Using confusion to find clarity
By Celine Wallace
Wellness Expert and Founder of Sattva Soul Retreats
Have you ever had those moments where you stop and wonder what the hell is going on with your life? Maybe you had a bad day, a bad week or a bad year. As humans, we’re always chasing this state of euphoric bliss and happiness, but the reality is happiness is a fluctuating emotion and is an unsustainable permanent state of mind. Don’t let that discourage you, in fact, make it relax your body and ease your psyche. Without passing moments of happiness mixed with bouts of unease or sadness, we wouldn’t know what happiness is. It’s like the yin to the yang of life; you can’t appreciate the light without the dark.
If you’re someone who seems to have more darkness than light in your life regularly then, yes, that’s not a good situation to be in, and these dark patches are probably occurring to get your attention by being continually be highlighted so you can delete them. It’s well known that an issue will keep resurfacing until it’s resolved, so what do you need to give attention to in your life? What areas are bringing up repetitive roadblocks? Your career, your finances, your love life – or better yet, maybe all three? Whatever is your obstacle try looking at these moments as milestones to overcome that are offering you lessons and room for growth? A problem can become a blessing in disguise, and even better, when that ‘problem’ is handled efficiently it can be a catalyst for change and can transform your life. Also, it’s important to remind ourselves when things get tough that nobody ever transformed or grew from staying in their comfort zone. It might suck right now, but it’s the universes way of propelling you in a different direction, so ditch the word ‘problem’ if you can and replace it with ‘lesson.’ That way life is either giving you a ‘win’ or a ‘lesson,’ and if the lesson is taken as such, you’re going to win anyway. Doesn’t sound too bad when you phrase it like that, right?
We all go through tough times, regardless of who we are, where we are, or how we live our lives, nobody is immune to sadness, anger or unease, so just remind yourself when you’re down that you’re not the only one who’s been there. The world isn’t out to get you and what you’re going through another million or more people have gone through before you. In fact, there are people out there experiencing it at the same time as you as well! I think that’s really important to remember when we’re low, that it’s not just us, because if we victimize ourselves and think poor me then that will dig the hole deeper and you’ll stay in this state of constant unhappiness and unease for longer. It’s up to you to decide why this is happening to you and how it will affect you, and ultimately how long it will continue to change you before you handle the situation. I was in India last year, and I was sitting with a monk, we were discussing life, and he said ‘You can accept the situation fully as it is, or change it, anything else is insanity.’ It really stuck with me because it’s true, as humans we like to get wrapped up in the semantics of daily life, but it’s really that simple, change your circumstances and move on, or don’t, but don’t wait for the situation to change itself; that’s the definition of insanity.
When I was younger, I would get wrapped up in the details or moral ethics of a situation and get angry and start to act out about why he or she did something, or why something was happening. I used to get myself so wound up and upset, I would cry, huff and puff, and generally become an emotional mess. I would end up fizzling out and eventually need a nap because I was so exhausted after being on such an emotional rollercoaster – hilarious now I think back on it. The sad and awakening part was I’d wake up after my little meltdown, realizing nothing had changed, and I hadn’t solved the issue at hand, so now I had to calm down and come up with a solution.
Since I’ve grown up, a little, I think why not skip the drama and leave the emotional basket case on the sidelines. Who wants to waste their energy on nonsense we can’t change? If something happens to me now, I stop and detach myself from the situation, and look at the logistics to find a solution. When you unemotionally separate yourself from something it’s easier to find a solution because you can look at the options and the possible outcomes without your ego isn’t getting involved. Emotions are basically your ego feeling hurt, damaged or threatened in some way, so take your ego out of the equation, and you’ll probably have your answer.
I remember when I first started to do this, and it was probably one of the lowest points of my life, or so I thought, I was living in Hollywood and had been there for almost a decade, fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming an Actress. I lived a life that looked fantastic from the outside but in reality, was hectic and far from satisfying and eventually the burnout and constant chasing of my 'dream' led me to crave a restful escape from the rat race. I was always ‘on' and had to search for moments of stillness while being endlessly on the go. I wouldn’t leave Hollywood though, and although I was reaching burnout, I was determined not to give up. After all, giving up or changing my path was a sign of not working hard enough, right?
Finally, the universe had to hand it to me, because although life was tough, I was determined not to let it get me down. Until I had a catalyst that changed my life; my partner and I broke up after we had a miscarriage. At the time I was devastated, and I thought it was the lowest my life could get. I was confused and lonely, but I gave myself one night of being sad and then decided to pick myself up by bootstraps and emotionally removed myself from the situation to look at my options. I say it was a catalyst because although it hurt at the time, this milestone altered the course of my life and now I'm nothing but thankful for this experience. I learned more about myself in that month than I could have in years of staying in my current situation.
I'm not saying you need to go through some catastrophic event to find your power, but for me, this wake-up call was what the universe required to propel me into action and give me clarity. My partner had always made fun of my innate spiritual nature too, which I let happen. I had always read tarot cards, practiced yoga, I even got certified in Reiki energy healing. Unfortunately, or fortunately, as I thought at the time, he was a wealthy, type A businessman, and his only priority was money, and anything spiritual wasn't entertained, so I stuffed down that part of me because I didn't want to ‘embarrass him.' Then after our break up, I had to stop the rollercoaster I was on, and think ‘Did this miscarriage happen for a reason?’ ‘What can I learn from this?’ ‘What do I want to do from here?’ I truly believe after looking back on this experience, which was a couple of years ago now, that this situation was what both of us needed to know we weren’t right for each other and the catalyst to end our relationship. I know if I had stayed with that person I would be an entirely different person than I am today and one that wasn’t my authentic self. I share this experience with you because I think it’s a good example of a low point where I thought my world was falling apart, but in reality, it was shaping me and coming together to create a whole new destiny beyond what I could imagine. After removing myself mentally from the situation and our break up, some quiet time and some stern words from my family and friends, I packed my bags, sold my car, said goodbye to Hollywood and booked a trip to Bali to become a certified Yoga Teacher. To say that confusion brought me clarity is now an understatement because it brought me so much more than that. You have to take control of life’s ‘lessons,’ and again, that choice is up to you.
Something else that is undervalued and needed to find clarity is that we need to take time out, in this modern world we live in we are continuously online and think we need to be available 24/7, which is dangerous and leads to burnout. If you’ve got a lot on your plate and always feel rushed or like you have 20 different tabs going on simultaneously in your brain, then you’re likely to have a shorter fuse and be firing on all cylinders at all times. This is a good thing to recognize, do you need to take a step back? Do you feel the need to be available to those around you continually? How can you create healthy boundaries, so you’re less likely to end up in stressful situations and can spend more time honoring yourself? Another excellent example of a simple way for giving yourself space is to imagine if you’re emailing with someone and have a misunderstanding or disagreement, then don’t feel the need to respond straight away. Stop, breathe and take a walk or have a cup of tea, these are actions you have control over and will shift your energy. The issue isn’t going anywhere until you decide to take action on it and if you’re unsure of how to approach it or just have too much on your plate walk away for a moment. Life will go on, and you’ll probably feel a lot better about the situation and yourself at the end of the day.
I really hope that whatever you’re going through this article provides you with some perspective, that you’re not alone, problems are lessons in disguise and these lessons can change your life if you choose to let them. Think of yourself like a Lotus flower, they are one of the most beautiful flowers, whose petals open one by one. But it only grows in the mud. To develop and gain wisdom, sometimes we have to experience some mud too.