Have you ever found yourself waking up in the middle of the night disoriented and needing to go to the bathroom (usually in a hotel room where you’re vacationing), and because it’s so dark, you’re stumbling around and disturbed because you can’t see?
It can feel very frustrating.
Stumbling around in the dark is a great metaphor for how we sometimes can feel in life.
- You may be knee-deep in the anguish of a relationship and you don’t see a way out.
- You may be way over your head in financial troubles and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
- You could be in a work environment that feels toxic and unsupportive, and you wonder how you could survive another year of this, much less five or ten years in the same job.
What do you do if you find yourself stumbling around in the dark?
The first step is to stop and get your bearings.
Trying to rush to the bathroom after immediately waking from a deep sleep can be disorienting. Instead, take a second to stop and see if you can locate where you are.
Ask yourself, Where am I?
Your eyes might need to adjust to the darkness. After a few seconds, you can start to make out the shapes of objects and get a sense of where you are.
The same is true in a life situation where you feel lost. Take a moment to breathe and get a sense of where you are and what’s happening in your life. See if you can look at the situation without blinders and look at what’s real.
Too often, people want to immediately rush to a solution.
However, if you’re stumbling in the dark, you might run into a table or stub your toe. You might cause more problems because you want to take action, any action.
But if allow yourself to be present to the moment, you begin to ground yourself and bring a greater awareness to your surroundings and where you are.
After you get your bearings, the next step is to focus on where you want to go.
If you’re in a dark hotel room, you might have to recall where the bathroom is.
Okay, you say to yourself. My bed is right here, and I remember the bathroom is around the corner from the foot of my bed, across from the closet and right near the front door.
This same step can apply to a life situation. Once you know where you are, you have to get clear about where you want to go.
For example, if you’re in a job where you find yourself dreading going to work and you get sick often because you can’t stand it, you might determine that where you really want to go (in your heart of hearts) is to find another place to work.
This step might be one of the hardest for people to make.
You may have an inkling of where you want to go, but then you immediately start to think of all the ways it could go wrong or why it shouldn’t happen.
With this particular example of knowing you want to find another place to work, you might think, “I can’t do that. I’ve been in this job for 15 years. What else could I do? There’s no way I can start all over again.”
This step is difficult because you might be conflating where you want to go with how you’ll make it happen. These are actually two separate steps.
That’s why I like this metaphor of stumbling in the dark to go to the bathroom. You know where you are (on or near the bed) and you know where you need to go (the bathroom).
It’s simple. You usually don’t ask yourself what could go wrong in going to the bathroom, or why you shouldn’t go to the bathroom. You just know that you need to get there, and that’s where you need to go.
So what’s the next step?
After you know where you are and where you need to go, you figure out how you want to get there.
If you’re in the hotel room and it’s really dark, you might need to shuffle your feet slowly forward while waving your arms around to make sure you don’t hit anything.
Or, if there happens to be some light coming from an alarm clock or some brightness coming from underneath the door from the hallway, your eyes might have adjusted to seeing a clearer path and you move forward with more assuredness and ease.
Whether you shuffle or take big strides, you start moving forward.
With your life situations, you’ll have to figure out what initial steps you want to take.
One way to figure that out is to write out and brainstorm some possible ways to get from here to there. See if you can come up with at least 5 different possibilities.
Another way is to talk with a close confidante, like a friend or family member who can be a sounding board for you.
Or an additional path is for you to seek out some professional assistance from someone like a coach, counselor or mentor who has the expertise to help you figure out what steps to take.
And, as with stumbling in the dark, you might need to adjust your steps along the way.
You might have started off feeling self-assured, thinking, “I know where I’m going. Let me get there quickly,” and you walk boldly ahead.
But then you accidentally bump into your luggage that you left in the way. So you might switch to shuffling your feet for the remainder of the path.
As in life, you take a step and then you re-adjust along the way if you need to.
The spiritual truth in today’s lesson is this:
There are moments in your life where you may feel yourself stumbling in the dark. No matter how lost you may feel in the moment, there is always a way forward.
Getting centered and clear on where you’re at now and where you want to go help to make the journey a little easier. And sometimes, you have to move your feet when you can’t see the whole picture.
When all is said and done, take heart.
After you start moving and taking action, eventually, you will find the light.
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
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