Last year around this time I went on a 2-day intensive writing workshop which I thought I had loved, and oddly I have not written anything other than social media posts since then. I found the weekend both inspiring and traumatic, and was awed by the quality of the writing, or maybe I was completely intimidated by it. I was definitely way out of my comfort zone and recently I have found myself being in a space where I am questioning my personal and professional “why”.
Since my return to South Africa in early 2014 I have been pretty clear on what I was trying to achieve and it really feels like a lot of my goals are coming to fruition. And that has left me with an odd emptiness. I don’t feel like I am lost, but I am also not really sure where I am going at the moment. It’s like I am walking along an unfamiliar beach, with the coastline on my right and the landscape on my left. As long as I keep walking I will eventually end up somewhere, and I feel a serenity that I am not going to be walking in circles. This “vision” is extremely vivid for me at the moment and I’m taking this to mean that I am on the right path and I feel confident that I am going in the direction that my work to this stage is pointing me. I am just not overly sure on what I am hoping to find when I reach some sort of settlement.
I’m really not used to feeling like this. The serenity is oddly unsettling, but I can still become anxious over my day-to-day professional responsibilities. Managing a substance abuse treatment clinic is all about learning to balance the crisis, chaos and conflict that our clients bring into the environment on a daily, even hourly, basis. Yet, I have become empowered in that space to understand that it is not my dysfunction and have started to become somewhat detached. I do not mean that I am aloof or lack empathy, quite the opposite, but I am able to hold the space in a way that doesn’t detract from my well-being and peace. Most of the time anyway… There are moments when I can get quite overwhelmed and have to go back into certain relationships and own my behaviour, but that’s all part of growth as I see it.
Of course this “lull” could just be me in the eye of my (life) storm…that strange quietness that you feel when the wind suddenly dies down and there’s an eerie stillness on the streets. Or perhaps it’s the dawn after the storm when everything is coming back to life after being beaten and bruised by the weather. Maybe I am just connecting more with the earth through these thoughts and actually living in a more grounded, present way? It always seems easier to be the coach and assisting someone else through their process than trying to figure it out for myself. I guess the personal work has to become embodied and unconscious at some point in our development…
I think that just sitting here and writing, the thoughts are becoming a little clearer around where I am at in my life. I’m reflecting back to my reason for not writing and I know that ego stands arrogantly at the root of that. Feeling “less than” or “not as good as” others who are prepared to be vulnerable and put their truth into the world. I am reading the final chapter of “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown at the moment, and grappling with what my two (you’re only supposed to choose two) core values are. Picking 10 or 15 would be easy, but when narrowing it down to two, I am challenged to think about which of those I can easily identify as values are in fact my core values. The ones that I can use to check myself in life. And I believe that authenticity is one, and I want courage to be the other one. Yet, when I fall prey to my inner critic around something like the writing (or lack thereof), I can hardly own up to living into my value of courage.
Maybe this blog post is about me being courageous about it and owning what I have been avoiding. I don’t think it’s only about ut the writing to be honest. I guess it’s about showing up in parts of my life that I might have been avoiding recently. It’s about taking some time to understand myself in this new phase and reconnect with my why, from a place of self-love and -compassion. So perhaps I am really living into my values of authenticity and courage by being able to see where I have not been very courageous recently and identifying where my egoic, inner critic is still holding court.
What I have learned in my personal recovery process is that being well is relative to the recovery capital that we build. And at the moment I am having to work around my spirituality which I see as my connection to myself and the world around me. This place I find myself is not one where I am driven by fear or anxiety, but rather a real curiosity as to where I am at the moment. I know the feeling of sand between my toes, the salty taste of the coastal breeze and the reassuring rhythm of the rolling surf, I’m just not sure which beach I am walking along. For the time being I am going the keep going and enjoy the warm touch of the sun. I have faith that I will get to where I am supposed to be if I stay open to the experience and what I am discovering within myself.