When we’re honest with ourselves, most of us know that life = change – that there’s no such thing as stasis. Our inner and outer landscapes are constantly in flux.
Our experiences of that change, however, are myriad and after a weekend full of emotions I still can’t understand, I’m moved to talk about our less straight-forward experiences of it.
Changes we don’t understand
The murky shifts I have in mind are no less real than the ones we can readily identify (e.g. I moved. I got a job. I got divorced.), but often tear at our trust in particular ways. They cause us to question our self-awareness and feel a bit, well…crazy. They challenge our ego’s wish to name a “problem” and try to resolve it. And they elicit fear (in us and, sometimes, in people we love) that they’ll drag on forever.
So I want to talk about them. I’ve found that with greater consciousness, I can experience them with more cushion around my inner state of trust than is otherwise present – more ability to ride their discomforts, rather than constantly, flailingly be thrown by them.
The name I want to give these murky shifts is “No-name change”. Because, truly, they mystify.
No-name change is what I experienced this weekend. I attended Tara Mohr’s Playing Big Workshop and it was a fantastic experience. Full of wonderful content and dear, supportive companions. I left there FULL of inspiration and practical tools for navigating the inner and outer aspects of playing my freest, most authentic game.
On a level below my cognition, however, something was up. I felt intense urges to cry without the ability to name their root emotion. Grief, fear, shame, anger, nostalgia – none of these felt like “it”, and I was at a loss to come up with alternatives (I couldn’t even blame PMS!).
I engaged whole-heartedly in workshop and social time, and then walked the trails of Green Gulch alone, mystified, tears streaming down my face.
Riding no-name change with grace
As I reflect on these experiences and similar ones from elsewhere in my life, it seems clear that riding no-name change doesn’t usually look graceful on the outside. On the outside it can look like:
- Awkward attempts to act “normal” when everything inside feels strange
- Slow or blubbering tears
- Emotional flat-lining as you work to keep intense and/or inexplicable emotions in check.
On the inside, though, grace can be simultaneously present. Here are some of the ways I’ve discovered it can look:
- It can look like a kind and knowing nod to yourself that says, “It’s that no-name change happening again, isn’t it? Yeah. That’s hard. And awkward.”
- It can look like giving yourself space – in the form of inner permission, conscious surrender, or literal chances to cry, be alone, walk, sit in the bath, etc. – to let it do its thing for as long as it needs to.
- It can look like a reminder, taped to your inner or literal fridge, that says, “No-name change is happening. Welcome, again, to the human experience.”
Life is change, so no matter how intense you experience your no-name change to be, that, too, will change. With time and curiosity, you may get insight into its true nature/name (you may even sense it’s time to press in toward this end – to ask questions, to seek therapy). But then again, you may not.
My deep and deepening trust, however, is that whether or not we ever get a more specific name for it, no-name change isn’t a sign that we’ve failed on some enlightenment or self-awareness test. It isn’t a sign of immaturity and not likely a sign that we’re losing our minds. ;)
It’s simply one of the more awkward and mystifying ways that we grow.