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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

The Crucible of Awakening

Much is said these days about healing and spiritual awakening, and the deep joy, clarity, and peace that are the promised fruits of the inner life. Not much is mentioned, however, about the disappointment involved in waking up; about the fear, grief, loss or the immense deflation and rage wired into the healing process.

Awakening can break our hearts and shatter old dreams. Awakening is a birth and death process, a dynamic and simultaneous creativity and destruction event. Awakening covers the full spectrum of experiences. Not only does awakening introduce us to transfiguration, but it brings the chaotic and disorienting comprehension of crucifixion and resurrection as well. We come to the realization that the Kingdom is here, now! But your full participation is required for the Kingdom to emerge, to manifest here.

While the human ego has a natural bias for rebirth or resurrection, within the cauldron of awakening, dark and light are one. Here, death is as holy as birth. Disappointment and dejection, loneliness and fear are part of the sacred passage. Disillusionment and disenchantment are harbingers of wholeness. Death and life are not separate. Confusion and clarity are not detached. Vulnerability and aliveness are not disconnected, isolated or opposing experiences.

It requires a nonconventional, courageous commitment to venture down these pathways. You will likely feel resistance inside you and within the collective. Meeting and expressing the pain, shame and rage at the core of that resistance releases the life-force required to catalyze the momentum needed to reorganize what has until now been your status quo.

The perception of “not enough” and “enough” is a reflection of the collective insistence on light without darkness, life without death. We're entitled to enough love and enough attention as infants and developing humans. When our holding environment and primary caretakers don't provide enough of what we need, we entrain to a thought process and belief structure that sorts for what's missing, for what and who is inadequate.

When we awaken to “enough,” we can perceive sanctuary and safety in our relationships, in our environment . . . it isn't the containment of parental love and attention we were denied, but there is enough attention and kindness in the presence of teachers, therapists, partners and friends to provide safe passage for the fear, uncertainty, doubt, and despair and fury that will weave in and out of this human existence.

When awakening happens, light and dark are understood to co-exist. Light is known relative to darkness. Expansion requires contraction to have a reference, a marker, an indication that movement is occurring. We get just enough "not enoughness" in our lives to provide the contrast required to recognize enoughness, to consider and perceive what enoughness might look like and feel like.

As awakening progresses, the emphasis of perception shifts and lack or “Not Enoughness” . . . the child's attachment to “Getting what I want the way I want and only that way” is no longer the reference point from which perception and experience is organized. “Enough” becomes the new guiding principle. Enough time, enough space, enough love . . . Enough is the new organizing reference point for your experiences and perceptions. A contracted state of loneliness in the context of enough attention, relaxes and reorganizes as connection. Bringing presence to what we have, even if it is loneliness, versus looking out or away for what we want or think we should be having, is the crucible and the alchemy.

When we are awake to the experience that there is enough holding and attention for what IS . . . when we are enough, within the awareness of ENOUGHNESS, feelings of helplessness, loneliness, grief, loss anger and fear, shadow and darkness are seen as portals into something new, quantum, and vast . . . and Enoughness will contain and carry us, support us through the transformative process.

Dare to see that things are not always as they appear. A spouse’s behavior, a child’s illness, relationships ending, dreams collapsing, careers recycling, the death of a family member, and the infinite symptoms of the somatic and emotional world . . . all our experiences are drenched in purpose, soaking in meaning, and providing the opportunity to experience the fact that we are held in complete enoughness. Within that enough ness we are able to integrate the repressed, denied, resisted dimensions of this life. Painful, difficult confusing moments in life are not evidence of error, failure, or defeat, but of the relentlessly creative expression of love as it emerges here, guiding us to open our hearts to ourselves, first . . . and then, in gratitude, to each other.

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