Last weekend I went on a retreat in the mountains with no access to technology. No phone, no TV, no internet. When I went back to work on Monday a part of me was still in the mountains. I wasn’t fully present back at my job, as I longed to return to the simplicity of the weekend. I longed to feel the coldness of the snow around me and the warmth of the natural hot springs on my body. I longed for the honest smiles and generosity of the other people that were there, who shared my desire to get in touch with themselves. Coming back to the demands and business of my job I felt out of sorts and uncoordinated. I now know why I had been scared to go on my retreat. I was not scared of what I was going to give up, but of what I may discover that would change me. And last weekend I discovered that there is a space inside of me that is capable of transcending my feelings.
I didn’t get in touch with my feelings on my retreat, instead I realized that there is something much bigger and more important than my feelings. There is my consciousness, my life force, there is me. Feelings come and go. And I proved that last weekend as I walked through my feelings of resistance. As soon as I decided that I felt scared but I was going to do it anyway, my feelings followed me. But, if I had followed my feelings I would have stayed home and not challenged myself. If it was up to my feelings I would have worked that Friday instead of driving up a snowy mountain pass. At work I know the rules, I follow them, I get rewarded. There is cause and affect and a known outcome. I don’t have to look inside or worry about how I am feeling. In my finance job, there are indicators that try to determine the direction of the market. There are leading indicators that try to predict where the market may be headed, and there are lagging indicators that show where the market has already been. I realize now that feelings are lagging indicators. Feelings tell me about where I have already been. Feelings tell me how I feel about what just happened. And what just happened is over, it is in my past. So, how can I rely on my feelings to make decisions for my future? I can’t! I have to rely on something else. And that something is beneath my feelings. That something feels scary and unknown, because it IS scary and unknown, it hasn’t happened yet.
I went back to work on Monday, and I was busy working hard at a job that pays me money. It is because of this job that I own a house, that I can send my daughter to college, and that I can afford the extras on vacation. I know how to do my job, and do it well. I get a sense of satisfaction when our clients are happy and taken care of. I am grateful for my job. But it is not my calling, it is not my passion, it is a job. Lately I have been thinking that there is something more. That I am thinking too small, and that my mind needs to expand to see a bigger future. I feel it, but I am not sure what it looks like. It is like trying to see in thick fog. I see a dark fuzzy outline of something. I can’t see what it is or even if it is just in my imagination, but I know something is there. It is real to me but undefined. What is it?
No one can get there but me. And I can’t get there by holding on tightly and wracking my brain about it. The only way I can get there is by letting go. I have to let go of the way I thought my future would be. I have to let go of what I think other people want from me. I have to let go of what I see other people doing, and trying to copy them. I can only make it through the fog to my destination by walking through it blindly, and trusting myself to navigate. There is no diagram or map that will tell me where to go and what to do. A map doesn’t exist because no one has ever lived my life before. I have never existed before. So, why would there be a map showing me what my future is? My future hasn’t happened yet, there is no map. All I have is my intuition that if I stay calm and listen, it will guide me.
When I draw illustrations of women I feel like I not only channel my intuition but I channel a collective feminine space that we as women all know. It is our sacred space of being a woman. That space for me is happy and light and a little silly sometimes. It is a place of joy and optimism. It is from this space that I wanted to have a child of my own, and wanted to be a mother. It is in this space where I believe that anything is possible for my child, and also now for me. When I am there I can empathize with my own mother as she tried to hold her own in a marriage that was dominated by my narcissistic father. I feel her pain in that space, but I also feel her joy. It is a universal feminine space that we as women can enter when we have the time and desire to do so.
There is no monetary reward to get in touch with my feminine space. It is not a check box when I get my review at work. If I have a bad day at work my boss doesn’t suggest that I go home and meditate and get in touch with my feminine power. My job wants performance in exchange for money, and they don’t really care how I get there, as long as I perform. I understand this, they have a business to run. I am glad they do it efficiently so that they can stay in business, and so that I can have a job and support my life. I am not judging, I am stating reality. And the reality is that my job is the exact opposite of just being with myself for no particular reason. Just listening to my intuition and just noticing my feelings, as just that, feelings.
Now that I have gotten in touch with my intuition, my consciousness, really the ‘me’ underneath my feelings, I can’t go back. I can’t pretend that part of me doesn’t exist. I can’t un-know what I now know. I can’t take back my strength I had to walk through my feelings of resistance and to find the calmness and knowing that is inside of me. I saw myself. And just like meeting another person, I can’t take back the fact that I met them, no matter how hard I try. This is exactly what I was scared of. Because now my old excuses of, ‘I don’t feel like it’ will no longer work. Because now I know that what I feel now is absolutely no indication of how I will feel in the future. What I feel now only tells me about my past.
So, with no map, no diagram, no pat on the back or monetary reward, I walk into the fog of my future, scared but calm, and my feelings slowly follow me.