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An Unwanted Extended Stay in Darkness

I might have cried today. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. And even though I have a box full of tools to help me see past the fear, past the doubt, past the overwhelm, past the despair to finding an objective perspective with an abundance of opportunities and choices - sometimes I'm just not up for "fixing myself" in the moment.

Self-Portrait Many Years Ago

While feeling disappointed that I wasn't able to "snap out of it," I remembered Joseph Campbell's concept of the Hero's Journey. It's drawn as a circle and shows that to transform, we are called to adventure (or in my case what feels like being thrusted into it), then there is a crossed threshold where we go into a dark abyss of, alas, fear, doubt, overwhelm, and despair. Sounds familiar.

I think today is about crossing the threshold where there is a necessary, inescapable death and rebirth awaiting me. It's not of my choosing or design, but yet here I am.

What is dying is my current hope of who I thought our country was or could be. The rebirth is yet to be determined. I hope it's a perspective of the human condition that allows me, with compassion, to better meet people where they're at (backed by boundaries), no matter if they harbor some form of racism, sexism, hate, selfishness, and/or authoritarian gullibility/worship in their world views. At least I hope so.

Even if my pain today isn't the same as your pain, I think the take-away is that sometimes life insists we grow, and our growth may require an extended stay in the darkness. While the tools coaches have will help us leave the abyss, they may not work until we are ready - ready to let a part of us die so we can create something new.

It's a comforting thought: that my sadness, doubt, and despair are temporary, and aren't for nothing.

A final thought... I often tell my clients that while transformation hurts and takes some bravery, it's so worthwhile that one day you might be excited when you meet it again. I'll be honest. I'm not at that point this time,although I have been before.

Expecting myself to always find the rosey and exciting opportunity may be a form of unkindness. Sometimes things are just hard and there's nothing I can do about it - no matter my box of skills. Another idea that may need to be left behind.

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