Necessary next steps

by Jill Sockman

Several years ago I wrote a post about feeling like I was in a waiting room. I could then and still can visualize it with amazing clarity. I was sitting in a long hallway — not scary or interesting or noteworthy in any way. In fact it was devoid of detail and without emotional content. But that sensation around the necessity of waiting is still palpable. It was not a time when I felt stuck, frozen, paralyzed or indecisive. There was nothing at all to be DONE. That was the point, and what was being asked of me was to wait. And so wait I did.

After a time, doors opened and in more ways than one, circumstances in my life changed, which led me to believe that the waiting period was over. I moved ahead anew, with clear direction. I moved ahead with purpose and excitement. And then, in more ways than one, those paths all came to dead ends. Looking at it in this framework, it would have made sense to return to the waiting room to lick wounds, regroup and recalibrate true north on my inner compass. It would have made sense to go back in and pause for the next set of instructions. But that is not what happened — or what was needed — at all. Yes to the wound licking and re-orienting. But no to the waiting. What I’ve found is that those dead end paths, while not the hoped for Direction or Course Correction in my life, were simply what freed me from the waiting. They were the necessary next steps on the path, not destinations unto themselves.

What I’ve learned from this is that sometimes, it’s not love but pain that opens us up. It’s not success, but failure that shows us how incredibly strong we are. It’s not what we gain, but what we lose that makes us profoundly grateful for what we have. Finally, I am reminded of a teaching I share so often about shraddha — faith as seen from the yogic perspective. Everything we have is exactly what we need. And held in that wholeness is the perfection of things just as they are. Growth and change are uncomfortable and difficult and necessary. And ultimately there is no destination, just journey: sometimes waiting, sometimes moving, sometimes bright and sometimes dark.

And so as I write to you this month, I invite you to take a look at where you are and what you have. If it’s a place filled with light, clarity and fulfillment, give thanks. And if it’s a place of darkness, confusion and sorrow, also give thanks. As Rumi says, All Evolves Us.