I spent a good portion of my 20s being embarrassed by my life.
Financial picture = lopsided and grainy.
Body image = in the toilet.
Mr True Love = absent, Bueller-style.
And then there was the matter of my home…
The question of where to live has generated over a decade’s worth of challenges and frustrating conversations. (Tropical beaches or crisp mountain air – I want them both, simultaneously.)
In response to my home-uncertainty, I became a bit of a gypsy. I moved every 6 months (sometimes, more often).
The transiency of my gypsy lifestyle brought soul friends, joyful work, good food, a new love, and a camera roll that makes me sigh deeply and smile widely. Many, many blessings.
It was also a major pain in my ass.
I wanted a solid answer to the questions, “Where is my permanent home? Where do I belong?” and for not having those answers, I felt like a bumbling idiot.
The light bulb went off.
My indecision was actually a necessary part of my soul’s journey. What I thought was a total shit show was actually the very talented opening act.
In most mythological stories, the hero(ine) spends a portion of time in the wilderness, stumbling through a fog (literally or figuratively), sometimes acting like a fool, sometimes suffering fools and generally, making a ton of mistakes.
Our cultural fascination with winners inclines us to glamorize the end of the story, when the protagonist is standing on the mountaintop, having slain the dragon and rescued their one true love. But by romanticizing the peak of their climb, we usually miss this: The stupor of their lives before all that legendary behavior was a vital part of their evolution.
Sometimes, in order to fly, you HAVE to fall on your ass – and drag it for 1000 miles.
Your mess of a life = your hero(ine)’s journey.
Your shit show of an existence = your own personal Odyssey.
Usually, the Odyssey includes some combination of:
1. A period of physical wandering. You might find yourself moving to new apartments / cities often, or traveling away from home more than you stay at home.
2. An almost fanatical obsession with trying new things. New restaurant opening? You’re there. Drastic career change? Yes, please. You bounce between several churches or spiritual philosophies. Your social circle might change a few times.
3. The loss of loved ones or treasured possessions.
4. Major physical injury or poor health.
5. Financial disarray.
In short, your life will include a major dose of instability and dissatisfaction.
*CAUTION*: Beware self-help analysis of your shit show.
Many voices in the spiritual and personal development world will tell you that these things are signs that you’re spiritually off base (you’re just not meditating enough, honey). They’ll suggest that you’ve attracted these ‘bad’ things to yourself because of past life karma, childhood trauma or toxic thought patterns.
And sure, those things might be at play. But don’t buy into the idea that the presence of chaos and obstacles automatically means you’re doing something “wrong”.
Sometimes, the mess in your life is an indication that you’re on your Odyssey. The mess HAS to happen. It’s part of your unfoldment. The confusion and clutter is the emulsification that will eventually blend out to clarity and discernment.
Contrast is a teacher, an illuminator, a precursor to the life you reallyreallyreally want.
The fact that you’ve recognized the presence of the mess (lots of folks are totally oblivious) means that your soul is ready and willing to engage with the chaotic truths that awakening requires.
You see it because you’re capable of working it.
You see it because your eyes are adjusting to the wisdom being painted on the wall of your life.
You see it because you have the tools and the audacious heart needed to haul yourself over the rocks, and make it to the top of your mountain.