We’re all the heroes of our own stories, but the heroes we admire in literature and on the screen find themselves undergoing spiritual and emotional transformations more often than they find themselves using the bathroom. If all of us are heroes, each going on a continuous, limitless, and recursive journey throughout the stages of our lives, then where are you in your journey? How does it relate to your current struggles? What lessons are here for you to learn?
There comes a time in every traveler’s journey that they become completely separated from their old way of being.
When a space shuttle is launched into orbit, there comes a time when the gas canisters have disconnected from the rocket, and the shuttle floats freely above the atmosphere of the earth. The shuttle has become completely disconnected from its planet of origin, not even tugged back to the earth’s surface by the force of gravity. After crossing the threshold of your journey, you too have found yourself perilously distant from where you began.
And yet, despite the danger, your transformation approaches a full bloom. The realm of the unknown is not just a shadowy lounge of terror. Your creativity might start to rebound, as your new environment has fostered a genuine and blossoming relationship with the unknown. It was only so frightening because of the potential it held, and now you get to experience that potential, both good or ill.
You might feel a growing distance from people you used to be close with.
As your attitudes have evolved and grown throughout your journey, you have moved further and further from the person you were when you began. If a friend or loved one is not travelling alongside us, it can become a serious source of tension. Any reminder of the past might feel like a set of shackles binding you from the way ahead.
Even if you feel a growing disconnection from your past, you still have an intense need to connect with the people you loved there. You might feel a sense of mourning for who you’ve had to leave behind. The people who were with us from the very beginning of the journey might not be with us anymore. This is not just a separation between your old world and a new one, this is a separation between who you have been, and who you are going to be. Right now is a moment to take inventory of the people who have kept up with you, and take note of the reasons you may have succeeded in making it this far while others have not.
Just because a loved one has stalled on one step of their journey for longer than we’d like does not mean that we have to fight or confront them.
The further away from you they are, the more you’ll need to raise your voice, and the louder you appear, the more will be lost in translation. It’s not your duty to drag your loved ones kicking and screaming along the same journey you’re travelling, even if such a thing were possible. It is not worth violently screaming criticisms out of love when a quiet wave would have inspired a similar level of growth.
“History may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” – Mark Twain
Being reminded of the person we used to be might inspire feelings of shame or guilt.
Putting a mirror up to the way things used to be is about to become completely necessary. By crossing your threshold and separating yourself from the shackles of the past, you have needed to learn new values and ways of being in order to cope with your changing consciousness. While our past is not certain to repeat itself, the shadows that it can cast across our future are broad and daunting. You are about to step into your highest power, just in time for all of your values (both shameful and cherished) to be shaken and tested to their core.
But to be fully prepared for the haul that lies ahead, you need to fill your cup. Your changing brain is a boundless font of free-flowing imagination, and all of the challenges you have met along your way have opened a thousand doors of opportunity for you. Now is the time to try something new. Your journey has given you the tools to become the person your old self would have been resentful and jealous of. Now is the moment to forgive the faults of your past. It led you to where you are right now and right now is exactly where you need to be.
This is your chance to begin gaining awareness and gratitude for the opportunities your past self has afforded you. Your highest self has the power to examine every horrible mistake you’ve experienced and learn an inversely beautiful virtue for your enlightenment or suffering.
When you feel detached, your medicine is the warmth of human kindness.
You need to reach out, feel respected, and become more in touch with your commonality to others. It’s vital to stay in touch with our guides and mentors as we navigate through this intense and stressful period of separation. Even if you don’t receive the perfect piece of sage guidance, you’ll still get the opportunity to be seen and heard. Speaking with people we look up to keeps us in touch with our highest self, and opens up the path to the life we really want.
You don’t need to feel guilty for relying on and needing from your loved ones. If you grew someone a flower, they probably wouldn’t complain about the smell of the fertilizer you used. If your mind visits the pit of despair, and has thus failed to conceive any path that leads you forward, it is healthy, mature, responsible, and reasonable to book an appointment with your therapist.
But it isn’t always clear what to say to a therapist. Here are a few concepts worth exploring in your next session:
Acknowledging That Things Are Changing.
You cannot give in to denial if you want to continue travelling this leg of your journey. If you do not acknowledge the shifting tides of your environment, you will become swept up in them. Think about the ways that your life is changing, both for better and for worse. Acknowledge your accomplishment, but also your suffering, then recognize how you’re going to cope and change your approach going forward.
Sometimes we become disconnected from others because we cannot accurately or undramatically express our feelings or needs. This might sound a lot like the DEAR MAN skill we described when you found your mentor, and that’s because that should be the first item in your toolkit when it comes to being an effective communicator. As you become your fully actualized self, it will become more and more important for you to hone your interpersonal effectiveness so that you can meet your growing needs. Try talking with your therapist about what skills you can use the next time you’re struggling through social interaction.
Sometimes there are aspects of our life that are completely beyond our control. There are mountains we can’t climb, there are problems we can’t fix, and there are egos we cannot massage. By recognizing when you need to let go, you set yourself free from the heartache of the way it used to be.
The journey is long. So long that you’ll be travelling along its path for the rest of your life, maybe more than once. The pace can be grueling, because we don’t choose when we need to grow, only if. The rewards are countless, endless, ceaseless, and priceless.
Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.