What is it that leads us to the door of a therapist, a mentor, a mystic, a coach, or any of the myriads of guides we seek out?
There isn't one simple nor concise answer to this question yet typically what is at the center of this search is a certain level of psychological, emotional or spiritual discomfort. The range of this discomfort is wide and deep; at times wider and deeper than the eye can see leaving us to believe there is no way out, no safety net, no one who can pull us from the depths of this crevasse.
We start to believe that we have been abandoned by all in this world and all in the heavens. The sense of isolation can be overwhelming. We collapse in desperation and pain forgetting or even questioning the wisdom deep inside of us that we are not the situation we are in.
We become the situation and it becomes us. We can't seem to think about anything else. We become consumed; unable to put one foot in front of the other. Our brains go numb and we allow the auto-pilot mode to engage. We get up everyday and do what is necessary to survive – eat, drink, bathe, go to work etc... But we have numbed ourselves so intensely that we feel like the walking dead.
Before we actually get to the door of the guide we chose we often go to the enticing and alluring web.
Just think about that word for a moment. Picture a web in your mind. Who is it that spins a web? We know the connotations here – the dreaded spider, liars and cheats etc … The visuals are daunting. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying the web does not have benefits. That is not true at all. Any one who knows me personally knows I am a Google junkie. But I also am well aware of the pitfalls and traps it can lead us into. Don't ever, ever do a symptom search!
You won't sleep until you finally walk into your doctor's office and realize you do not have that rare, terminal illness that your symptoms pointed to. And once you do that search get ready because your laptop will magically send you messages and ads with solutions to all that ails you only reinforcing your fearful belief of undeniable doom. These searches also unleash the snake oil salesmen!
All too often, and most especially when we are at our lowest points in life, we are bombarded with supposed ancient secrets and quick fixes. We start to chase these snake oil caravans in a desperate attempt to soothe our pain and magically transform uncertainty into safety. We are too often exploited by sometimes well meaning yet more often fraudulent guides looking to make money from our suffering. We can be lured in with false claims, empty promises and the like. In this desperate state we are willing to try anything and pay anything for a moment of relief, for reassurances and promises that we will survive our current situation and all will be well. But what we have forgotten is that the answer is already inside of us. We may need a kind and loving guide to help us reveal it, but it is already there.
This is too important not to repeat – we are not the situation we are in! We are too limitless and boundless for that to be true.
Situations are temporary and time limited.
We on the other hand are infinite and cannot not be confined to the limitations of time and space. We may be at one of the lowest points in our lives but that doesn't guarantee a destiny of doom.
So what is my snake oil? I don't have any so if you were looking for that quick fix then I am sorry. My approach to psychological, emotional or spiritual pain is simple – common sense, internal wisdom and spirituality.
I know in my heart of hearts that “God will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good.” - Padre Pio (Catherine McManamon, 5 Things We Can Learn From St. Padre Pio, September 22, 2017)
With this wisdom I know I can get through anything that life throws my way. This does not imply there won't be pain, sorrow, frustration, resentment or blood boiling anger. There will be as these emotions are included in the broad spectrum of human experiences. What it means on a deeper level is that I will be able to identify these feelings, feel and embrace them fully with have the trust and confidence in something greater than myself.
This knowledge has lead me to understand that there is a purpose of good here not only for me but also for those involved. After years of chasing the non-existent answer to the age old question of why do we exist, I did discovered one solid truth. That truth is simple – There is only one source of creation and that source is pure love. If this is true then everything, yes everything, is from a source of love and here for me to develop and evolve. So we have a choice to make – grow or whither, love or fear, contentment or bitterness. It's our choice. As I have heard over and over – we can either be defined by our experiences or define them for ourselves.
This brings us back to the door of our guide. We were never designed to get through life alone. That just wasn't in the plan. We were born into families, groups, tribes, clans etc … It is within the strength of these groups that we thrive. They share our joys, celebrations, disappointments and devastation's. But what happens as those groups break down due to distance, conflict, time constraints and we feel that support and strength have abandoned us? That's when we knock at the door. We find someone with a kind and loving heart to help us surrender to our experiences, fully embrace our emotions, and bring light and love to help heal our wounds. As Rumi so profoundly shared “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
So that is where we begin; the mystery of a sorrowful heart. Life itself starts with agony. Just think for a moment about how we enter this world from the experience of the infant. This is an experience we will re-experience throughout our lives until the moment of our passing. The walls feel like they are closing in on us, we are forced to face a reality that is unfamiliar to us, we are incredibly uncomfortable if not in pain, we search desperately for comfort until finally we find comfort, relief and soothing. But this comfort does not last for long. Soon we are met with more discomfort, one's we have never experienced before – hunger, fear, lights, sounds, isolation etc. And the cycle continues. But why?
Again I do not have any snake oil in my bag so I can't offer you any concrete explanations for why suffering is part of life – it simply is. What I can tell you is that in this suffering we can find luminous transformation. Just as the infant grows to understand, accept and find joy in their new environment so too can we find understanding, acceptance and joy in ours. In pain, in agony, in wretched turmoil we transform. We are forced into it but the end result is transformation.
As we surrender to our painful experiences the process unfolds. With the help of a loving witness we can start to make sense of life. We may not like it, we may not have ever given permission for these painful events, we are not condoning the actions of another, we are not reconnecting with unhealthy people nor unhealthy situations.
What we are doing in this process is seeking understanding and acceptance. In this process we find compassion and forgiveness. This is not an overnight process and may actually require years of work to achieve. But once you allow the light into your wounds you will be permanently transformed. There will be no turning back from that moment forward. You will find there an eerily, unfamiliar peace. One that may initially leave you feeling oddly calm and uncomfortable. One that will open the window to joy once again. Often it can be felt while in the presence of your guide. When you find someone to work with who has walked this path for themselves they can offer you this feeling without words, without homework, without insights. They can offer it with their presence. You feel it immediately. You want more of it. You will want it for yourself. With their patient and loving guidance you will have it for yourself.
We are all united in this journey. Not one of us enters without pain nor walks on the planet without pain. But there is comfort and relief from that pain and from the fear of further suffering – hope and trust.
These two glorious mysteries raise our frequencies, our vibrations. They raise us up to a higher level of functioning and interacting. They dissolve old mental programming and false associations. They allow us to focus on what is good in our lives. They allow us to see how dead ends are actually open roads to opportunity and possibility. They are the bridge that takes us from pain to peace and contentment. They partner us with the source energy where it all began.
It is here that we learn to think and intend for the highest good for all returning us to our connection with our inner wisdom and truth.
Once you allow yourself to either find a guide to help you with this process or take this path on your own, your entire outlook with be very different. That outlook will open your thought process to different ways of looking at life, at relationships and at how you make decisions for yourself and those who are dependent upon you. It isn't an ancient secret revealed, a members only process, a sales pitch or a bottle of snake oil. It is a process available to all derived and inspired from the Marian traditions and teachings. These traditions unite us as one breathing universe. They remind us that we are one and that what we do not only impacts our lives but the lives of all. They remind us of our commonalities dismissing differences. We all suffer in this life. We all have painful situations we are forced to endure. Yet in that pain and through those wounds we can transform. We can heal. We can find joy again. We can accept the gifts of hope and trust knowing that everything in and of this world is here for our growth and development. We will come through our agony transformed and healed having done so for the greater good of all.
I invite you to take this journey and wish for you a loving and kind guide to assist you with the tools and skills required as well as compassion, trust and hope.
Follow me on this journey by reading Part II-The Mariana Process- a unique approach to healing using the Marian traditions to help you heal and find yourself in the process.