“You are an alchemist; make gold of that.” – William Shakespeare
After walking away from a job I held for 7 years, I proceeded to the ocean, where I sat with the full spectrum of human emotions. It was on the beach where I realized that uncomfortable emotions and thoughts provide us with opportunities for growth, expansion and transformation. The cultivation of this inner-strength, however is contingent upon our willingness to be with our sensations, to listen to them, to get uncomfortably close to them, to befriend them and then let them go.
In Buddhism, it is said that suffering is rooted in our insatiable desire to avoid (push) and attach (pull). When we free ourselves of these two destructive habit patterns, we experience equanimity. For instance, if I decided to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that rose to the surface and elected to numb them by attaching to alcohol, drugs, social media, or some other form of escapism, I wouldn’t have provided myself the safe space required to process, heal, and let go.
The concept of alchemy sums this up beautifully. Alchemy is the process of transforming base metals such as lead or copper into silver and gold. As we learn to avoid the repression of uncomfortable emotions and sit with the discomfort, the adversity, the mud, the muck, the pain that arises from tough times, we free our mind. By freeing our mind, we alchemize these challenging emotions into expansion, evolution, wisdom and opportunity.
There are times in our life where we experience loss. During these instances, it might feel like nothing makes sense and we stumble to find our footing. When these situations arise, we oftentimes react with anger, frustration, confusion and an unquenchable desire to numb the feelings that arise. But what if I told you that true alchemy lies in sitting with these difficult emotions? When we are faced with tough circumstances, rather than withdrawing with weed and wine, just be. Simply notice what comes up. The Universe has a funny way of clearing out stagnant and misaligned energy in our lives to make room for higher vibrational forces.
When we face this kind of turbulence in our life and everything around us is in flux, we scramble for certainty in whatever form we can find. When we fear the unknown, we look for solid ground, but nothing is ever solid. Everything is transitory in nature. Everything is constantly changing. This includes our emotions, our body, our job, even our relationships.
While its helpful to practice grounding activities like meditation or any practice that calms the mind and spirit, we also must acknowledge the nature of change. Life is constantly changing, whether we want it to or not, and no feeling is ever final. When we can learn to embrace uncertainty and remind ourselves over and over and over of the nature of impermanence, it allows us to flow through the most turbulent of times. Just as spring follows winter, light is on the other side of darkness; liberation is on the other side of feeling trapped; and passion & purpose are on the other side of pain. No feeling is ever final.
Everybody on this earth is going through something. By consistently tapping into frequencies of kindness, compassion and love for ourselves and others, we not only heal ourselves, we heal the collective.