The Message in the Mess

For full article visit: Elephant Journal. Published February 17th, 2020.

Have you ever felt stuck? Lost? Enveloped by a debilitating confusion of where to go next?

Or perhaps you know which route to take, but the timing is not quite right. The Universe holds you back, calls for a pause, edges you further into a frustrating void.

It can look a lot like depression. Some may even call it an ‘existential crisis’. Living feels boring and mundane. You know there must be more to life than this, but secretly fear that there’s not.

I know that place well.

Sometimes I fall apart, sometimes we all do, and that’s okay.

I could dress the discomfort up with fancy quotes. I could give you a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ speech. I could offer reassurance that you ‘need not worry’… but I won’t.

The truth is, life is a struggle when I struggle.

When I decide this is not where I’m supposed to be, when I try to rise above it with ‘love and light’, when I become my greatest critic about all the things I must be doing wrong or am failing to do… I am struggling.

Surrender on the other hand, is taking a deep breath and courageously declaring, ‘I feel like sh*t!’

And quite often, as much as we might want to avoid it, the answers lie in that sh*t.

Life has a way of taking us on a downward spiral. Hitting these transformational shifts, we are plunged deep into a state of surrender and observation. Lost in an uncomfortable admission of ‘I don’t know’.

And then I become aware – the discomfort is an invitation.

It is a calling for me to be fully rooted in this present moment; no more running, no more fighting, no more hiding.

Time to feel, not think.

Time to descend, not ascend.

Time to stop.

It is the tales of the Ancient Greeks, it is what Joseph Campbell called ‘The Hero’s Journey’, it is what stories as old as time are shaped around. It is the spiraled flow between our layers of consciousness:

  • Down to the Underworld (subconscious) where we face wounds and the shackles of our false identity and beliefs.
  • Up to higher-consciousness, where we meet and embrace our greatest potential and capabilities.
  • Settling back in this middle-world, to integrate and ground all the lessons from the lower and upper world.

When I surrender to this flow, I am free.

I have descended to the underworld, tangoed in the depths and faced these shadows, many times before. I can sit with this discomfort, again once more.

Fear attempts to convince me that rising from it this time will be impossible. Yet experience shows I will transcend the innermost cave with further wisdom, clarity and self-awareness. All that’s required is faith in the necessity of the lessons and trust in the process, to guide the way.

For it is during these inward journeys of release that we shed layers that no longer serve us. It is in that deep-rest that our mind, body and spirit cleanses itself, allowing the inner-voice to be heard. It is par for the course of growth, if I answer the call.

I relinquish the illusion of control, release the need for answers, let go of all labels that falsely define me. I concede to being nobody except exactly who I am right now. Feeling into the experience of this present moment.

It will not break me. It will not break you.

For you are the tree, that bends with the winds of change, and yet never breaks.

You are the river, that flows with thunderous rapids until the calm stream unfolds.

You are the Phoenix, crashing to its death in flames, only to rise again from the ashes.

The destination is irrelevant. The message is in the mess. It calls for you to meet it, to listen, to take comfort in the solitude of the process.

No one can do this for us. It is a deeply personal retreat. An acceptance of your individual metamorphosis phase.

So, if you find yourself in a state of ‘I don’t know’, at a crossroads, lost and confused – own it.

Explore, talk to someone, meditate, journal. Feel your way through.

Lay down the battering-ram, discard the running shoes, and meet the ebb and flow of your humanness head-on.

Heed the invitation of the abyss; pull up a seat and deep dive inward.

Written by: Suzanne Winser

Image: Andrew Neel/Unsplash

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