"You are Here in No-Man’s Land" Aging Like a Guru - Who Me? with Dr. Rosie Kuhn #145
One of the greatest challenge for anyone immersed in their aging process is being with what is. What is may not feel normal - as in the way life used to feel; as in there doesn’t seem to be any particular trajectory of your life, in this moment. There aren’t any should’s or shouldn’t - rules which provide guilt and shame as boundary markers for your life in this moment. In fact, there appears to be nowhere to go and nothing to do.
In a coaching session, Melanie declares, “I’m bored! I’ve given up and let go of so much of the trauma-drama of my past, and this is what I get? Boredom? What the F*^#!”
Melanie rants a bit more that all of her efforts to extract herself from the life of abuse and neglect seem to have brought her to this place where nothing makes sense anymore. “I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Sometimes I feel more insane than ever before. Wasn’t I promised healing, serenity and wisdom if I took this spiritual path? I’m pissed!"
You are Here on the Path in No-Man’s Land
As a practitioner, it isn’t my job to make this process easy, unless pointing to the landmarks and road signs eases the process of being human, and specifically in regard to aging. Whereever you are - that’s where you are. And, my job is to assist you in seeing and experiencing that this is the very place you are meant to be - in this moment.
Whatever it is you are being with is what’s yours to be with. Melanie, who has been immersed in the patternings of trauma and drama, is now transitioning into someplace that is no longer riddled with triggers for flight, fright and freezing. This new environment feels weird, empty, and pointless - boring. It makes perfect sense that this is how it feels to her, since all she knew before this is scared, reactive, and highly triggered. So much of that is gone, which is a very good thing. Now, here she is, but she doesn’t know where she is, so it’s highly disconcerting. It feels like crazy-making; not at all what she expected.
Any addict will tell you that once they got sober from their drug of choice, their life felt empty and pointless. They yearned for the highs and lows of the life they had while using. I too know this place well. It’s like being in a waiting room with no magazines, no music, no entertainment gadgets - nothing. Just you being you with no distractions, other than of your own making.
Where’s That Promised Land?
Moses did indeed lead the people to the promised land; however, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. The promised land is a place that we imagine will give us everything we desire. Yet leaving the known world requires that we travel through unknown territory - no-man’s land. Neither here nor there. What we discover about being here, if we are willing to see it, is that it is its own fulfillment of what has been promised to us. We’ve arrived!
In the Bible, it says that God made the Israelites walk in the dessert for 40 years as punishment. But, maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t a punishment. Maybe they could not receive the gifts of the promised land until they’d released and surrendered their attachments to their “stuff.” Whether Catholic, Jewish, Muslim - whatever or whoever you are - you, me, we all have stuff, and that stuff mainly includes entitlement and reward for the hard work and suffering one has gone through.
“Haven’t I suffered enough?” Says Ira, 20 years into the dessert. God says in response to Ira’s wailing, “Yes, of course you’ve suffered enough. You didn’t have to suffer at all. Just stop thinking the promised land is somewhere other than where you are, Ira. You’ve already arrived! Enjoy!!”
If, like Ira, and Melanie, we perceive where we are as not where we are supposed to be, then we will always experience lack, scarcity, and fear of not doing this right: “I must be wrong; I’m helpless, powerless, and pathetic!” Thus, the suffering in the desert for 40 years. Again, I know this place so well!
In A Course in Miracles, it says, “Lack implies that you would be better off in a state somehow different from the one you are in.” It takes courage and strength to see that in fact there is no lack in any one moment. There may be new experiences that are uncomfortable and disorienting, but that doesn’t make them wrong or bad - just different. Being with the differentness and seeing the beauty, awe and wonder that is present, because you’ve left behind your enslavement to trauma-drama, addictions, and whatever else kept you from knowing yourself as brilliant, radiant and light, well, it lets you see the paradise that is all about you always and everywhere.
Yes, it is a challenge to be liberated from old patterns, habits, and addictions. It is hard to be in something different without judging it or you as lacking. Yes, it musters up wisdom and discernment to know the difference. And yes, it’s important to get support and assistance from someone or a group that have gone through the desert, and found themselves before they reached that ‘promised land.’
This process of aging brings us ever closer to ourselves - if we are willing to be quiet long enough to arrive. To thine own self be true, is the promised land!
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For more blogs, books and videos, or if you are interesting in coaching or training with Dr. Rosie, check out her website: www.theparadigmshifts.com
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