For those of you keeping score, I’m taking liberties with what many have interpreted as the end of the Long Count, the Mayan calendar that completes next week on Solstice. Mostly, I’m taking inventory of events in my life and coming to fierce conclusions about what they mean, or unmean, as the case may be.
Most of you know, particularly those whom I’ve known since childhood, that I’m a very driven person. Not so much a planner, though assuredly led by some deeper drive to accomplish a particular desire. I know how to bring things into being. I know how to manifest, even if I do it with a sledgehammer and crowbar. And those of you who know me really well know that drive has always revolved around empowering others. In fact, a lot of you who go way back probably knew that before I did. Imagine how fortified I felt to learn in my late twenties that my greatest spiritual goal, my life purpose, as it were, was just that. Specifically, I learned that I came into form to have as many diverse human experiences as possible, so that when I spoke to others about surviving and thriving, I wouldn’t just be talking out of my ass. I would know; I do know.
I designed many facets of my life by that purpose. Why wouldn’t I? I had the stamp of approval of the gods. That’s what ego does. Its job is to protect the form, which is accomplished through taking very esoteric concepts and making them formed, or at least tangible in some way. It takes classes. It tests principles. It jumps hoop after hoop until a concept is wisdom.
I’ve devoted all of my adult life to this process of centering my many experiences of human strength and frailty. Through my shamanic work I’ve even spent 15 years helping others discern their life purposes, so they could set themselves on the proper course of personal development, soul awareness. This year, though, something changed.
I’ve felt it coming for a while, acutely after the birth of our twins. I didn’t realize what it was until now. Some time in late spring, early summer, I began to feel keenly that I have no life purpose. My guides affirmed it. The Runes spelled it out. Everytime I came to them about this feeling, I drew Fehu, the soul coming into form, then Uruz, awakened personhood. The constantly shifting scapes in my dream state and spirit worlds supported it. I felt this truth through everything, yet in my experience of How Things Work, it just didn’t make sense. All of the conventional spiritual teachings (some of which are quite old) inform that we all have a purpose in coming into form. That purpose may not be vividly detailed and doesn’t preclude choice, yet an overarching mission of the soul drives how the self is created over the course of a life, possibly lifetimes. Did not feeling connected to a life purpose mean I was finished with human life? Was I about to be hit by a bus?
I don’t know if this insight is coming to me now because we are approaching this end to an ordering of time that, whether we have consciously subscribed to its truth or been delightfully oblivious to it until recent hype, has engraved its existence on the back of our cultural pocket watch. Maybe I would be arriving at this awareness had I reached this experience in any timeframe. I can’t overlook that regardless, I’m having it now, and given that synchronicity, I finally understand the time of untime.
There is no life purpose. For me, holding onto that singular principle around which I create myself is its own organized religion, a limiting structure that stopped working for me in my teens. Whatever task to widen my empathy came before, it’s gone now. I completed it, or at least completed it in that ordered, linear way. I can’t express how discombobulating and post-traumatic this insight has been, is still. Yet, it is what it is. I can only move forward in my truth as it is in this moment, and my truth is only this moment.
Living with no sense of life purpose means creating living vividly in the present. It means exquisitely connecting with All Things, not because I can, but because I am All Things and in that animistic realization lie my answers, my solitude, my truth. This is the life without a net. This is the leap. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what I will create of myself from this point forward, because I’m creating her now. I do know that if you’re feeling similar distress, it’s okay. This kind of leap isn’t your undoing. It’s actually, perhaps, your very first actual doing.
Thank you for coming with me on this journey.
Kelley, Since the birth of my beautiful daughter 13 yrs. ago, I feel very emotional with too many things at one time. My work life, marriage, and neighbourhood, have caused me to have the feeling that someone or something does not want me to be comfortable in my own space/skin, and overall happiness. My dad passed just 3 months prior to his eightieth, Mom is eighty two now, and I fear my husband is leaving me. My resilience is gone. Could you help? Joy
Thanks for your note, Joy. When I look into the era just after having your daughter, I feel a sense of being let down. This sense has nothing to do with your daughter, but with the general climate of postpartum and culturally finding one’s way into new motherhood. This feeling of having gained incredible insight and wisdom through pregnancy and childbirth, through the early developmental states of parenthood, only to share it with… every day life. You had this amazingly transformational experience that was so profound and life-altering, yet you didn’t really have anyone to share it with. Yes, you could talk about your daughter learning to walk, finding your way back to your own job and interests. This is not about those sorts of things. The deeper personal revelations about who you are and how you were changed went unheard, and eventually unspoken.
This unexpressed shift is where I see the source of the discomfort. When we have amazing experiences such as yours and have no one to witness them with us, no one who can serve as our tribe, the life force of that experience becomes bottled up. Instead of blossoming into new thoughts, new directions, it becomes a kind of post-traumatic stress cul-de-sac. Some people refer to this as spiritual emergency. The force of that wisdom is still there, it just needs expression.
To a degree coming from a marvelous experience back to the mundane is normal. We all have to pay the bills, wash the dishes. Yet underneath those things we still have to maintain some kind of current that supports our wild inner selves and hungry hearts.
At present you are undergoing many external shifts, which push buttons for these unhealed facets of your last major life change. Much of the tension you feel now isn’t really about the events happening now. It’s an echo from not being heard the last time you had such challenging yet formative upheaval. Knowing this distinction is critical to not becoming overwhelmed in the present.
Your guides’ direction at this point is to pause, observe, and learn what the current changes have to teach you. As you become aware of how they educate and affirm you, write about it. Paint it, draw it–some form of external expression. Also, now is the time to find like-minded others with whom you can share the changes to your soulscape. They don’t have to believe what you do, or be taking the same spiritual route that you are. They just need to be able to listen and hold space for you to have your own experience. My sense is the result of sharing yourself in this way creates a bond with someone unexpected, someone who not only relates to your experiences, but can foster your growth in them.
My best to you, Mother Joy.
The path of finding compassion, again.
“At times I almost dream.
I too have spent a life the sage’s way.
And tread once more familiar paths.
Perchance I’ve perished in an arrogant self-reliance
an age ago, and in that act of prayer
for one more chance went up so earnest, so…
Instinct with better light let in by death
that life was blotted out not so completely,
but scattered wrecks, enough of it to remain
dim memories. As now, one seems
the goal in sight again.”
~Paracelsus, Robert Browning
Have a writing project that just isn’t moving? Want to approach it from a completely fresh, inspiring perspective? Join me for the online class I’m teaching, Writer’s Block and the Shamanic Narrative, at the Pagan Writer’s Community. If you have an open mind and an overly active imagination, this class can help you get moving again. Details:
Writer’s Block and the Shamanic Narrative
Purpose: To examine writer’s block from an animistic, spiritual perspective, and through the use of art and the shamanic narrative in the Middle World journey, learn how to reconnect with the spirit of writing, and the potential of the blank page.
Duration: Four Weeks
Starting Date: May 7, 2012
Prerequisites: Experience with meditation. Experience with shamanic journeying is a plus, though not required. A work in progress. Ability to scan documents.
Requirements: Open mind. A stalled project or muse. Willingness to draw. Lucid in imaginative meandering.
Feel free to buzz me with questions at kelley at soulintentarts dot com.