June 10, 2011

Behind the Scenes of Shifting – Part 1

photo credit: openDemocracy

For the past few months I’ve been writing about my personal journey through the shift in consciousness I see humanity moving through.  Although I think we as a whole are evolving, there are billions of different individual stories illustrating how we’re doing so.  While we’ll all end up at the same place, there are billions of different paths leading there.  There are billions of unique ways we will each hear and respond to the call to shift – a husband’s path will be different than his wife’s, two friends may wildly diverge, and so on.  And there will be billions of different time-frames in which shift happens – but mostly that’s up to how fast we each decide to get on board.

For me, major stuckification in February was a tip-off that my time to shift was at hand.  Although I didn’t quite believe it then, didn’t intellectually or practically know how it would play out, and was overflowing with attendant fears ranging from getting more stuck to being divorced, jobless and destitute to perhaps the worst – that the status quo would continue – from a deeper place I knew that darkness always precedes light.  I could sense change in the form of forward motion, of turbo acceleration, on the horizon.  And if I’ve learned little else these last few years, I’ve at least learned to listen to and trust that deeper place.

So after writing about how I’ve stepped (and was subsequently pushed) in the direction of my authentic desires, and after exploring how some high profile celebs are shifting too, I think it’s time for a behind the scenes look at shifting. While it’s all well and good for me to paint a happy picture of becoming a fitness instructor (teaching yoga and Zumba), starting a spirituality group, growing this blog and increasing abundance in my business, there’s a shadow side to shifting.  Despite her huge step into running her own network, I’ve no doubt even Oprah’s shift has its challenges.

Please don’t let the word “shadow” put you off or make you afraid.  The shadow side is not necessarily negative, it’s simply the side not seen by those on the outside of your process.  It’s the underbelly only you see because only you are living your entire experience.  Even if you share your shadow with others, they tend to focus on your finished products – your outer accomplishments or successes – and dismiss the rest.  They don’t see the fear, struggle, indecision, challenge, choice and courage it takes to get where you did. Only you get to know the shadow intimately.   Even so, it deserves recognition, acceptance and understanding because without it, no shift is complete.

So – a peak behind the scenes of my own shift:  First, I didn’t shift without help.  As I mentioned, in February I felt myself making yet another go-round on a hamster wheel of situations I thought I’d transcended or transformed.  I thought I’d thrown the garbage out only to find the same shit – nicely compacted and prettied up – resurfacing one more time.  But this time was different.  I could see the same recurring challenges, the same relationship patterns, clearer than before.  I could recognize trends and even chart a cycle; I went from tunnel vision to the thirty thousand foot view.  That in itself was a relief.  But because I could see repeating cycles so clearly, I also knew that if who I had been and what I had done up until that point hadn’t been sufficient to break or transform them, I’d need some help.

So I reached out to a local counselor and energy healer I met last year and got it.  I couldn’t really afford it but spent the money anyway because I couldn’t afford not to more.  We dove in, worked with brazen openness and met frequently until my fear dissolved enough for me to dare to believe different, be different, act different.  Until I could do more, think less; be in the now instead of the past or future; operate from love instead of dread; and trust again.  In other words, until I could get the traction necessary for sustained forward momentum into the  life I’d craved.

What else can I tell you about the behind the scenes of shifting? Well, there seems to be a common process everyone goes through, self included.  Timeframes can be weeks or months, but in today’s state of acceleration (more happening in less time) most shifts occur rapidly and pretty much go according to five stages:

Stage 1: The Transition State .  You’ll know you’re called to shift when you find yourself in an in-between space.  This can be old familiar ground you’re trying to leave yet have mysteriously arrived at once more, or when a major loss has occurred and you find yourself temporarily poised between an old reality that has passed away and a new reality that has not yet fully formed.  I was here in February without fully realizing the place was an “in-between space”, but certainly sensing something was up.

Stage 2: Perceptual Markers Disappear.  In a transition state the familiar patterns and habits of daily life – your “perceptual markers” that once brought you predictability, comfort and maybe even contentment – either disappear or fail to fulfill.  If you suddenly lose your job, you no longer have to get up at the same time, leave the house, drive the same route, and talk to the same people every day.  The little things that anchored you are gone and you can feel rudderless, afraid and disoriented.  The end of a relationship, or even the threat of an ending relationship, can leave you the same way.

In my case, I wasn’t subject to a major loss as much as a feeling that everything had gone stale and if allowed to continue that way would soon rot and surely be lost. I had placed too much identity and happiness in people and circumstances outside of myself (and therefore entirely outside my control) rather than looking inward for those things, which was entirely within my control.  Plus, I intellectually knew better but it happened anyway.  Try as I might, actions I took that predictably produced certain results in the past failed to deliver.  The more I tried to make things happen in my “old reality” the faster they didn’t, and the faster my perceptual markers disappeared.

No wonder I felt stale – I had gone stale and refused to live the rest of my life that way.  It was time to let go and simply stop.

Stage 3: The Void Point.   When the perceptual markers of your former reality disappear, understand that you have entered into a void point.  This is good – yes, I said good!  Remember the universe abhors a vacuum, so when space becomes available it must by law be filled.  A void point is a critical transition between an old reality and a new one. That which once was has ended. Instead of regretting the loss, you accept the void. This is for many people a challenging undertaking, because in the void point there is nothing that can be done. So stop trying and surrender. You must simply be a witness to it, and to yourself, for in this no-man’s land there are no perceptual markers.

In my void point my coach helped me simply be with fear, insecurity, and mistrust and reminded me to look inward rather than outward.  In doing so she helped me re-connect to my internal compass again, which allowed me to quickly and immediately re-center when needed.  To my delight, a respite from “doing” and “trying” (which wasn’t working anyway) was liberating beyond imagination.  Instead of looking outward and chasing possibilities and opportunities, I stopped, centered, clarified, and allowed them to come to me. And they did!

What also helped immensely while I was in my void point was daily meditation, which with imperfect consistency I continue.  I’ve meditated on and off for five years, but recently felt called to take this practice fully into my daily life.  I’ll have to save the instant and remarkable benefits of my experience with daily meditation for a future post, but highly recommend the Open Heart Project series on meditation Susan Piver has launched during about the same time I’ve been writing about The Shift.  If you’re newer to meditation, please consider giving Susan’s YouTube series some attention until Part 2 of my Behind the Scenes Look at Shifting continues next week.

Do you think you might be shifting? Are you in a void point and not sure where to go next? If so my “Break On Through” Day can help.  Request a free one-hour Accidental Seeker Navigation phone session with me to discuss your situation, see if it’s a fit and learn more.

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