The Spoon in the Road

We all know about the fork in the road, but what about when life gives us a spoon? Something that seems to want to scoop up everything in our life and feed it back to us in a new combination?

That's what happens when we are in transition - all of our history trails behind us and unconsciously informs where we go next and what we do. Traditional transition wisdom tells us to approach the next steps as another one of life's projects. We journal, make a list of options, write the pros and cons of each, rate them, and make a decision based on that.

But what if there was another way to pick up that spoon and see a deeper reflection of ourself in it? When we start to realize that there is no one other than ourself that knows our life, our history, our talents and our dreams, then the alternative is to simply find a still place inside where those elements can bubble back up into our consciousness.

This is an inside-out approach to the liminal condition, that place where we are neither in or out, on the threshold with one foot in each world, waiting to see what happens next. There is a life Principle that tells us we are always and only living in the experience of our thinking. When our personal thinking is in overdrive, which often happens when life circumstance are changing, our experience of such times are typically littered with fear and uncertainty.

The good thing about that is such feelings point back to thoughts, beliefs, memories and imagination that are taking us away from our innate intelligence that has gotten us through life this far. Even if we don't believe that there is such an intelligence, the emotional turmoil is a sign that something inside is amiss. Very few of us have ever been taught that we don't have to believe every thought that comes into our head. We so rarely even have the option to see thought for what it is - an energy, not a reality. We think that we are our thoughts. "I think therefore I am." When someone first points out that might not be true, most of us argue against that position. But everyone has had the experience, at some time in their life, of noticing thought as something separate from our personality. "Where did that thought come from?"

We all know the concept of the "Thought storm", when the blizzard of thoughts, images and memories blots out everything else. There is a mistaken meme in modern culture that thought is our enemy. But thought is a powerful tool of creation. We run our days unconsciously following our ongoing inner dialogue and software that organizes all of the data of our life into a cohesive linear construct. When all of that works together, we find ourselves " the flow" and life is good. But when there are inner elements in conflict with how the outer world works, or other parts of our personal identity, then the feeling side of life tells us. Our feelings are the gauges on our emotional dashboard that tell us in ways that we cannot ignore that something inside is out of whack.

That system is a built-in human diagnostic tool that has evolved to help us survive, thrive and succeed in life - as long as we know its purpose. When we are in a state of transition, which is nearly all of the time, either in small or enormous ways, we are guided by our feelings to move towards wholeness. When we ignore our feelings, we typically go astray and find ourselves "dazed and confused."

With an inside-out understanding, we can begin to see how the system works. "Do nothing" is a modern mantra that points to the fact that applying strategies to tweak the system is generally unsuccessful in the long run. Such strategies typically require hard work, discipline, concentration and will-power, traits that are not particularly in large supply for most of us. But there is a surprising and somewhat miraculous and effortless transformation that happens in us when we just make a simple commitment to notice the times when we are in the midst of minor or major emotional adventures, and become a witness of that process.

At first it seems so alien and impossible, like holding your breath for one minute under water. "I'll never be able to do that." The first time we just take a breath, go underneath, and pop back up gasping for air. But we do it again, simply observing the process, and gradually a skill and understanding grows in us. "I am not that feeling, I am the observer of that feeling." From that unfolding of understanding a deeper wisdom begins to surface. The thoughts, memories and habits are coming from a place that is limited and ephemeral, with no real substance to them other than their residence as an energy in our psyche.

There is nothing to do - continue to be the witness of such times and experiences, and watch what surfaces from underneath. When we try to dig too deeply into those places, there is often resistance and a deepening of emotional reactivity. That is a clue that we are in the right place, but simply need to wait for the unfolding of our truest self - behind all of the elements that we think define who we are.

For some people that awakening happens quickly, but for most of us it seems to take some time. Some people actually seem to have an inherent conscious understanding. But that understanding is available to all people, because it is part of the human DNA. We just need to keep looking in that direction, dive deeper and longer when we can, and watch for the appearance of the sunken treasure.

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