It’s been said that destruction is often the first step in recreation. The caterpillar must die for the butterfly to come to form. Sometimes when it feels like your life is falling apart, it’s actually beginning to come together in a new and improved way.
While in the thick of the storm it’s hard to see that it will pass because you’re focused on lack, damage, and change. The normalcy as you know it has ended, leaving you in what is known as the void-a space between what was and what will be.
During your time in the void, you’ll be learning about your true nature, being stripped from life as you know it can do that to you. You’ll be forced to shift your perspective into the next steps to take or stay stagnant, waiting for the storm to pass.
The truth is all storms pass, everything changes, nothing is permanent. But what is also true is there is a version of you who enters the void and a version of you who leaves it, you’ll be changed forever.
How you shape that perspective and build that character depends on the choices you make in the void.
Are you buried or planted?
Bring to mind the seeds that are placed in the ground to harvest. Think of the trying times and tests they are put through before becoming a plant, a tree, medicine, or food on your plate.
Dug into a deep dark hole with little if any light, left only with an innate sense that something is going to happen next. Life can feel just like this at times. Things are dark and uncertain, you know something’s going to happen but aren’t sure what will.
All that you’ve got is your will to push through and the mindset to fuel it, but these things are choices, not obligations. The perspective you choose will determine the difference between whether you have been buried and planted in the ground. And your choice will begin propelling you toward that outcome.
Being buried feels like a complete lack of control over your life. Feeling the weight of the world on top of you, keeping the light from coming in. An experience similar to suffocation as you’re being pushed down deep into a swirl of emotions that continue reminding you of all the things you can’t change.
At first, it may seem that these things are happening to you, but after a while, you begin to expect it and maybe even seek the presence of unease. Simply put, the void means you’re not living the life you’ve been used to but you’re also not yet living your next chapter because it’s still being built.
It can feel like standing still in a field with no paths leading home until you choose to make one. If you choose to believe you’re being buried this feeling will last a very long time and you’ll continue to miss out on what’s waiting for you.
Being planted will have similar emotions attached but with a difference in feeling. While emotions arise naturally within feelings are focused on and determined by will. The experience may still be unpleasant but you’ll learn to focus on what is waiting for you on the other side of this trying time.
There may still be weight over you of all that you’ve lost but you’ll begin to acknowledge what is no longer holding you back. You’ll still be in darkness for quite some time but you strongly believe that if you push on a little longer, that light will shine through.
The time spent living in the void is a time to accept what is as a start to a brand new beginning. If you can shift your perspective from darkness to light, while still in the darkness, you’ve begun laying the foundation of the next chapter. When you choose the perspective of being planted there is no place to go but up, and you’re well on your way.
Relax, Release, Allow
Acceptance is a large step toward whatever lifestyle or goal you are trying to reach. You need a starting point and that’s what acceptance gives to you. Acceptance isn’t giving in or quitting.
It’s not telling yourself this is your way of living forever and it’s definitely not a pass to let time go by without putting effort into change. It is only once you’ve fully accepted where you are at this time in your life can you begin to see clearly where it is you’re going.
The three steps to come back to that help pave the way for life after acceptance are:
relax, release, and allow.
Relaxing into this moment means mentally and physically too since the body often holds onto tension, sometimes hours after your thoughts and emotions have passed. Bring more attention to the body’s sensations while you’re experiencing unpleasant emotions or thought patterns.
It takes time, practice, and consistency so be patient with yourself as you meet the parts of you that are troubling to navigate. Keep practicing. Keep coming back with a single breath cycle, an inhale and an exhale, to ground you back into your body and the present moment.
Once you’ve begun to relax your mind and body you can start moving into releasing what you are trying to hold onto. This should start at an internal level such as limiting beliefs, physical tension, and negative thoughts that are causing burdensome experiences.
Again, be patient with yourself and don’t quit because it’s hard to focus long enough. It won’t be easy but the simple way to approach it is to come back to the breath, the present moment, accepting what is even if it’s uncomfortable.
Whether you are aware of what’s happening within you or are keeping your eyes shut to the fact, it’s happening. Think of this practice as an awakening to your true self, drops of awareness in a giant bucket of consciousness.
When you’ve relaxed into the moment, begun to release what’s been holding you back, you can finally shift into allowing.
If you choose to believe you have been planted then you must believe that there is more transformation for you to go through. Being planted into the ground is the first step of many that lead to extraordinary growth that comes in stages.
In order for you to expand and prosper you must first allow for these experiences to happen. Relaxing and releasing what has happened or what is currently unfolding is different from practicing allowance, which can refer to either this moment or what is on the way.
A good way to remind you to practice allowance is by bringing your attention to when you are choosing resistance. Notice if you’re resisting anything at this moment, in your life, or in the grand scheme of things.
There are plenty of circumstances out of your control that you do not have to enjoy or even agree with, but resistance is a choice. When you choose resistance you’re investing energy in not letting go to a perceived idea or way of living, instead of proactively considering your next move.
Practice shifting your energy to what you can do.
Expansion often arrives disguised as discomfort, suffering, the paralyzing fear of not knowing what comes which helps deepen your roots while forcing you to reach higher. The higher you reach the closer you meet the goodness and light that trying to meet you.
Allow Yourself to B.L.O.O.M
This simple acronym is an effective way to remember how to navigate through the void of your life. Each time you visit it’ll surface different answers to these prompts, but it will always shift your perspective toward growth.
It’s important to remember that which does not challenge you will not change you, start looking for the ways you can improve right now no matter how small the step. Become aware of what is happening in the void without attaching your personal story to it.
Begin stripping away the judgments you attach to the struggle you are up against and start thinking of practical ways to maneuver through. The time you spend in the unknown months of your life can be a powerful shift in mindset, skill set, and momentum if you allow it to be.
These 5 prompts are a great place to start.
Practice shifting your attention toward all of the wonderful things you have at this moment. Bring your focus to the feeling of your blessings, it’s less about the story surrounding it so don’t get caught up in details.
Each time you practice you’re expanding your imagination which is a muscle that weakens each time you choose doubt and disbelief. This will make it easier to visualize and believe in the blessings that are on their way to you.
Learn how to focus on the growth-focused takeaways from each day you live through. Make a shift from the perspective of the sufferer to the student seeking out all the lessons you could learn from what you’re going through.
It could be as simple as learning to never make that mistake again or learning to incorporate more patience into your day. As with all of these exercises you’ll get better with consistent practice.
Acknowledge the obstacles in your path with an attitude of conquering them, crumbling before them. Recognize the journey will not be one of ease all the time and there will be things that trip you up.
Shift your focus to how you’ll overcome them, what skills you need to acquire, how much time you’ll need to invest, and how wonderful the reward will be on the other side. Obstacles are not optional, they’re necessary for growth, but what is optional is the way you choose to approach them,
Actively begin seeking ways to improve mentally, emotionally, and personally to create a better lifestyle. There are plenty of opportunities for you to grow through what you go through if you’re looking for them, which means you have to practice focus.
Start with your thought patterns, limiting beliefs of what’s possible for you, intense emotional reactions, and the environment you’re in. Open up a running tab of ways to be a little better than you were yesterday. Start slow, be realistic with the season you’re in, but never suit looking for expansion.
Start to strategically combine all that you’ve learned and practiced with the above concepts and create an action plan. Be honest with how lofty your dreams are and don’t make that a bad thing, just start with what you’ve got and move forward.
Momentum is going to be the driving force that pushes you out of your comfort zone and into the successful lifestyle you imagine for yourself. You also need to be honest about the season of life you’re in, the burdens you’re carrying, and what you’re capable of sustaining once you start.
Some people can take quantum leaps, while others have to take baby steps, don’t judge yourself on where you’re starting momentum has a way of picking up quick.
At some point in your life, you will find yourself in the void, the space between who you were and who you’re becoming. It can be a time of confusion, fear, scarcity, and uncertainty. It can also be a time of hope, empowerment, faith, and growth.
The beauty of the void is your perspective determines what you get out of it. The situation itself isn’t something you have control over but the response to it is in your hands. Before you respond to something that’s happening around you it’s important to practice introspection to find out how you feel about it, what you want out of it, and how you’re gonna make it happen.
Don’t be afraid to sit with yourself during uncomfortable times. In fact, this should be the first thing you do. Get to know what’s going on inside of you, learn about your fears, ask about your desires and the person you want to become. Don’t stay stagnant in the void because in time it will become a memory of the past. So how do you want to remember this time?
As Jon Kabat-Zinn so perfectly titled his book “Wherever You Go, There You Are.,” so stop running from yourself. Relax into the present moment because it’s the only one that actually exists, the rest are either memories, ruminations, assumptions, or expectations of the past and future.
Be here now.
Release your grip on what has past, what is no longer serving your highest good, what cannot be changed and notice how all of those thoughts impact your body. Start letting go of tension in your body, release your clenched jaw and fists, uncurl your toes, sit up straight and just present.
Stop resisting what you don’t like about this moment, stop pushing away your reality in hopes of feeling better, stop denying things as they are and awaken to the power you have right now. Stop trying to change your life by resisting what is and start focusing your energy on what you can do about it.
Allow yourself to expand into new possibilities, creating space for new chances and fresh starts to find you. Allow yourself to bloom.
Start by counting your blessings every day and finding the lessons you could be learning every night. Start acknowledging the obstacles in your path as chances to enhance your mindset, skill set, and awareness of the journey ahead.
Start seeking opportunities in ordinary moments to improve your emotional and mental wellbeing, while growing into the person of your soul’s highest desire. Begin building the momentum you need to push you upward, into the light and out of the darkness.
All of this is possible if you’re open to change, if you believe that you are enough as you are, and if you start now.