“Self-realization is, after all, a risky business. ”
~ Braud & Anderson (1998)
This is a claim from two established researchers in the field of Transpersonal Psychology. It seems fairly evident given a little thought, yet I think it is so evident that it is likely taken for granted more often than not.
Typically, we enter into situations with our own agendas. Whether conducting research or simply leaving our home, we hold truths that help us to define ourselves and our world in ways that offer comfort and stability. When we enter into the realm of the human experience and open up fully to the possibility of the unknown, we willingly allow for uncertainty and transformation, wherever it may derive and wherever it may lead.
This realm of uncertainty is scary because it is just that – uncertain. Destination unknown.
In my life, it has been far simpler to dig just beneath the surface and gloss over deep-seated fears and hidden voices, struggling to reach out and grab me and shake some sense into me. Deciding to grapple with this inner self, engage in the struggle, and embrace the uncertainty of where it will lead feels somewhat self-centered and can be seen as egocentric. Yet, I feel that by taking this time to fully explore and understand myself and my own needs I will be better able to be fully present and offer a healthier version of myself to people in my life.
I am reminded of a favorite line from a Dar Williams song about therapy. “Oh how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself”. In this life, we are all trying to find happiness, or at least some form of harmony and balance between joy and our inner demons. Right now, I feel myself muddling and slogging through thick glacial silt with moments of solid ground beneath my feet. But I can see the salty waters of Icy Strait ahead and glints of light shimmering on the surface. I can feel the lightness of many thousand footsteps before me, plovers and dunlin, kittiwake and tern, wolf and bear. These are my guides. They have walked before me and they will follow behind, but they cannot walk for me.
This journey is one I make alone.