Updated: Mar 11, 2019
I woke up the other morning like any other day. One of our kids bounced into the room and the other ran. This was about 5:45am. They tumbled in with their pro-athlete energy and met us two - two sleep-deprived parents. At first it felt like there was just some extra tiredness, but then It stayed. And, It just showed up, no particular reason why. Just showed up. As the day progressed, I began to feel like part of my skin had been removed leaving a rawness and a sensitivity that almost feels unbearable. Have you ever felt this?
And It lasted – this heaviness, these almost imperceptible thoughts kept reminding my mind of the things left undone, of the goals I set a few months ago that weren’t met, the thoughts of potential rejection, potential failures of my healing work, my care for the children and our family, of this body I am in. The day kept going, and these thoughts kept building strength. I was in a Self-Doubt Storm. Do you get these?
These storms love to add more and more into themselves – like a hurricane that wants to engulf itself, to eat itself from inside, to suck all of the vitality and lifeforce from everything around itself. Throughout the day, I felt like I was standing outside of myself, like I was in a bubble, unable to connect with the life around me and within me.
And, there feels inside, a feeling of stuck-ness, because really, there is truly nowhere to go. It lasts despite the natural joy beaming through our two mini pro-athletes, despite a deeply loving partnership, despite all the beauty forever around me, around us. It gets stronger, hiding the Love inside, and blocking the natural bliss. The mind gets murkier. I pretend it isn’t there and keep going with the tasks of the day because what else to do? But, it hurts more, because there is just the feeling of separation. Have you ever felt like this?
Throughout the day, I do my best to block the power of It, to end some suffering. I practice yoga, I take a hot bath with essential oils, I play music and crystal bowls, but It stays and grows stronger. I take a ride on the bike, I try to push It out by raising my energy. It stays. I get ‘hits’ of bliss and release, but It remains, and it all feels defeating.
I keep going and then…. I remember. I name It: Self Doubt. I witness the storm. I Face the storm. And, then, I am not completely identified with It. I can still feel all of it, but I understand I am not it. And therein is the release.
I used to name this whole experience sadness. But I see this now as cycles of self-doubt cleansing. And what doesn’t get cleansed, remains churning somewhere ready for the next cycle. I’ve come to think of these cycles as our system’s natural cleansing mechanisms to heal. Sometimes they are triggered by particular external events – and sometimes they just happen, as in this morning I describe above.
For so very long, I believed the messages of these re-occurring storms: I am just not meant to do this or that. What I am, what I love, what my natural, animal self loves, and what I am – is just not meant to be. The pain of these doubts has led me to believe that I must “do” whatever it is that my mind thinks is a ‘good, doable’ path. I have even thought this was quite a spiritual thing to do – I called it ‘surrendering.’ Yet, when I have made decisions based on these self-doubt cycles, I have really been giving up on myself. The fall out of the self-doubt storm isn’t so fun. And hindsight is 20-20. I see some of the wishy-washiness of my life’s decisions are in great part due to these re-occurring storms. Do you know what I mean? Do you pass through this cycle? Do you call it this? What do you call it?
The whole thing is this: we are magnificent, every. single. one. of. us – beyond our imagination – just by being WHO WE ARE! And these doubts are necessary for us to really experience this realization. When we see that we are in a cleansing cycle – we can see these thoughts for what they are: the garbage that we are ready to sort through, to let go, to shiny up. There is no awareness of your magnificence – of the great magnificence all around us – without the storms, without the cleanse, without the healing.
So, what in the world do we do with this? Can we create Healing Cycles out of our Self Doubt Cycles? Yep!
These are my top 6 ways to create Healing Cycles out of our Self-Doubt Cycles
· Face up to the Storm. Acknowledge that You are In A Storm. We are not failures because we have a mind that doubts itself. If we pretend it is not there, there is no cleansing – there is just suffering and confusion (and we create more suffering and confusion the more we ignore all of this). The cleansing comes from saying it is there, listening to it from the place of the witness, and letting the cleanse take place so we can grow.
· Be Real. Let go of the drama. We are all in this, all of us experiencing this. You. Me. All of us. So face it, but don’t feed it. We don’t have to bury ourselves in it. When we feel buried, see it, and name it “I’m buried in this shit. Phew, this is a huge one.”
· Be real with the people in your life. This is the real lifeboat, this is the life preserver, this is the boat that gets you across from self-doubt to self-realization. There is no way we are going to move past all of this shit without real connection and real bonds. I don’t mean go around telling everyone you are having a shitshow day, or week or year. I don’t mean mope around everywhere and on everyone. I mean: do the daily, tricky work of being vulnerable in your life’s most precious relationships. When you have found a Sister, a Brother, a Soulmate, a member of your tribe – be yourself, unabashedly. Share and let them share – and relish in this connection, go to these people, attend to these people, love and receive love, be nourished, be inspired by them, inspire them.
· Hold on to the Rope, no matter how good you feel. This means be practice no matter what. Be humble about your spiritual growth. The mind can come in and say it has achieved this or that, but remember even the greatest masters can fall. Stay connected to your rope every.single.day. This discipline and routine provides the ground in the shakiest, darkest, most lonely storms. (this can mean 5 minutes of deep relaxation, of meditation, of breathing...)
· Listen to, and Reflect Back what the mind is rattling off. “You just shouldn’t sing Kirtan anymore because those people didn’t like it.” I see, you’re feeling down. You were sharing genuinely and it felt like some folks just weren’t really down with it. That’s tough. “You gotta get out of this yoga teaching world.” Hmm, something is going on with teaching yoga for you? …. All of this is going on in your head, or you are writing it. You are holding space for your own cleansing. Lay down the intellectual in your head, the philosopher, lay down the shoulds and should nots that you’ve learned from everywhere, even your spiritual texts --- and Just Be With Yourself. This is how you love yourself. This is truly how you love yourself. You are bearing witness to your small, scared self – and really, this is how you are laying down in the healing waters for yourself – this is how you are laying on the healing hands for yourself.
· Rest and Ease Up. On those really tricky days, weeks, months, even years, go with ease, let go of what isn’t necessary, make space in your days for healing.Move things around in your schedule if you can. If you are mother or caregiver and truly have no time for yourself, slow everything down – take away the should and should nots – get in the bath with your kids, go into the woods with your kids, watch uplifting movies with your kids, tell ridiculous knock-knock jokes with them – tell whoever you are caring for that you are sad, and ask them for a hug and some love. Let go of the schedule, the routine – whatever is feeling like it’s adding to the storm.
If you'd like to add some more rest and ease into your life right now, connect with me for a healing session, combining energy healing and strength-based coaching.
Note: This lovely photo is of a statue on the campus of Galludet University in Washington, DC.