Have any challenges, disappointments, obstacles, or ‘failures’, left you feeling really down on yourself, stuck, caught in anxiety or unhelpful thinking? Sometimes we tend to look at our life in a cumulative way. There is a tendency to want to build towards more happiness, greater success, better health, increasing wealth, more fulfilling relationships.. etc. We also tend to look at our disappointments cumulatively, holding onto them until they become a bigger and bigger cluster of experience that supports a certain negative belief. When we view our lives in only in this cumulative linear way, stumbles, 'failures', and disappointments, can feel more weighted or even devastating.
If you find yourself...
rehashing something over and over in your mind,
wondering where you went wrong,
feeling as if you aren't living up to your expectations of yourself,
feeling you let others down,
missed an opportunity,
found yourself replaying an old pattern,
wondering why you didn't listen to your intuition,
.....here are some ways to work through this, and reach higher ground:
First, remember the alchemical medicine of Beginning Again.
Many times people I know, clients, and myself included, go into a deep process of self reflection, and inner journey when challenges, disappointments, hurts, and such things arise. While this can be very very fruitful and meaningful, there are times when 'getting up- brushing ourselves off and moving on', is the best thing to do.
Beginning again has that character to it. It is fully letting go as best we can, starting clean and fresh, and not letting the past define us. I don't know about you, but I, and many of the people I know and have worked with, can sometimes reflect on something, and have it lingering in the psyche for months or even years! To begin again, is to put something aside, and leave it be. It may come back, and at that time we can either begin again-again, reinforcing our choice, or we may have gained new insights which guide us into new territory with ourselves, the issue, situation, relationship...etc.
So how do we do this?
What does it mean to begin again? First, I want to acknowledge that there are time gradients for moving through various life experiences, and those can be unique for each person. The loss of a beloved pet understandably might require more time and a different sort of process than saying the wrong thing at lunch to a coworker. So one has to be mindful of this.
Beginning again, though, can eventually, I think, apply to most all life situations. In my self observation, and experience with clients, these are three main elements that are important in one's ability to begin again:
Quiet the mind -------- Re-center emotionally-------- Realign with Spirit with Divine Source.
1.Quiet the Mind
Many of the thoughts that occur during challenging times are not the voice of your soul or higher self. They are subpersonalities, such as the inner critic, wounded child, Ms. "I never get what I want", Mr. 'Women don't like me', 'Sir Fails a lot', 'Princess Perfect'. To quiet the mind, first notice whose voice you are hearing, give them a name if you would like, and recognize they are not telling you the whole truth. You've most likely heard them out long enough, so now use your will to choose ... to shift your focus.
An important element here, is to Pause. In pausing we hit a reset button, and allow some stillness, silence, and deeper listening. A pause allows something new to come through.
Some other things that can be helpful: Give the mind another task, such as cooking, or drawing. Replace every negative thought with a kinder one. Meditate. Spend time in nature or go for a walk. Pause, and count your breath, with your eyes closed, to 20 and then back down.
2. Re-center your Emotions
Purge, cry, allow your emotions. Yet there comes a time when if we stay engulfed in these emotions too long, it becomes not a healthy experience, but a stuckness, self harm, and indulgence. This again very likely calls for the use of your will. Love yourself wildly and dig deep if you must for your self-esteem.
Replace negative thoughts with more positive affirmations. The emotional aspect can often be the most difficult. To re-center emotionally often requires engaging your will to give focus to other aspects of who you are and other aspects of your life. To re-center emotionally means not to deny emotions, but enter the observer space. If you are someone who is not typically in touch with their emotions, you may need to quiet the mind and really get in touch with the felt emotional body to be able to begin again.
Move. Exercise. Connect with good friends. Watch a funny movie. Put on some encouraging, uplifting music. Important elements here are self-love, and gratitude.
3. Re-align your Spirit
Realigning your spirit involves expansion of consciousness and realigning with the mystery of life and who you are. This alignment brings the larger picture and glimpses of a new perspective. When we enter this space, we often look back and think "wow, I was really stuck, disillusioned, and not myself." We may even realize what happened was for the best and be grateful. If we don't align our spirit, we can get trapped in negative subpersonalities or archetypes such as 'the Victim'.
An important element that comes forth here is Trust. Trust, that the Divine has your back, and has a greater plan for you. Surrender any regrets, worries, shoulds, would've- could've's, to the Divine.
The divine will alchemize it all with Grace, Forgiveness, Compassion, & Higher mind, in alignment with the divine blueprint for your life.
Pray. Go to a yoga class. Listen to a spiritual teacher that you like. Get a massage. Receive energy medicine. Spend time in nature.
A New Choice
As I said earlier, I'm a huge supporter of self reflection, inner journey and spiritual work around our challenges and life experiences. So I am not advocating any sort of denial or avoidance of what is difficult. Allowing 'what is', even diving into it, is an important part of the alchemy. What I am encouraging, is to be mindful of when it is time to let go of that.
And because many deep empathic spiritual people (which describes many of my clients) can tend to stay in that deep zone, I want to... or rather was guided to... present this next step or option/alchemy of begin again. There's a big energetic difference, that I hope you can feel, between over-staying in the deep zone inner work and energy of the situation that happened, and beginning again.
The card I pulled for us is Eagle:
"Eagle represents a state of grace achieved through hard work, understanding, and a completion of the tests of initiation which result in the taking of one's personal power. It is only through the trial of experiencing the lows in life as well as the highs, and through the trial of trusting one's connection to the Great Spirit, that the right to use the essence of eagle medicine is earned. ....Eagle is reminding you to take heart and gather your courage, for the universe is presenting you with an opportunity to soar above the mundane levels of your life. .... In being astute, you may recognize the places within your soul, personality, emotions, or psyche that need bolstering or refinement. By looking at the overall tapestry, eagle teaches you to broaden your sense of self beyond the Horizon of what is presently visible. .... In learning to fiercely attack your personal fear of the unknown, the wings of your soul will be supported by the ever present breezes which are the breath of the Great Spirit."- from Medicine Cards
Remember our life as being only cumulative and linear is just an illusion. We always have the opportunity to begin again, to create a path, to creatively design our next steps, and to trust spirit within and around us. Working with challenges, mistakes, disappointments, changes, and life transitions in this way, is to be an alchemist and a warrior. Notice which area is most struggling or feeling stuck (mind, emotions, spirit), and with the will of your higher self, self love, gratitude and trust, try out some of these awarenesses and techniques. I hope they help you to begin again, hand-in-hand with the unknown, and your true essence.