When a Cycle Ends and the What Nows Begin

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This morning and the morning before, I’ve been waking up with anxiety. I’ll shake in my bed for a few hours and I don’t necessarily know what is happening to my mind or body. All I know is that I’m afraid, but I don’t really understand what I’m afraid of.

In a lot of ways, within this past month, my life has changed dramatically. In other ways, it’s exactly the same. I finished the first draft of my novel on April 21. I was finally able to move out of a toxic environment. The weather has gotten much warmer. I no longer have relationships with many people I once considered my closest friends.

But a lot stayed the same. I’m living in the same town. I wake up at 5-6am every day. I do my pilates and yoga (mind and body) workouts. I let my coffee brew as I go to take a shower and when I come out, I meditate for as long as I’m able to that day. I make breakfast, pack my lunch and dinner, and then begin to get ready to go to work. I usually come back from work at around 9:30-10:30pm and then try to read for a bit before I pass out, and then the day begins again.

It feels as though my life is much different, but my days are all beginning to look identical. I like morning routines. I like waking up early to do all the things I want to do before I do the things I have to do (like go to work). But after finishing the first draft of my novel, writing is no longer on the list of things to do, and that was by far my favourite. Even in the groggiest, tragic, or boring and uninspired days, learning how to write this first draft is what has held me together. And now, it’s over.

I wanted to go back in and start typing out the handwritten draft, but it didn’t want to be typed just yet. I felt a dragging of words that needed time to just sit and rest, and so I let them. In the meanwhile, I’ve had some thoughts of the next book that sprouted a while earlier that I’m beginning to make sense of and research.

But there’s this sense of a cycle’s completion that has been giving me a lot of anxiety. A lot of, “what nows” and “Now that this is over, is this what my life is going to look like?” And of course, the “Am I always going to live in this town and have to work this job?” When am I finally going to save enough to travel? Why can’t I afford to have the type of adventure I crave? What if this draft never wants to be edited? What if I never write again?

The day I finished the first draft, my housemates moved out and I had to pack the rest of my own things. I went to a goodbye dinner the next day for all the people at my work who were 4th-year university students graduating and moving on. Waking up to empty rooms and going to work with new faces, all I felt was lost. All I couldn’t make sense of was why I was still here and everyone else got to move on.

I’m now subletting a room in an apartment for the summer with strangers who complain that I wake up too early or that I need to close my bedroom window at night because they can hear the wind rustling. I moved out of a toxic environment into a place that scrutinises the way I go about my days. All I feel is groggy, meaningless, and like whatever this next phase of my life is going to be, doesn’t want me either.

I’ve been talking to my counsellor about it who is also a very spiritual person and made sense of this in a way that I want to share over here because maybe it’ll do something for any of you who feel as though they have completed a cycle or season of their life. She talked about how there was a time in her life where she explored Paganism and how that helped her understand the cycles of each of our journey’s.

Samhain (in the Pagan Wheel of the Year) is the ancient Celtic festival marking the end of harvest season and the onset of winter. It’s this sort of in-between time, a time right after a cycle’s completion, celebrated October 31st to sunset on November 1. It’s supposed to be a day and point of time when “the veil separating the world of mortals and the world of spirits is at its thinnest, enabling the souls of the dead, witches, and faeries of all sorts to mingle with living people. Even though it’s a cycle’s end, it’s not a sad time but rather it’s considered one of the most sacred. It’s more of a liminal time when the veil between life and death grows thin. It’s considered the most powerful and spiritual time of the year.

If we look at the periods of our lives, the endings of cycles, in a celebratory way, I think they can make room for magical things. Instead, I’ve been struck with anxiety and fear, which is okay and pretty normal. But if we shift our western ways of thinking and see any time of completion with eyes of wonder instead of eyes of fear; if we let ourselves rest and mourn this time and celebrate it all at once; if we look at it as a sacred time instead of a scary and sad one, what would happen? I don’t know about you, but I’m curious to find out.

 

 

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Living in Secondary Colours: What Happens When We Forget the Core?

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“The only way to gain power in a world that is moving too fast is to learn to slow down. And the only way to spread one’s influence wide is to learn how to go deep. The world we want for ourselves and our children will not emerge from electronic speed, but rather from spiritual stillness that takes root in our souls. Then, and only then, will we create a world that reflects the heart instead of shattering it”

–  Marianne Williamson 

Over the past year or so, I’ve been amazed by the raw. I’ve grown more and more interested in primary thoughts, primary colours, the first drafts, the first words, and the first loves.

I think as humans, we are each given a raw soul. Each one differs from the rest and yet, the truths are, for some intrinsic and unknown reason, the same. That’s why for thousands and thousands of years, we’ve all been entrapped and restless to seek the answers to the same questions.

For some reason, the soul that you have has chosen your body to call it home. Why? I don’t think we’ll ever know, and I don’t think we need to. I think what we do need to learn is what this particular soul that we’ve been given yearns for.

We see nature and how its habits have stayed consistent for thousands of years. The trees know how to prepare for the winter and how to flourish in the summer. They know how to change colours in the fall and how to grow bigger in the heat. They know because they’ve been doing it for so long and any learned behaviour just becomes a natural way of being at some point.

But for us, we’re all doing it for the first time. This is the body this soul chose for the first time. We are trying to learn how to listen to it for the first time. And the cost of rawness is our messy and complicated lives.

If we think of primary colours: the reds, the yellows, and the blues; they are beautiful on their own. But with them, we got to create oranges, purples, and greens. That flourishment, that secondary beauty, was a creation. It’s a bonus. But sometimes, I think we get too caught up in the secondaries and the flourishments that I think we forget about what it takes to create that beauty. If we have no foundation, there can be no growth. Instead, we’ll just be floating in the air. I think sometimes, we forget about the raw tools that allow us to create.

We forget that it is only when we come to our core, when we accept our rawness, that we can then flourish it into a greater authentic beauty.

If we go back to how the trees learned their behaviour and really dig down to the essential point of which they understood how to flow with the weather, we can understand that all they needed to learn was how to be. It’s been a pretty hard thing for me to wrap my own mind around. Living in this particular culture, I’m ingrained with the idea of pushing myself, being ambitious, fighting for what I believe in, and protecting who I am. And so the idea of just being is a foreign concept.

But our bodies and our minds already know how to rise us to the highest version of ourselves. Our pushing and fighting and attempts to control our lives just make us get in the way of ourselves.

The less we battle with our own lives and ourselves, and the more we just let ourselves be, the easier it will be for us to flow and rise to our highest selves. Our souls know things that we don’t. Let’s try and let them do their jobs and stop getting in the way of ourselves over and over again.

The state of being looks different for all of us, but the place is the same. We just have to learn how to come back to the raw and the primary so that we can flourish and create something far bigger than ourselves. And that thing you’ll have created? You’ll know what it feels like because you’ll feel connected. Maybe not with as many people, but instead with nature, with the sunrise, and the moon phases. You’ll feel like a part of the natural flow of our universe.

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The Notion of Surrender: A Form of Defeat or Connection?

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The theme of my life has lately been understanding the notion of surrender so that I can stop resisting it. If I were to describe this process that I’m going through, I would relate it to a human ripping his or her skin apart for the first time, in its initial transformation into a werewolf. That’s the extent of pain I’ve been feeling and that’s the pain I’m trying to stop resisting, because when I do allow myself to rest in it, I come out exhausted, drained, and weak. The more yoga I do, the more I write my book, the more I read, the more I check in with myself; the more I do all of the things that are supposed to be good for me, the more I experience this outbreak of pain that is so internal but results in an external state of defeat.

It’s a difficult thing to describe because it’s a difficult thing for me to understand right now. But what I’ve done to help with the process is understand the act of surrender a little bit more. And with that, I’ve come to believe that in its most simplest of forms, surrender is both acceptance and forgiveness. But what I recently came to realize is that maybe it can be love, too. And if love and hate are written on the same spectrum of passion, is surrender just a form of defeat to all that is within you? And if you are what you love, does that mean that you are also all of that of which you hate?

We all perceive and experience love differently. The way we go about it, the way we feel it, what we need from it and what we want from it; it’s all different because we’re all different. So how is it that love is a uniting? Shouldn’t it just be ripping us apart more?

It didn’t really make sense to me until it clicked that love is a surrender. When we form any relationship, whether it be with a friend, a partner, a family member, or a coworker, we are surrendering. We each experience love differently, but when we form a healthy relationship of any sorts, we surrender by compromising our egos. Our needs and wants don’t always meet the needs and wants of another, but when we reach that compromise to form a union with another human being, we’re surrendering to our souls and compromising our egos. Because what love is, is a surrender to yourself for something greater and outside of you: it is a surrender for connection. Because even though our egos want different things, they are fueled in the same manner. Because even though we are all different, we are more the same.

But before we surrender to a love shared with another human being, I think we first have to surrender to ourselves.

There was a time when I thought I could only love myself once I no longer had any flaws. But being human means that you will always be flawed. I mean, how else would we grow? But if you can only love yourself once you’re the size you want to be or are in the field you want to be in or as financially stable as you want to be or have clear skin, etc. etc., then you will always find an excuse for not participating in this practice of self-love. We can’t keep telling ourselves that once we check boxes A, B, and C, then we will love ourselves because we’ll always find something else that is wrong. Needless to say, that isn’t a bad thing because the point of the human journey is just a state of becoming, and always becoming. If you didn’t become aware of the parts of you that need more work, then you wouldn’t be growing.

But it’s all a practice. I mean, your soul is the only soul like that in this world and it chose your body to call home. Therefore, you are the first person to try and figure out what it needs and what its purpose is. That process is messy and complicated because anything being done for the first time is messy and complicated. Your job is simply to feed your soul and that’s tricky because you have an ego thats voice tends to be a bit louder.

But maybe our job here is just to learn all the wrong things and try and be all the wrong things only to come back to ourselves so that we can peel away all the layers we spent years adding to. And so that we can find the root of it all again. Because that is where our truth lies. That is where it has always been. And maybe, we can understand that the process of unlearning is surrender.

Sometimes when you begin to surrender, you relate it to a form of defeat. That’s what makes the process so hard. That’s what makes the peeling away feel like a shredding of your skin. But what that defeat really is, is just compromising the ego for a connection that is far greater than yourself: it’s a connection with your soul.

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