Do you ever feel like you were meant for more than what you are currently doing in life? Did you ever notice how people have a hard time with change and life transition? Do you ever wonder what could possibly make these experiences more approachable?
The unsettling feeling that something more is calling you can be strange and is often ignored. Is there a sense of purpose and enjoyment in your daily tasks? Many of us find our routines monotonous, from the way we get coffee and brush our teeth each morning to the way we interact with co-workers, family and friends, all the way to how we get ready for bed. We have our reasons for these routines, making money to support ourselves and others, staying awake, finding comfort. But do these routines provide you with something more, something special, something that reveals a hint of your unique purpose in our world?
Often times I can recall a youthful moment in which I dreamed, or even knew, I’d change the world somehow. It was hard to hold this knowing as I continued to grow. Life lessons, lessen the knowing and enthusiasm of being a change agent. Attempts and letdowns have us finding ways of making life work rather than moving with purpose in our lives. But, where does this go? And can it return to us, be of value to us, reveal our truth to us? We may not know what is calling us now, because we change and what calls us changes. And I believe that that youthful moment still lives in all of us if we are willing to discover and connect to the call.
As for change, I think we can all relate to feelings of resisting change, experiencing clenching in our bodies, or creating the reasons not to make big moves. Changes can disrupt our lives and leave us feeling un-easy in unpredictability. Ambiguity is uncomfortable. However, discomfort, more often than not, invites us to grow. Think of the big life phases that stimulate discomfort in the unknown: moving away from home for the first time, getting married, becoming a parent, changing your career and risking it all do so, stepping into separation or divorce, no longer identifying as a parent, leaving the working world, leaving the world (terminal illness or facing death). Having lived through any of these, would you ever wish you hadn’t? All these experiences ask us to sever from all we know, from ways we have come to define ourselves, and invites us to step into something really different.
How well do you do this? Do you find yourself spiraling into dark places, shame or doubt or guilt? Do you find yourself moving through it quickly, ripping off a band-aid and walking on, not taking time to notice the mark of the former experience? Do you seek ways for someone else to give you the answers? Do you drink too much, eat a lot or too little, grow angry easily, feel too distracted to manage day-to-day tasks? What if we all had the ability to move through transitions in a way that reflects our maturity?
Though, everyone is different and approaches situations differently, there a number of components that I believe can help almost everyone: Nature, Community, and Ceremony. Nature, because it offers us acceptance no matter what, the lesson of learning and adapting to constant change (among many other lessons), and the pace of returning to our nature/truth. Community, because it allows us to be seen, heard, valued in our experiences and it holds us to growing into who we are. And Ceremony, because the psyche needs markers, needs time to recognize the end of one way, hold sacred the time of the in-between and of emerging, and the celebration and acknowledgement of beginning a new way.
Some people may think Oaks Counsel is a program that connects people with nature, maybe putting it in a category of “shamanism” or alternative healing, but it’s more than you may think; just as you are more than you think you know.