The title of this post is the answer to the question I've been crying out to the universe in desperation for the past few months.
The question is, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?
Now, "do nothing" is not the answer I wanted, but it is undeniably the answer I continue to receive.
I've gone through some major upheaval in my life recently, and this is essentially a euphemistic way of saying that I have blown it all to shreds over the past couple of months. I was beginning to notice that the structure of my experience was taking on all of the meaning and purpose that should have been comfortably tucked away in my heart; I was identifying too strongly with my ego and not serving my soul, and I also noticed that I was keeping myself comfortable but limited by remaining where I was. So, in typical Sarah fashion, I made some drastic changes. I started to (*truly*, dedicatedly) listen to my heart/intuition/gut/dreams/guides, and I could not escape the resounding message that I simply was not living in alignment with my heart's purpose -- this accounted for the inescapable dissonance that had become the soundtrack to my life.
In the spring, I left the yoga studio I was working at because of ongoing issues within the industry that I felt no longer able to accept. I quickly found what appeared to be a great job - a Coordinator position for a local no-profit - but I ended up leaving after four days because of inexcusable treatment from the Director. That entire experience was intense and very difficult for me, but the way I handled it was incredibly empowering and helped to remind me of my inherent personal power.
At this point, my love and home life had been suffering for some time and I was really struggling to make any improvements in these areas. Cam and I had some big fights and long discussions and ultimately determined it was time to split. I still have so much love for him as a person, a friend, and essentially family, and I have no intention of making him a villain here; our experience will forever be ours, between only us, and I'm so grateful that he was a part of my life in this way.
Certain relationships began to take on new energy and help me navigate this difficult path: my dearest friends and family stepped up with incredible love and strength and clarity when I felt lacking in these areas myself. A year ago, I would have told you I had nothing and no one supporting me. But a year ago, I was kind of an asshole stuck in a victim mentality. My relationship with Self has also taken on an entirely new dimension, and I've been doing the serious, gritty, challenging internal work with more vigour and determination than ever.
This was the stuff that really scared me, facing all of the shit that kept me in a low-level version of my life. But I knew there was work to be done, and this was absolutely the time to do it. So I started breaking everything down and cutting out anything that just didn't feel like me.
After a little while, the most beautiful thing happened: I became reacquainted with my Self. And I remembered how to properly love her.
Now, I'm done hiding. I'm done playing it safe. And I am done minimizing my power to suit my fear.
If I sound empowered and inspired to take action and start seriously changing my life, it's because I really, really am. But, here's the problem (ie. solution): everything right now is telling me to slow down, even to stop moving completely:
Maybe this sounds counterintuitive to you - it certainly did to me - but over and over again, this is the answer I've received to my constant badgering of the Universe ('what do I do now???').
I've been particularly in tune with my intuition lately and have felt more connected to Source energy than ever before in my life. Prior to asking this one big question, I had been asking many smaller ones and receiving the answers with clarity and acceptance. But with this one, the big, important one, I resisted so hard, convincing myself that I was simply not getting anything back - not receiving any transmission at all - when in reality I was rejecting the message because it didn't offer any direction: it was not what I wanted to hear.
I was desperate, flailing, screaming and begging for a lifesaver from the Universe. (You don't need to be religious to have had this moment at some point in your life - and if not yet, you will - of begging some higher power for help...)
I kept asking, praying, begging for an answer, and the Universe gently whispered, "do nothing."
So I protested: "NO! I NEED TO DO SOMETHING!! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO???"
I picked up Miriam, Toews' beautiful novel, All My Puny Sorrows, at the Vancouver airport while waiting for my return flight home. I looked around for quite some time before I chose a book (this is actually one of my favourite mildly guilty pleasures: the airport book purchase; it feels important... chosen... sacred... ) and I'd read (and loved) A Complicated Kindness years ago, plus I'm into supporting Canadian female authors, so it just felt like the right choice.
The sisters in this novel could easily be two sides of my own personality (the relationship is not so trite as the simple contrast between darkness and light - it's more like a lesson in loving all of these parts of ourselves through chaos and grief and uncertainty), and in seeing myself through this story, I began to speak to my own shadow sides, bringing them back into the light, and asking them to forgive me for their banishment. (And you know what, those shady bitches always come back home, despite the attitude.)
At one point in the book, Yoli recounts a dream she had in which everything is falling apart around her (literally) and she's filled with deafening anxiety and gut-wrenching despair, and in a moment of perfect peace and clarity, she hears (or thinks, or whatever): DO NOTHING.
I put the book down, closed my eyes, and took some slow, deep breaths. And of course, being the sensitive flower that I am, I began to cry.
I've been crying a lot over the past couple of months, because I'd been feeling sorry for myself. I'd taken some time to feel what I felt and grieve and heal, and I figured enough was enough: time to get shit done. But these tears were different: they were soft and full and fell off of my cheeks like perfect droplets of grace and love. Like an offering. Like a blessing. Not rushed, fully welcomed, and just perfect in their existence.
So much has changed in the past month - I keep changing, becoming more and more like myself - and while I'm remaining open to direction and ideas and inspiration, I'm not overwhelmed with anxiety about the future anymore. I don't feel like I need to have everything figured out right now, or tomorrow, or next week. I'm staying present, saying yes to things that feel expansive and no to anything that gives me the bad juuj; I'm carefully cultivating my experience without becoming rigid in trying to control everything.
I need a new job. And I need a new home. And yes, these are basic requirements for stability and produce an incredible amount of stress when not properly met. However, I executed what I needed to at a critical time - I focused my energy on something that I could do - and the settlement agreement (that we completed in under a month) ensures I'm supported in this transition and equipped to take on a brand new life, as soon as it's ready for me (or when I'm ready for it, or however this works). I continue to apply for work that seems really well-suited to who I am, and not necessarily based on what I've achieved.
And I feel really confident that I'm going to find my way through this, coming out the other side of it much better than before. This is not arrogance or laziness or expecting things to perfectly fall into place; it's putting complete trust in something bigger than myself, and then in myself. It's a deep knowing that I'm precisely where I need to be in every moment.
I'm not angry at anyone or about anything. I've spent so much time working through my suffering and my baggage, and I've found a new lightness and optimism from this beautiful opportunity to begin again. After all, when it comes down to it, that's what this really is: a new beginning, a chance to dream more wildly and listen better and connect more deeply and follow my heart.
I've been using two particular mantras during this period, when I start to feel down or anxious about my circumstances:
The first is pretty self-explanatory. The latter, of course, required a blog post for me to properly digest and express.
"DO NOTHING" doesn't mean you're giving up: it means you're not fighting against the natural flow of life.
"DO NOTHING" doesn't make you lazy; it creates space for your dharmic path to unfold.
"DO NOTHING" is complete trust and acceptance - and this is how we liberate the spirit.
When you stop scurrying to fix everything you deem to be wrong and trying to address every thought that crosses your mind, you become reminded of that endless well of compassion and peace that exists at the centre of yourself:
It's safe here, and everything is perfect, exactly as it is. There is nothing to do.