Today’s guest post comes to you from my very clever and gorgeous friend Lucy Bourchier from Something to Move and I just know you are going to devour this piece… Enjoy her words. Claire x
As chance would have it, these words came to me in meditation. I sprung up, dived for my pen and crunched my knee on the side table to get them to you.
Alas. It’s almost fitting, really.
You’ll soon see why.
The persistent ring of an unanswered phone overlaps the industrious, deadline-driven thumping of keys. There’s my bulging to-do list, another meeting request, and my fake smile that says: “Yep. I’m totally fine.” But my palms are sweaty. My pounding heart chimes in to the steady rhythm of pressure.
This was my life not too long ago: overwhelm, pretence and fear. Pretty normal I thought.
But today that’s not normal. I cracked a smile writing that because I almost can’t believe it.
How did it happen? I’d really like to peel that back with you today.
It started out as stress relief: a kind of clutching for my sanity, really. I was curious and (maybe a bit desperate). Could this “practice” I’d heard about at yoga and on flyers at the local coffee joint really purify my wound up mind?
Almost certain it couldn’t but forced into hope, I decided. Hitting rock bottom has this magical way of loosening your prejudices.
Today I’ve got more to hang my hope on because this equivocal practice of being in life has, well…
But they forgot to put one crucial caveat on their meditation flyer at the coffee shop.
It doesn’t fix anything.
It pulls you out of your life, holds your head in position and your eyes open so that you can see it. The irrelevance of most of what we obsess over and waste ourselves on becomes painfully clear.
To start anew we have to break away first.
Silence, it has been said, is so accurate. But it’s not always immediately helpful. I had no idea how to digest the glimpses of bittersweet truth I was getting in this place beyond the drama of my mind.
This is why I struggled so hard.
When I began to see, so much of what I’d been enmeshed by started to loosen its grip on me. Intuitively more so than deliberately, I started pulling back from the things I’d always willingly participated in. The beliefs and behaviours that held me so steady in position, were crumbling around me.
I remember blurting out my panicked confession to a close girlfriend: “I’m losing all of my opinions. I’ve got no idea who I am anymore.”
Hold it right there sister. You’re trying to sell this to me right? That all sounds pretty hectic like, so I’m just going to walk right over…
I totally agree with you, but hear me out.
It’s like an intruder breaking into your home, smashing and tearing down all of your cherished self-delusions so that all your left with is the broken shards of who you used to be strewn across the floor.
Well, at least in my case, that’s piercingly accurate.
You would be absolutely forgiven for giving me the appropriate comeback to all of this: ignorance is bliss.
But I hold you there because my failed attempts at living there have taught me this:
Ignorance holds no meaning.
Ignorance doesn’t get to the crux of that intangible unease you have with life – or brighten the shadowed corners of your heart. Bliss doesn’t walk around pondering in disbelief: “surely, this can’t be all there is…?”
That was my ignorant bliss before that somebody broke into my life and smashed a lot of shit up. It was moulded by convenience and default, but not by intention. It was comfortable at times, but dangerously choice-less.
Reflecting on my practice today, the dips and curves that it carved into my life seem perfectly contoured. Ahhh, sweet, sweet hindsight.
But at the time I craved so badly for someone to tell me that I was where I needed to be. I ached to know that is was all leading somewhere.
And that is why I wanted to share this with you today.
Four stages of transformation:
Illuminate: You’re going to see your life and its cluttered contents in a light that wasn’t possible before. Simple but transformative.
Detach: You’ve now been entrusted with finely tuned bullshit radar. You will start to feel less attached to the superfluous clutter jamming your vitality:
The toxic habit
The job you don’t belong in
The worry you pinned to your outward perception
Conflict: You’ve graduated with an exhaustive list of “things I am not”. But you will have precisely no idea who you are. Staring down the great abyss of the unknown, you may scramble into retreat. You may cling to old habits that keep you etched in that old self-portrait. But you’ve outgrown this now – best to just let it go.
Jonathan Fields calls this place the “thrash” – the stop that nobody wants to take on motorway to self-discovery. Persist here because we’ve all got to take this exit (many times) to get to where we’re headed.
Support: Just when you thought you were ruined and you flunked it at being a functioning human, something unworldly will swoop in, like a Sherpa to heave your battered soul over the epic mountain haul ahead.
When you fall, and you will – I’ve got you, is what it seems to say. And it will offer you the fiercest, most protective support you’ve ever known.
If we can appreciate these cycles of change, perhaps we can give ourselves up to its ebb and flow. We can stop creating unnecessary friction (like I did) and gripping to the walls of uncertainty.
Because my Dear, change is a cryptic lesson in losing control. The clarity it leads to can only be attained after we lose every inch of it.
This is growth. Really it is. And like everything it will change and fade away and come again.
My struggle through the process of truly seeing would have been eased had I known that from the beginning. But like all great teachers, this practise doesn’t teach you a thing. It only allows you to discover.
And one heck of a discovery it’s been. The jagged path of growth is licked with one constant condition – a steep gradient of doubt. Self-doubt occurs when our blind trust in the absolute truth of ourselves loosens. This is not an identity crisis it’s re-connection.
If this where you’re at, just hold onto your seat.
Today I operate from a paradigm that is far, far away from “blissful” ignorance. Today my life is anchored by choice and the terrifying (but exhilarating) responsibility entrusted with that liberty.
But I do not doubt that I owe this to the tumultuous relationship I have with a brutally frank friend of mine that I pondered in doubt at the café that day.
This has been my practice and practice it remains.
Lucy Bourchier is a spirited blogger and writer, curiosity fiend and a passionate self-sovereignty advocate. She is the creator of Something To Move, a community devoted to sifting through the layers to our inner potential. She’ll be cheering you on as you create and fulfil yourself through authentic expression. Lucy is a yoga teacher to-be and a budding entrepreneur. She is currently completing a Diploma of Positive Psychology and NLP Certification.
Some powerful and insightful reflections, right? Share with Lucy and I in the comments… How has your meditation practice (or any other practice you indulge in for that matter), positively enhanced your life?