Is self examination a worthwhile endeavor? It can be, particularly if you are going through some sort of transition in your life — a new job, for example. Or perhaps you are preparing to be a life coach, and are still working at your old job part time. This applies to you:
The following excerpt is meant to demonstrate the importance of self examination and life transitions:
(Passage from the book, “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck)
…gradually, as the months went by, you stopped waiting for miracles. I don’t know what it was for you – a breakup, a job loss, a health crisis, that unfortunate incident at the petting zoo – but it killed you, killed your hopes, your confidence, your deepest beliefs.
Since that death, you’ve been barely holding yourself together, mustering the energy to put one foot in front of the other when you’re not leaning up against a wall to let another wave of grief and longing surge through you.
Sure, you’ve read a lot of stuff like the last chapter, things that talk about rebirth and vision quests and all that. You’d even like to believe them. But frankly, it all sounds like a smarmy, culturally exploitative fairy tale.
And then, later that morning, maybe while you’re on the subway or sipping your favorite Starbucks blend, something different happens. It isn’t spectacular, or even obvious, but it’s noticeably new. Perhaps a stranger gives you a quick smile, and you find yourself not only smiling back, but just for a second, imagining going out with this person on a date. You pass that restored Victorian house you’ve always thought was so beautiful, but this time you find yourself thinking, “I wonder how much it costs.”
You’re rewriting yet another report that was ruined by the assistant from Hell when it occurs to you that a pink slip is not just J. Edgar Hoover’s favorite undergarment. In other words, tiny suggestions about the future begin showing up in your mind and heart, like the tips of crocuses poking themselves through last winter’s mildewed compost.
Square Two Symptoms
Hope — real, spontaneous hope, with its accompanying excitement and delight — is the key signal that you’re moving out of Square 1 and into Square 2 of the change cycle. Hope involves a sense of desire and possibility directed toward the future. During “death and rebirth”, you don’t feel this. The logistical and psychological dynamics of Square 1 make the future seem utterly inscrutable, forcing you to act on faith and prior experience, not anticipation.
If you try to make yourself hope before you’ve had enough time for grieving, disorientation, and self-discovery, you’ll become like “those desperately cheerful people” who tell everyone how glad they are they were sued by their business partners (or jilted at the altar, or mugged by nuns) because they got rid of so many illusions and moved on to so many opportunities, and where do you keep the vodka?
The visions of the future that signal the beginning of Square 2 aren’t so self conscious. They arrive without effort or expectation, from the very core of your essential self. They have an almost “ticklish” quality; they make you smile or hum even when there’s no one around to be impressed.
At first, these feelings will make an appearance, then vanish for days or weeks before another sighting. But when you feel authentic hope, even intermittently, you can be confident that the most difficult part of the change cycle is behind you.
Though spontaneous images of the future are the single most important symptom that you’ve arrived in Square 2, there are many others. No two people experience exactly the same complex of symptoms, and only the spontaneous dreaming is a true indicator.
However, you’ll proably notice some of these as you arrive at Square 2.
1. You Laugh More Easily and More Often
2. You Want to Do Things You’ve Never Done
3. Your Creativity Returns
4. You Change Your Clothes
5. You Change Your Hair
6. You Remodel, Redecorate, or Renovate Your Living Space
Early Square Two: Dreamtime
As you begin to notice symptoms of Square Two, you’ll also see your attention naturally shifting from small, adaptive moves to longer-term plans. Your grieving periods will become shorter and less intense, then disappear altogether.
Some people grow perversely comfortable with the drama and chaos of Square One, enjoying the powerful emotions and the attention they get from sympathetic others. These folks may actually resist when their energy begins to move away from grief-stricken disorientation and into creating a new future.
When this starts happening to you, just remember to “do without doing”. Let go of Square One and follow the flow of your essential self as it moves into the dreamtime.
If You Can’t Dream It, You Can’t Do It
I’ve seen this a thousand times with my clients: as long as they can’t imagine doing something, it’s genuinely impossible for them. I once challenged a very self-sacrificing friend to name a genuine desire.
After much thought, she decided that she wanted licorice. We went right over to a store that sold good licorice toffee for two dollars a box, and I urged her to go wild and buy herself some. “Oh, I couldn’t”, she said — and she really couldn’t.
She kept approaching the counter, then veering off in a dither of anxiety. Eventually, she put the box back on the shelf and left the store. Only after going home and visualizing herself buying the licorice was she able to overcome her psychological block.
What Does This Really Mean?
You have to prepare for the major life changes of Square 3 by dreaming, and dreaming big. This means valuing and nourishing every dream that pops into your head in Square 2 — even if they seem like far-out night dreams rather than plausible daydreams. You’ll never miss out on happiness, success, money or love because you dream the impossible, but you may if you limit your imagination to the possible
— Martha Beck, Finding Your Own North Star
**Note to Readers: If You choose to visit the Amazon link, be certain to read Dr. Cathy Goodwin’s take on this book (under Customer Reviews).