You’re Doing Enough
Maybe you’re doing enough. Maybe every action you take is the right action for your soul.
Over three years ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my adult life: I let go of my small business and I enrolled in graduate school. My fearful self told me I was signing up for years of debt, nonstop work — aka more stress. I chose to shift careers at the age of 37. A single parent. A self employed yoga and mindfulness instructor. A budding self-help writer,on her way to being one of Elephant Journal’s featured writers. Creativity-wise, I was swimming freely in the pool of my soul’s deepest dreams. I wasn’t making a ton of money, but I was content — maybe even what some might call happy.
I’d spent over a decade “doing the work” — going within and peeling away layers of old, stuck, limiting and life-sucking beliefs.
With the beliefs came swells of stuck energy in the form of emotional and physical pain. With the pain, came tears and primal screams — laughter and deeper connections with myself and the other humans in my life. My “work” led me to a place of living one of my heart’s long-held dreams: writing to heal myself with the ultimate purpose of healing the hearts of others. I truly believe that as we move through fears of the deep end — breath by breath and stroke by stroke — we encourage others to do the same. Actions do speak loudly. As I began to share my journey through online writing, I felt a sense of inner freedom that unleashed a courage that made it easier to journey into the deeper, darker, unexplored depths of my psyche — those darker aspects of my soul.
As I journeyed into my dark depths, I shined a flashlight on the dark depths of my readers’ psyches.
You know those dreams where you can breathe underwater? Psychoanalysts say those mystical dreams speak of a sense of inner freedom and release. In dream therapy, water has been viewed as a symbol of the unconscious mind. To swim freely with the gift of breath, speaks of a sense of fearlessness of diving deep into the recesses of your mind and soul.
I began to breathe under water as a I wrote. I looked at parts of my past I kept hidden from most of my loved ones. I was able to swim with shame and resentment. I did back-flips, cannonballs and handstands with heartache, loneliness and unquenched desire.
The journey inward is sometimes requires support and connection.
At one point in my writing, I hit a shipwreck of thought and emotion that was too much for me to process alone. I realized I needed to come up for air and reassess the bigger picture of my life. I had a therapist with whom I had a wonderful rapport. She was about my age and a mom. She had a private practice. She had a kind face and an open, seeking heart. As I sat with her in sessions and questioned old, cobweb beliefs my writing alone couldn’t dust away, I began to open myself to another dream hidden in the treasure box of my unconscious — the dream of being a therapist. Sitting in her comfortable chair, looking into her clear, somewhat sad eyes, I saw a reflection of myself. Somehow her presence revealed a seed that was planted in me when I was but a small child and my family was struggling to find peace and connection. I want to be you — my psyche seemed to say, at first quietly, and then louder and louder, session after session as I sat with her on her comfortable couch.
Dreams can start out quiet whisks of mist floating over the surface of the water.
As they replay in our psyche, dreams become waves. They come and they go. They get big and then they subside. They ebb and they flow. Like water, there is fluidity to their nature. The therapist dream, just like the writing dream, was something that would come in and out with the tide at various points in my journey. Each time it washed back in to my mind’s eye, I felt a sense of wholeness, purpose, and even completion.
Do you ever have dreams that repeat? Are there symbols — objects, situations, people — that keep reappearing in your dreams year after year?
When we hook into our soul, it speaks to us in symbols — it lulls us with dreams, be they daydreams, sleep dreams, or passing thoughts or feelings when we are at are most relaxed state during the day.
Doing the work unwinds the knots of tension. It’s like scavenging through a shipwreck and uncovering object after object with utmost care. Scavenging can be a laborious and emotional task. It can sometimes require hiring a crew — finding like minded souls to assist us in the uncovering — be they authors, therapists, coaches, teachers, friends, lovers, or a even animal companions.
Our dreams, if they are part of our soul’s purpose, won’t soften into the quiet waters of our psyche.
Our dreams, if they are part of who we are as a soul having a human experience, will continue to make waves until we gather enough strength, courage and balance to hop on a surf board and ride them until they subside.
Three years ago, I felt like I was at the peak of my creativity. I had a book project brewing and my writing was revealing a part of my soul’s purpose that had been buried deep in a hidden cabin of that sunken ship of my untapped self. When I made the decision to go back to school to pursue the other dream of becoming a therapist, I had to put my writer self to rest for awhile. For two plus years, I felt taunted by waves of unexpressed creativity. While I knew it was temporary — that I had to take time to invest in one dream before I could merge the two — I felt a deep sense of grief that sat with me like a ghost in the background.
Creativity doesn’t understand patience. The soul, unlike the human part of us, doesn’t operate under the guise of time.
Today, I found another crew member to help me uncover some more sunken treasure in my soul — an author offering an online course on clearing what is holding you back. A gentle breeze caressed my spirit when I saw an ad for this course. The title itself seemed to give me a burst of oxygen to take a deeper plunge inside.
Do you ever feel that a simple word or phrase uttered from the mouth of another human gives you a breath of courage?
Words carry with them a vibration. Like music, they can send us to places we have been yearning for.
One of my favorite quotes, which I have plastered on my therapy room wall is:
“Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream.” ~Kerouac
Instead of happiness, I’ll take contentment — that sense of deep peace with the ebb and flow of life. To me, Kerouac is touching on that realization that relating to life like a dream, is perhaps not about grasping on, but about letting go — finding peace with the fleeting and the ephemeral. There are pieces of our soul that we feel a calling to express. Like a dream, that expression ebbs and flows throughout this life. There are times when we are riding the tidal wave of a deep, recurring soul dream for what may feel like a lifetime. Then there are times where we are bobbing up and down with the waves of our dreams without anything solid to hold onto.
Our culture doesn’t teach us to dream. We are taught to plan. We are taught to grow roots and create something solid. We are pushed to manipulate and force and control.
I often catch my 7 year old Piscean daughter daydreaming. I will be talking to her and she will ask me towards to end of my sentence what I just said, stating, “I didn’t hear you mom, I was daydreaming” — her eyes all aglow, her spirit all relaxed. I never scold her for it. I simply smile and say, “Oh, what were you daydreaming about?” Sometimes she tells me and sometimes she smiles wryly and says, “It’s my dream, mom. It’s personal. I don’t want to share it with you.”
I have dreams. You have dreams. My seven year old has dreams. Sometimes we have a yearning to share them out loud, and sometimes we want to keep them hidden in the mystical waters of our soul until they may choose to be born into this physical world.
The strangeness of dreams is perhaps that they are like mirages. We try and touch them and they shift or move or dissipate into thin air.
Learning to be okay with the mirages in our mind is akin to breathing underwater. We find a sense of comfort with the mystical. We find contentment with the illogical, irrational, seemingly uncontrollable aspects of self.
Contentment with the unconscious takes courage. It takes soul saying, “I’m the alpha here. I run this show!”
Three years later, as I sit down to clear what is holding me back, I instantly find my breath underwater. As I swim, I write, and I realize being held back was the mirage. I realize that I’ve always had my gills. In that moment I see that the dream-like superpower — that underwater breath was the one that was taunting me like a ghost in the corner. It was telling me, in it’s strange, dreamy way, “I’m here. Use me. Make me the captain of your deep dive crew.”
Actions speak. As I act on my soul’s impulses — I feel overcome by contentment. The planning, controlling, timeline self takes a chill pill. In the space of allowing, I’m not even riding the waves, I’m one with them.
I am learning that when my soul is running the show, my whole being feels it. When my soul is the alpha, good vibrations fill me up like water. When my soul takes the lead, the dream and I are one.