Loss of gravity.
Questioning the matrix.
Here, but not here.
Lost in space.
Adrift in the great unknown.
Seeing through the veil.
Feelings of meaninglessness.
On the surface, these words seem to indicate a bad time, but what if I told you these feelings were actually a sign of something good happening?
You’d no doubt scoff in disbelief and ask me if that good thing coming was an early death, because that’s about all you’re up for these days. Your disillusionment with life has left you wanting the final check because it feels hopeless staying here and participating in a world of chaos and greed. You’re probably feeling like a terminal illness diagnosis would be the answer to all your problems. One where you could take a short amount of time to go sky diving, say goodbye to your grandmother, and slip away quietly one night in your sleep to the great beyond where things will make sense again.
The only way I can describe this is because I feel it too. Notice I didn’t say I’ve “felt” it before. I, present tense, feeeeeel it currently. Recently, I was sitting by the bay on the Gulf of Mexico at Maximo Park in St. Pete watching the dolphins and sailboats from behind a line of palm trees shading my picnic table while a squirrel begged for my sandwich, and suddenly, I felt a wave of dread that none of it was real. I became worried the clear, calm ocean in front of me, as well as the wet, sandy paw prints and scattered, broken shells, were a digital rendering of a reality created by an evil patriarchy to enslave me to their scoundrel endeavors for power.
I fell into a deep well of sadness, which felt like the source of sorrow for all of humanity. I asked myself, “What is the point of anything? What is the purpose of life?”
I’ve shared these feelings of sudden and often unexplainable anxiety to trusted friends, therapists and other healers, and to my surprise, they’ve said, “Yes dear, you’re waking up. We all feel it.”
The concept of spiritual awakening sounds so romantic and enlightening, and for sure, it can be at times. I’ve had moments of extraordinary bliss where I’ve seen myself as a droplet of light hurling through the solar system feeling immense love flooding every cell of my body. And then there are hours and days when there’s a dark heaviness that feels unbearable to withstand. The process of awakening is both. It’s life and death, hope and despair, feeling connected to all things, and feeling separated too.
What I’m learning now is the process is ongoing. In reality, when our alarm goes off at 6:07am, we wake up, hit the snooze once or twice, and perhaps we fall back asleep in between those nine minute grace periods, or maybe we just lay there trying to motivate our bodies to flip back the blankets and rise up out of bed, but usually we stay awake the rest of the day. Getting out of bed is sort of a one and done task for the day, for most of us. So when I first realized I was in a spiritual awakening about nine years ago, I thought, “Good! I’m ready to understand the mysteries of the universe! Let’s do this!” I, of course, assumed the waking up would take a maximum of a few weeks tops to at least make it through the spinning, untethered sensations I was feeling. I did a lot of self-care, I was gentle on myself, I left notes reminding me it wasn’t as bad as it felt. I was proud, like the good recovering Christian missionary martyr I am, of the pain I was experiencing to achieve an enlightened state. But then I realized waking up is a daily ritual.
I didn’t know back then this would be a cycle of bliss and despair, and that it would carry on for the duration of my life. Even after nine years there is still waking up happening in the deeper layers of my life. It’s unfair to expect ourselves to shake off the heavy sleep of a lifetime of going through expected societal motions and listening to religious and political machines tell us what we should want our lives to look and feel like all at once. I’d hoped to get in the express line, but sadly there doesn’t seem to be one.
The good news is, I’m awake enough now to understand my worth is not works based. My life doesn’t have meaning because I have a degree in English, or because I had some words I wrote published, or because I gave birth three times and am now raising those teenagers as a single parent. It doesn’t have meaning based on the amount of money, or lack thereof, in my bank account. It doesn’t have meaning because someone is or isn’t in love with me.
My life has meaning because I’m alive. End of story.
The very good news is: so does yours! In a world where we’re continually subjected to everyone’s best moments of their days on social media—the beautiful cup of coffee they ordered at a cute shop downtown, the adorable capture of their stylish baby, the little artistic vignette of their postmodern chair, staged with their favorite book, opened as if they were just reading it, and perhaps a handsome cat asleep in a sunny window nearby, all leads us to believe everyone is having a better day, or a better life, than we are. Nonsense.
Coffee doesn’t give your life meaning, even if it has a gorgeous, swirly leaf embossed on the top.
It’s hard to share these thoughts because there are those who are either not waking up and truly believe their drinks and jobs give their lives meaning—and to some degree it’s true, these things do give our lives enjoyment and occupy our time. Others, if they’re waking up, and they’re on a blissful day or moment, will deny they ever felt the meaningless despair. We would like to appear to those around us like we have our shit together one hundred percent of the time. Maybe we’ll allow one or two days a month for emotions to overtake us, when we let our guard down enough to admit our struggles; but that usually follows with vulnerability remorse as we apologize to everyone in our wake for having imperfect, messy feelings.
It’s hard to share these truths because I risk being judged for them.
But I’d rather risk being judged by a small few, then avoid letting the rest of you know you’re not alone. If my speaking up helps even one person achieve a glimmer of hope and the strength to carry on through this life long journey of unraveling and healing, then it’s worth whatever accusations someone may make against my mental wellbeing.
I’m getting by and weathering my storms with the help of my friends, parents, significant other, therapist, homeopath, Reiki teacher and by tapping into my higher self and all the resources out there created by others who are a little ahead of me in their journey.
We are all on the journey whether we’re awake or not. I think of it like the phases of the moon: there is the darkness of the new moon before we’re aware we’re asleep, and then slowly we gain more fullness as we bloom and open our eyes and understanding. Wherever you are on your journey, I hope you’re able to reach out to those ahead of you for support, and when you have days you feel strong enough, you reach back to help someone who’s just beginning their waxing crescent phase.
Spiritual awakening is not a competition or a reason for status. You can’t derive meaning from where you are in your phase of enlightenment. You’re no better or worse than anyone else who is genuinely seeking truth. You and I don’t matter because we’re beginning to see behind the veil into the deeper truths of the universe.
We matter because we’re here. End of story.
Peace and Love,