Do you worry about the occasional emotional trough you slip into, wondering what the heck is wrong with you after all this time on a spiritual path? Well, don’t! I know, easy for me to say, but I’m here to tell you about a very natural cycle that occurs and that going with the flow of this cycle will ease your life immeasurably. And let’s face it, ease is a good thing!
Yesterday I was in one of those emotional slumps. I was fatigued, a bit depressed, melancholy, discouraged about some goals I want to achieve. But because I have learned to recognize the cycle, I went with the flow. I inquired in a low-key way into what this was about. I got some answers. I had a quiet day, I allowed the feelings, I napped, I took care of myself gently. I forced nothing.
This cycle I’m talking about can occur several times in the course of one day. It can cycle through in a week. Or it could take much longer for greater transformations. The important thing to remember is that it is a natural, human, cycle of change. It is about energy, and energy flows in its own time and at its own pace. Trying to control it only creates resistance and resistance only leads to suffering. Only always.
So, here is what the cycle looks like:
First comes The Stress—something squeezes you, pushes you, corners you. It could be a small stress, like a grouchy checkout clerk at the grocery store, or a middle-sized one like a slump in your business, or it could be a huge stress, like divorce or illness. But it’s Stress and it’s uncomfortable and unwanted and usually carries resistance with it.
Second comes The Slowdown—this is the period of time it takes for the effects of the Stress to move through you in a natural, unhurried way. It is your system’s way of processing it and dealing with it and ultimately letting go of it. This is the part where you are transformed by allowing the experience. So it might take a few minutes of walking out to your car in the sunshine to let go of the energy of the grouchy clerk, it might take a few weeks to gain a new focus for your business, or it might take months and lots of gentle caretaking and support to recover from the stress of divorce or illness. In any case, you don’t get to decide when the Slowdown should end; that is a very natural, organic process and you will know intuitively when it’s ending.
Third comes The Shift—and this is the part when the energy actually moves out of the Slowdown and begins to embrace something new. It could be a song on the radio that makes you smile when you get into to car after your encounter with the grocery clerk, it could be a sudden insight you have about how your last life challenge can shape your work with clients now, or it could be an fresh, new interest in painting or writing or working out or a new relationship after emerging from the painful, scary experience of divorce or illness. It could simply be the renewed, lighter energy you feel when you get up in the mornings now.
The most important thing to know about this cycle is that it is completely natural and is a fundamentally good process, and always supports your evolution as a human being. The other important thing to know about it is that resistance to it, forcing things, refusing to “roll with the flow” will ALWAYS cause you to suffer. That is the end result of resistance.
It is only fear that leads you to resist the phases of this natural, creative cycle. There is the fear that acknowledging the Stress means you are weak. Then there is the fear that allowing The Slowdown might mean that you will never emerge from it. I remember feeling and thinking that one during my separation and divorce over three decades ago. I even wrote a poem about it. And finally there is the fear that you won’t know what direction to take when The Shift finally occurs.
In Western culture we are so deeply conditioned to believe that we need to take charge of and direct and decide EVERYTHING, that it can be a challenge to actually relax into the process I am describing.
I can encourage you to trust, but trust only comes from letting go of control, sinking into the process over and over again, and through your own experience, finally realizing that energy does move, nothing lasts forever, and change can lead to good things. And truthfully, sometimes we are forced into that letting go by how hard the process squeezed us at any given time.
Pay attention to the micro-cycles that occur throughout the course of a day—like a headache, or a minor argument, or plans for lunch going awry. Pay attention to the macro-cycles that have occurred throughout your lifetime—like death, injury, betrayal, failure. And ask yourself if trying to control the cycles has worked out well for you. Or if allowing the natural flow of things always wins out anyway, in your favor.
Remember that the Universe is always conspiring for your good. Remember that a higher perspective on your life (One of my favorites is imagining that I am up in a hot air balloon!) can yield new understanding. Remember that you actually can relax and trust that under the surface of things there is a healthy, wholesome process of change occurring. Then you don’t have to work so hard to ‘push the river’, you can enjoy the current as it carries you along knowing that it will lead to your good, again and again.
I would love your comments on this so please post them here!
Love you, Bless you!
Janice Masters, The Shaman Mama