Friday, August 17, 2018

An invitation to integration

If we do not engage consciously in the process of dissolution—embracing disappointment, deflation, and disenchantment as it appears—life may bring it to us, by way of transition and upheaval of all kinds: the ending of a relationship we thought would last forever, anxiety over unexplained symptoms in the body, the loss of a job, an unexpected depression, the inability to find meaning.

Without the restorative waters of dissolution, we remain stuck in habitual consciousness, subject to the narrow band of lenses through which we have come to perceive self, others, and world. It is through their illumination that we harness the resourceful power of the imagination, wildness of the heart, and vision to move forward.

On the surface, the response is obvious: “YES, I want to heal, awaken, and feel alive. Of course, this is what I most want. I will do whatever it takes to realize who I am and why I am here. I am ready. No more holding back.”

While we can honor the authentic call to change, we must simultaneously attune to other parts that have no interest in confronting the real-world implications of transformation, which can be shattering. When we heal, the way we have previously come to organize our experience—the things we liked to do, those we found ourselves drawn to, the ways we shared our wounds with others, the familiar references points that provided identity—tend to fall apart. They can no longer be utilized in the same way, to confirm who we think we are and what we need.

It sounds good on the surface, even thrilling, but true transformation is destructive as well as creative, not usually supportive of the status quo. When the contradictory voices and feelings appear, before you conclude you have failed and are doing it wrong, slow way down. An invitation to integration has appeared. A portal has opened.

Rather than meet the surging ones with shame, judgment, and aggression, travel inside and liberate the creativity buried within. Realize the magnitude of what is being truly asked of you. Replace the ancient pathways with new ones oriented in curiosity, compassion, and mercy.

Art by Johannes Plenio/ Munich

My latest book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

My next event: 

The Great Befriending: A Five-Day Journey of Self-Love, Deep Rest, and Coming Alive (with Jeff Foster), September 21-26 in Loveland, Colorado