After the extended lockdown and the greatest perceived repression of individual freedoms since the U.S. began…
… we’ve now entered the phase of the Great Resignation (or the Great Relocation, depending on what you’re reading.)
What I’d more accurately term the Great Re-definition or Reinvention, perhaps.
We are no longer satisfied with who we’d become.
Repression has this funny habit of sneaking up on us and doing the exact opposite.
Like the beach ball that’s shoved underwater for a second too long. Out it pops wildly.
When something expands, it can’t go back into the old box.
Like the air mattress you pull out for visiting friends when you try to smush it back into its original bag. Right.
We are no longer the same beings we were on last July 4th holiday.
A year ago on July 4th I wrote a blog on What is Freedom, Really? I shared about my own racist underpinnings and realizations that I’d been hoodwinked too by the whole American glory story. As I wrote that, I didn’t realize I was tapping into the culture wars emerging about Critical Race Theory that would attempt to redefine how we see activism and politics.
Once the video of George Floyd’s murder was out of the box last summer, there was no putting the expanded awareness and perspectives of racism and inequality back into their rigid and tightly-held container of white privilege.
We evolved our ability to take perspectives. From our locked-down fortresses against the virus and yet always digitally-on global-fishbowl perspective, we began to see the world through new lenses.
And we became something else.
We might as well call it the Great Individuation.
The most important (and often unresolved) individuation in our lives is in early childhood, the developmental phase of Rapprochement, where a baby slowly differentiates themself from the primary parent (mother typically) and begins to become aware of their own identity.
This phase, defined by Austrian child psychoanalyst Margaret Mahler, characterizes how all other transitional phases in our entire life will go. If we don’t individuate well at this stage (which is most common), we don’t learn to become ourselves throughout much of life.
We become more developed versions of our repressed selves.
“When a child doesn’t develop an adequate level of self-awareness or self-identity, their authentic nature and deepest soul desires are suppressed. This suppression leads to overt expression of the childhood wound, rather than the authentic gifts of purpose.” ( The Golden Thread, Chapter 1).
And from our screens and monitors we watched the world expand. Or blow up, depending on your perspective. We became aware that we’re meant to be more than the confined surrogates of ourselves defined by our families or conformist cultures of origin.
We peered outside the windows of our locked worlds and wondered what was on the other side.
When the doors opened, initially apprehensive of the possibilities and then bursting out like schoolkids for the summer, many of us ran.
Ran amok. Ran away. Left. Veered and Ventured.
Whatever your version of “amok” has been, or still is… did you gain any freedom yet? Or just in search of?
The initial exploration of who you’re newly becoming takes awhile, as you settle into a new identity beyond that which you’ve been living for a lifetime, or even this last little bit.
Each transition to a new phase becomes its own “rapprochement,” transitioning from the earlier version of identity attachments that were your values-in-action.
Who do you become now? And how do you become it?
First. Avoid the Temptation to Reject
As we run away or amok, our temptation is to reject what we had. If it was security and stability that you were attached to, don’t trample those concepts. They gave you what you needed.
Examine and create a healthy attachment to security (or whatever you’re now detaching from,) not an overly rigid one.
Second. Avoid the Temptation to Blame
Next you’ll want to blame yourself or others for where you’ve been. Even though it was exactly right for what you needed where you were.
You just outgrew what was useful for the time, and now you’re ready for the next phase.
You are not a victim of what’s been done, nor are you the victor of all that you’ve conquered. It was just time to go. No one’s at fault, no one to blame. It just is.
Third. Avoid Being “Right” (and Righteous) About Your New Perspective.
Often, almost always, we choose to be right (and righteous) about having overcome those horrid chains that bound us and having clawed our way out of the former phase. We’re further along than those we left behind, and obviously better than those who haven’t yet followed us.
No, you’re not.
You’re blessed to have had some realizations. Ready for the next thing. You’ve gained some new perspectives, new capacities and also new responsibilities.
Gear up for the ride ahead. It’s not over. Guaranteed.
Let go of any belief that somehow with your new capacity-in-tow that you’re god’s gift to humanity and can teach us all how to do it now.
We all have our own lessons to learn. In due time.
Fourth. Avoid the Belief that You’re Done.
Ain’t no such thing as woke.
It’s never done. There’s always another layer of the onion.
Each new stage of consciousness has its own baggage, replete with shadow and pain and discomfort and near-misses. You will reveal, unearth, deconstruct and dissolve.
Rinse and repeat.
But it’s worth it. Cause out beyond the field, where social constructs are mere illusions, the flowers are brighter and the fragrance is beyond compare.
And problems are easier because the solutions emerge from that bright fragrant field of possibilities.
Fifth. Follow the Thread. Become Who YOU Were Meant to Be
Don’t follow the others who came before you. You don’t need to be a thought-leader just because you’ve had great insights. Or a healer because you can now feel subtle energy. And maybe don’t become a coach just because you’ve figured out the importance of self-awareness.
The world needs fewer of those already and more people who are building stuff to meet the real needs of the new world, not those who are telling everyone else how to do it.
Go make something.
Listen to the nuances of your soul expression. The precise articulation of who you’re meant to be has been pulling and nudging you and inviting you all along.
Listen for the 1 in 400 quadrillion version of you wanting to be birthed. Who is that being? Find your Golden Thread and follow it to your next expression.
Create from your deepest desires and wacky whimsical giggles.
That’s what the world needs now. Your puzzle piece.
Sixth. Try, and Fail, and Try Again.
There is no harm in trying. The only true failure is giving up before you get there.
One bold courageous step from the deepest most authentic version of you is worth more than a lifetime of sitting back without risk.
And if you want some hints about how to take those steps to avoid the repeated failures, over and over again, take it from me, there are ways to be more graceful.
Don’t follow in my misstepped footprints. Follow instead what I’ve learned along the way.
The Purpose Flywheel™ is my newest conception for how to work your way along this slippery slope of being-doing-being-doing ever-evolving trial-and-error human path we’re on.
It ain’t an easy ride that we signed up for.
And yet, I’ve learned quite a few things along the road to my own ever-increasing awareness and freedom.
Having arrived a few years ago at a place where I could look back and say “Oh, that was definitely worth it!,” I now have space and perspective to continually turn around and figure out exactly what I did to get here.
Here is the Draft Version 1 of the Purpose Flywheel™. I’ll be using this in the upcoming Purpose LaunchLab™. More on each of these coming up soon.
Dr. Holly Woods is the Author of the #1 Bestseller, The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life. Read it, you’ll never again think your life doesn’t matter. Holly is a purpose activator. She believes that touching the spark of your soul lights you up so much that you alter the world just by being in it. Holly earned a PhD in Human & Organizational Development, is certified as an Integral Master Coach®, Purpose Guide®, Professional Mediator and Facilitator, Master Energy Practitioner, and is a Stages of Consciousness developmental practitioner. Learn about Holly’s work at Emergence Institute. You can schedule a 30 minute Strategy session with Holly.