Most folks dread the void. I know I do.
I hate being in that place where no information seems to be forthcoming from the Divine, no options present themselves—and even if they do, no decision feels right. I feel mired in the muck—stagnant. Nothing feels comfortable. I feel like I’m a stranger in my own skin, in my own life. I feel raw and too vulnerable.
When this happens, I tend to view this state as a failure on my part—failure to connect with the Divine, failure in my ability to navigate bad, foggy times in my life, failure to adjust, failure to be a good, faithful human, failure to blah, blah, blah.
I get frustrated—I worry. I tie myself up in I’m-not-good-enough knots, creating even more difficulty for myself.
I begin to think I’ve lost my mojo, my groove, that something is so wrong with me that I will never hear my inner guidance again, never feel the presence of the Divine again, never be able to be myself again.
I have been in this foggy, void-ish place for several days. Or has it been weeks? It could be weeks, because I totally suck at Earth time. But whatever the time frame, it is sucking like a big dog.
My friend, colleague, sister and mentor, Jo Underwood, who is an all-around good, kicka$$ friend, colleague, sister and mentor, suggested a few days ago, when I was crying to her about this void-ness, that I just sit still.
What?! And not do anything?! Not figure out where it came from, why I’m in it, how and why I created this? How irresponsible is that?! Sit still!?
And indeed, it becomes clear, when I look at the last few weeks, that there have been plenty of signs that I should be “sitting still.” A month ago I popped my a$$ out of joint on the right side by doing yoga on the beach, for christ’s sake—something that is supposed to be good for me—soothing and calming. Oh my gawd, that hurt—and it still hurts!
Okay, Grace, so that is not slowing you down? Then we see that pain in your a$$, and we raise you a broken pinkie toe—all on the same side, by the way. Because two weeks ago I stubbed my right pinkie toe so badly that I’m sure it broke. I stubbed it on something in my house that has only been sitting right there in that very same spot for about three years. I know it’s bad when I stub my toe and it hurts so much that I can’t even cuss about it—it quite literally took my breath away, it hurt so much.
Hello. Slow down. Sit still! But did I get the hint? No.
Okay, how about a bruised tailbone, then? Will that do the trick? I totally racked myself on my bike! Me, someone who has been riding a bike all my life, racked myself. It was because of the f*cking broken toe, too. It was cold and raining, but because of the broken toe, I couldn’t wear shoes, so I was wearing my flip flops on the bike, in the rain, my feet freezing and my foot slid off the pedal while going down a (smooth) curb. I jerked backward and landed hard on the bike seat, right on my tailbone.
Did that do it, then? No—have I mentioned that I’m stubborn?
Just last week, while moving furniture so I could help put in my new flooring, I stubbed my right big toe. At that, though, I had had enough. I straightened up and began yelling—in the general direction of the ceiling, while looking wildly around (for the burning bush?), “What?!?!? What do you want from me?! Stop hurting me!! I’ve had enough!! What! Do! You! Want?!” I stood there, fists clenched, shaking and waiting—for lightening to strike, maybe?
Enter my conversation with Jo and her admonishment to sit still—stop pushing, stop trying so bloody hard to wrest an answer from God, from my Higher Self, from the Universe, from the broken toe, for f*ck’s sake—when there might not be one.
To put the exclamation mark at the end of “sit still,” yesterday a client came to me for the very same reason. She was upset that no options for resolving any of the many issues in her life were presenting themselves—and hadn’t been for a long time. She was almost frantic, feeling so unlike herself, who is usually connected and flowing in the Divine River of life.
I always attract clients that are doing the very same thing I’m doing—proving to me, over and over again, that the Law of Attraction is real.
It was easy to give her an answer to her void issue. It’s so easy when it’s someone else, isn’t it?
Slow down. Sit still. Stop pushing. See this as a time of rest instead of a time of nothingness, the lull before the storm, the caterpillar inside the cocoon, doing its necessary work (which when observed from the outside, looks like it’s doing nothing) to soon become the butterfly.
And the next piece of advice? What would you do for a close friend who came to you feeling this way?
You’d comfort her. You’d make her a cup of tea and ask how you could help. You’d run her a warm bubble bath and light some soothing candles, you’d wrap her in love and comfort and hugs and soothing words and sounds. You’d take care of her, because you love her.
So why aren’t you treating yourself that way in this time of stress? I gave her the advice I most needed to hear for myself. Treat yourself like you would treat your close girlfriend if she came to you with the same problem. Stop beating yourself up. Stop gnashing your proverbial (or literal) teeth about it. Stop thinking you have to figure everything out. Stop thinking you have to have the right answer, right now.
Sit still. Let this be a time of mental,emotional (and perhaps, physical) rest. Let it just be whatever it is and stop fighting it—stop fighting yourself and please stop yelling at you. Stop rushing around—inside your head and heart and in the world.
Use this time to retreat—from the world around you that says you must always be moving and conquering and slaying dragons, retreat from your not useful harangue at yourself and also re-treat yourself—comfort yourself instead of berating yourself that you should know what to do.
So when you are dragging yourself through the dark night of your own soul, or through that empty void where nothing feels right or true and when you can’t locate north on your own internal compass, consider just being still—inside, but perhaps outside too.
And be good to yourself. Rest. Cry. Sleep. Just allow. Pray. Grieve. Maybe patch that hole in the living room wall that has needed it for years. Maybe not. Give yourself the clichéd break. You don’t always have to be traveling down life’s road at absolute break-neck, hell-for-leather speed.
Breathe. Sit. Stay.
This too shall pass.
“When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I’m swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now
Everything is holy now”
~ from Peter Mayer’s song, Holy Now
Author: Grace Cooley
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock