From Lissa: I wrote this post yesterday, before a massive tsunami hit Japan this morning and made me wonder if the story of my internal war was too self-absorbed to post on the day a worldwide natural disaster strikes. I thought about taking it down. But then I realized it's perfect. We are always at war in some way- globally, internally. The secret lies in finding peace in the midst of war, for this is achievable, even when natural disasters, injustices, and war are unavoidable. May we pray for victims of the tsunami, but also for those of us who find ourselves at war with ourselves.
Something in me is trying to come out. I can feel it like this alien in my belly, a twisting and turning devil fetus with sharp claws. My life is not roses and violets right now. It’s dark nights of the soul mixed with moments of deep spiritual connection. It’s glorious triumphs and heart-wrenching disappointments. It’s heartfelt new friendships and tragic relationship losses.
Which is SOO not me. I’m the eternal optimist. I’m Pollyanna. I’m peaches and cream. I can find the good in every situation.
But something about this feels necessary. It feels like a power struggle between opposing forces within me. It feels like WAR.
I don’t think of myself as the warrior type. I resonate more with Kwan Yin than Kali. But the Gremlin deep within me is sick and tired of peace and strawberries. The Gremlin is fed up with needling me with little prickers and has resorted to swords. The Gremlin is trying to slay dreams and tackle my calling, and this calls for action. Because I have not come this far to back down.
The War is not happening in words. It’s happening in my body. It wants to dance its way out more than talk or write about it. It doesn’t want to do yoga right now. It wants to karate chop and grind in hip circles and GET. PISSED. OFF.
I’m not exactly sure why. But I’m going with it for now.
I feel much like the women I have spent a decade assisting when they give birth. The ones without epidurals. The ones who are fighting to bring this baby into the world with every fiber of their being. The ones who scream and cuss and sweat and writhe around, undulating on their knees on the floor because they can’t stand to lie in a bed.
And at the same time, I feel compelled to laugh out loud at the pure beauty of the aliveness I feel.
The weird thing is that I have a strange peace in the midst of all this. This feels very temporary. Like labor, you know it will only last so long. You can’t really even medicate it away, because in the end, the drugs don’t keep you from noticing that a bowling ball is plopping out of your pussy.
And like labor, The War feels very necessary. You just can’t skip it, so you might as well breathe through the process, having faith that, when it’s all over, you will look back and realize that it was all worth it.
I feel like I must wrangle this beast because something big is about to happen. Some big change is coming soon and I must be ready for it.
Either that, or I’m merely delusional. Which I must admit I sometimes consider.
You might think I sound a bit like Charlie Sheen right now. But really, I’m not. I promise, I’m not failing to medicate some undiagnosed bipolar disorder. This doesn’t feel like mental illness.
I’ve faced The Gremlin many times while creating the Get Out Of Your Own Way e-course. And I fought The Gremlin again in learning how to authentically market it. In fact, I credit my marketing coaching Angela Lauria with being my midwife to whatever it is I’m birthing, because she has helped guide me through this painful process. And even though it’s been messy (as you can read in the comments here), show me any beautiful birth that didn’t leave blood and poo on the sheets.
So things aren’t easy right now. And I’m walking through the shadow, but perhaps that’s good for me -- and good for all of you to witness. My friend Sheila once told me she had trouble trusting me until she could see my shadow.
I had my doubts about sharing this with you. Especially after Owning Pink’s editor Lauren wrote this in response to reading it:
Honey, what the f-ck are you so upset about??
You are ROCKIN IT. I don't want to define what success is for you -- but as far as I can tell, you are making a living BEING YOURSELF. You are the living, breathing proof behind the pudding of Get Out Of Your Own Way (ok, perhaps still working on it, but you know what I mean). You have zeroed in on a f-cking fantastic and powerful Owning Pink tag-line ("because women are friggin' powerful"). You are writing from the heart in a way that I understand to be both easy and pleasurable for you, and being rewarded for it with increased traffic. You write a letter each week that boatloads of people have opted in to receive. When you are just being you -- doing what you do, writing what you want to write, collaborating with folks who inspire you -- you seem happy. And then honestly, the labels kick in and scare the shit out of you. You can't just be writing blog posts -- you're suddenly Leading A Movement, Alone. Or when people respond to your newsletter with support, you are threatened by The Bigness Of Your Calling.
Now, I don't doubt the bigness of your calling. Nor the caliber of your leadership. But it seems like you only get upset when your brain starts floating to those buzz words. On a daily basis, you love what you do. You stripped off the white coat. You wear pigtails and rock cartwheels. On the whole, you are loved and loving, supported and supportive. Why does it feel so hard?
I had my doubts about posting this, but I’m doing it anyway. I told Lauren I don’t expect her -- or you -- to understand. Sometimes life is hard even when it doesn’t make any sense. I know it might look like everything is going great in my life -- and it is. But it’s still uncomfortable. And I don’t feel the need to explain it much further.
All I can say is this is WAR: a war between my faith and my fear, between my calling to Bigness and my tendency to curl into a ball and shrink, between my certainty and my doubt.
It’s hard. But that doesn’t make it wrong. And I don’t need sympathy or advice. While I appreciate the guidance of those I trust, I also realize that this spiritual grappling is something I alone must do.
And sometimes things really do get darkest just before the dawn.
What about you? Have you ever felt like this? Do you wrangle your demons? Can you make peace with your shadow? Show us your dark side, my friends. Tell us your stories.
Channeling Kali so I can fight The Gremlin,
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Woman coach, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
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