Crossing the Threshold
Whew! I'm tired - and exhilarated. I've recently crossed a big internal threshold - the chasm we all face as we're preparing to leap from an old phase into a new phase of our lives. We contemplate this threshold any time we prepare to take a big risk, move into unknown territory or expand our power, our work or relationships. In my case, the threshold involved shifting into a new phase of business development. And now that I'm here, it's exciting, energizing and exactly right for me. But the process of arrival was entirely another story.
I had gotten myself tangled in a mess of wanting the next business step to emerge while holding back from it at the same time. I had somehow convinced myself that I needed to hang on to what I had for fear of losing it (never a good strategy) while I simultaneously tried to manifest what I wanted. Needless to say, this strategy was not effective and it left me feeling confused, worn out and mired in old fears.
Let me be clear: The inner workings of this mess are clear now. But when I was in the middle of it, it wasn't clear at all. In fact, my inner critic was so loud, heavy and obnoxious that my vision was almost fully obscured. Since hindsight is 20/20, let me share my observations along the path to taking the final step across this newest threshold:
- The greater the "edge" you are pushing against internally, the greater the potential resistance you might feel. Your inner critic chatter might be constant and you might feel more intense fear. While resistance, inner critic chatter and intense fear are hardly pleasurable experiences, they are positive in this sense: They signal that you are most likely up to big things.
The inner critic's job is to keep you in your comfort zone. It wants to hold you where it's known and comfortable. When resistance and fear are heightened, they resemble bull's-eyes. They indicate exactly what you need to examine internally.
- If you're up to big, new things, you are most likely not comfortable. Personal change is not typically a comfortable process for the human psyche. Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to skip the discomfort phase of crossing the threshold. This discomfort doesn't mean you're heading in the wrong direction; rather it means that you are disintegrating old ways of being, thinking and acting, and you're in the process of reintegrating them at a higher and better level.
- Give yourself "comfort breaks." During the most uncomfortable passages of my journey, I would give myself a comfort break. For me, that means "losing" myself in something else such as a good book, a movie I really love or a great work out. Giving yourself a break from the discomfort is a healthy approach to nurture your own growth.
- If you ask for help, it will appear. In my desperation to untangle my "mess", I did ask the universe for help. And help did arrive in the form of song lyrics. For those of you who remember the 1980's rock band Def Leppard, it was a line from their song "Rock of Ages". The line says simply "What do you want? What do you want?" That line, complete with the lead singer's voice and the band's music, kept running through my mind. Finally, I got the message: What do I want? Once I knew and embraced the answer to that question, the mental muddle cleared, the inner critic had nothing to chatter about and the resistance fell away.
Being poised at a threshold can make you feel like you're standing at the edge of a mountain cliff. You're ready to jump. You also know that the only way to land safely on the other side is by being true to yourself, honoring what you really want and owning the power that is yours. Take the leap, my friends. The view from over here is pretty spectacular.
Claudette Rowley, coach and author, helps professionals identify and pursue their true purpose and calling in life. Learn more at Claudette Rowley.com.