“That which we need the most will be found where we least want to look.” ~ Carl Jung
Raise your hand if you are grappling with something right now that has you by the tail. Or perhaps better said, by the mind. How do we find what we need most?
We can be take it as a comfort, I hope, that we are not alone in our edginess.
I feel the ground beneath my feet to be yawning, cranky. Unstable. I want to sit down, sit out the storm.
I want to busy myself with irrelevant thoughts and activities. They are easier. I want to avoid the hardest work. The work that requires painstaking excavation of hidden reserves of courage.
I am being called now, as each of us is called every morning, to let the knowing land. The insight that if we are to move from this rock and get to the shore of our heart’s desires, there is a body of water to traverse.
A diving in that is required.
Swimming with a modicum of faith that the undertow will relent. That the hungry, finned creatures below us will turn the other way.
To listen to what we already know: we have to get off this rock. The rock of staying stuck, isolated, separated from the hard-earned wisdom of our true self.
How is it, then, that we make that first, crucial move? Do that impossibly uncomfortable thing?
We take all the time we need to identify the very first step. Not the middle step that feels easier, where we have more experience. Rather, we do whatever is necessary to be clear on what comes before what we are comfortable doing.
We take out our journal and wait. We let ourselves stare at the blank page. We let the panic boil inside of our esophagus. We sit. We wait some more. We refuse the call to distract, numb.
And then we write. We write down what we’ve known all along. The first step. The step that renders us gelatinous with vulnerability, fear. Uncertainty.
That’s precisely where freedom lives, if we will surface it and then walk right to it.
Start Close In
by David Whyte
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in, the step you don’t want to take.
(Excerpted from River Flow: New and Selected Poems. Read the full poem here.)
What thoughts are racing through your mind on an unending, repeating loop of lack? What are you saying to yourself that makes your anxiety levels pulsate and bloom in hideous technicolor?
What step is the one you don’t want to take? Write it down right now. Feel the fear all the way through. In less than 90 seconds, the briars of anxiety will have lost their barbs, opening their tiny hands to let you slip out of the cuffs.
90 seconds can feel like a lifetime. Letting ourselves feel, fully exposed, is what loosens the wisdom we need. The knowledge of where to place our feet first.
Ready to start close in and become comfortable doing the uncomfortable?
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