I spoke with a client this week who had a life story you wouldn’t believe. Abuse after abuse, loss after loss, abuse after abuse, loss after loss. Unfortunately for her, as an empath, she kept pouring from an empty cup because cup-giving was all she had ever known. She served others, she gave to others, she directed good energy towards people and all she got in return was more problems, effort, non-reciprocation, punishment, and burden. In these circumstances, it’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf: too much mess for the average person to believe; they assume you must be a liar and exaggerator. They won’t get it unless they have been through it themselves. Which is why this woman came to see me.
I listened to her story, in full belief. I asked her if anyone had ever acknowledged what she had been through, if anyone had ever said, “you have been through the worst of the worst and you did it — you’re still here”. “No, I guess not. I don’t really have anyone” she said. “Do you recognize that for yourself?” I asked her. “I guess I never thought about it like that”, she said. Instead of mess and chaos and drama, I only saw a brave soul who faced the spiritual warfare her whole 40-some years and had a beautiful, albeit weathered, body and soul that made her most worthy.
Learning your life lessons will not be easy, nor will it make your image squeaky clean. It will force you to think in the ways of the divine, no longer expecting a straight line point-A-to-point-B path; it will lead you into labyrinths and dead ends, peep-hole-sized windows to look from, and steps to repeat. No one will understand why you choose these circles and zig zags when the accepted path to success is so obviously linear. You’ll be forced to do things others won’t like, let alone understand, and you yourself will wonder what the point of it all is. You will be forced to face your demons.
You see, the only way out, at first, is backwards. Retrace your steps. What landed you in where you are now? How do you resolve, absolve, or flip it? To remember what landed you here, you stare down evil, remember the bad times, regret your compromises, and beg the divine for help. In working backwards to remember why you are at this place now, the skeletons you hid long ago in that closet of yours will come tumbling out. The whole world will see them. “Eww. Too messy. Why are you going backwards?” everyone will wonder. “Why can’t you forget like everyone else?” Forward progress is the only progress here and all they will see is forensic muck. “Stop digging up old bones” they will tell you. “Let sleeping dogs lie” they will say. But your soul has always been a detective and so, you retrace your steps alone.
As it becomes more obvious that this digging and mess is in fact the point of life, you will wonder why more people are not doing it. “If it were true, more people would be doing it”, you will think. “If it were true, they wouldn’t keep pretending”. Still, you keep digging. After many years and much mud and mire, you finally strike something — some pot of gold, some buried treasure you had hidden for many many lifetimes. Underneath the mess of the lessons was your soul.
You will begin to shine. You will begin to care more, and less. You will begin being who you have always been, but had forgotten. You got lost somewhere between the expectations of others, the desire to fit in, the easy compromises that felt good in the moment, and the running from your wounds. It was never a marathon, it was a stroll through a labyrinth and a treasure hunt.
I can guarantee you that everyone who is still running the marathon is missing the point. Stop looking up to them, stop trying to get in their good graces, stop trying to be like them. Going backwards through the mess is the only way out. Too squeaky clean and predictable and you don’t learn a damn thing.