on her birthday.  Finally forced by circumstance into 28-day inpatient detox program in an attempt to voluntarily do everything possible to avoid a rough sentence, she got one anyway.  Six months in county lock-up.  That’s right, jail.

Katie stepped up her game by admitting her problem and beginning to heal.  Not only couldn’t she do it alone, she also couldn’t control the timetable.  The universe said, “You finally ready girl? You really serious? Okay let’s speed this up, get this over with” and put her on a path that led to a place where the healing would be total, and hopefully, complete.  Neither I nor she (nor most anyone) would have chosen drunk driving your way into prison as the path and the palce.  The harsh reality? Once we start walking, we often have little control over the route.

The last few years have been chock-full of fan-hitting transformational shit in multiple forms: geological upheaval in the form of earthquakes and volcanoes; climactic upheaval in the form of hurricanes, floods, tsunamis and melting glaciers; economic upheaval on micro and macro scales manifesting as collapsing economies, bankrupt countries, companies, and people, and personal job loss; relationship upheaval in the form of divorce, death, war, genocide, loss of purpose and even loss of hope.  But there’s another side to this apparently tarnished coin.

The universe is positioning us where we each need to be individually as well as positioning societies, communities and even humanity as a species where we need to be to evolve.  No one ever promised evolution was going to be painless.  It is, however, necessary to our survival.

So what do you do when you get that ass-kicking from the universe?  When you’re thrust rather than eased into where you need to be?  Here’s what helps me:

1)      Don’t resist.  See every crisis as an opportunity.  Realize there’s a bigger game being played than what you’ve known as your individual life.  Besides, resistance if futile (remember the Borg?).  More – resistance is painful.  There’s no going back, and would you really want to anyway?  Take it as your wake up call to move on and stay moving.

2)    Nurture yourself.  Change isn’t easy or comfortable, especially if you’re not used to either much transformation OR much ass-kicking.   Cut yourself some slack, feel what you need to feel, and give yourself a safe place to be vulnerable in doing so.  Then as you’re feeling and releasing and processing, avoid the pitfall of analysis paralysis or receding into a cocoon of a different color.  DO take care of yourself (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) but DON’T avoid.  After proper nurturing, you should be ready and eager to move ahead.

3)    Keep Walking (even if it’s just with baby steps).  That’s right.  Get up and keep going.  I guarantee you inaction will get you one thing for sure: nowhere.  And even an uncomfortable somewhere is better than being totally stalled.

You don’t have to run.  You don’t even have to walk.  You can crawl.  Forget crawling – you can belly-scoot.  The point is to get into positive action as quickly as possible.  The universe can’t course correct you when you’re standing still.

Not all transformations will be nor need be painful rebirthing transitions.  However, I believe many of the changes happening now are sudden, certain, and painful because abruptness, clarity and discomfort create fast and drastic change.  And in case you haven’t seen Al Gore’s new book on climate change, let alone believe any other theories regarding the future of humanity, fast and drastic change is what’s needed now.  The old ways aren’t working anymore.  We’re out of time.

So tell me, has your transformational shit hit the fan? If so how? And what did you do?

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  • Dana Wilson

    I am dually astonished and thankful at how timely this article came. I’ve been strugglng with change, not only in my own life, but helping one of my adult children through it as well. Without divulging into lengthy explanation, the process (for both) has been immensely difficult and *excruciatingly* painful. I keep repeating, “Real change is never easy and can be really painful, but will proceed nonetheless. Within every obstacle is a blessing” like a mantra, to myself, to my adult child and to his wife (who is also in the thick of it). Most days, it’s all I can do to just…stay…focused. I really needed this today, Karen. It’s as if you personally reached out across time and space and put your arm around my shoulder, giving me strength in your complete understanding in The Process, by sharing these stories. Thank you — infinitely — for sharing your Love and Light.

  • Dana, thanks for your comment and you are very welcome. Remember, while change *can* be painful it doesn’t have to be. It is only and always our resistance to change that causes pain. But to not resist, we must surrender, and usually fear stops people short of being able to “let go and let god”. Let’s not be addicted to struggle, but instead understand the moving into the unknown, even with fear, is better than resisting it and staying stuck in the pain.

    And yes, stay focused only on what is in front of you in the here and now. Longing for the past or projecting into the future are also surefire ways to remain stuck or in pain. Neither past nor future exist in the NOW – so if you can stay in the present moment, you’re doing great! If I have helped you it is truly my blessing, so thank you again.