Often when we look back at our lives and reflect, it becomes apparent that the greatest periods of growth and transformation followed periods of great challenge.
The obstacles that we encounter along the path are what force us to grow. In navigating through the obstacles we find new ways of Be-ing.
It is during these periods of challenge that we are forced to examine our lives and it is this examination that leads us to adjust our course. I think that most often the challenges arise not because of any outside circumstances, but rather because we ourselves are off course.
So, what are the blues?
There is no shortage of synonyms used to define this emotion: desolation, desperation, despondency, hopelessness, melancholy, sadness, sorrow, worry.
Washington Irving is the first contemporary author credited with using the term “the blues” in 1807, as a synonym for melancholy. He wrote:
“I saw he was still under the influence of a whole legion of the blues.”
Musically the Blues are defined as: A genre of rural music that captured the suffering, anguish and hopes of 300 years of slavery and tenant farming.
The word blue, used to represent woe, can be found in a poem by Chaucer written in the late 14th century.
I think that it would be safe to say that we have been living with the blues since Adam and Eve left the garden.
Certainly the economic downturn of the last few years has radically altered the course for many of us. There is nothing like financial uncertainty to bring about fear, anxiety and worry which are key ingredients of the blues.
I had the opportunity to experience this first hand. Five years ago I was developing real estate and I was on top of the world. 2007 was a golden age for developers. I had just designed, built, and opened one successful project. I had a second project that was just about to open and a third that was in development. There was not a single problem in the world that was too big for me to overcome. My ego-mind had it all figured out.
I felt like I had it all, but I did not have the consciousness necessary to keep it all. The universe conspired to teach me a lesson. I was way out on the edge of the cliff just as the world began to shrink underneath me. My secure foundation vanished in the blink of an eye.
When my business collapsed I was decimated. Everything that I had poured my passion into was lost to the recession, and as the business collapsed there were battles to be waged against lawyers and banks. Old friends were now on the other side of the table. Everyone was scared and fighting for their own survival.
My confidence and self-esteem had packed up and left in disgust. There were days when I would collapse, emotionally and physically exhausted, and fall to the floor in a fetal position, frozen, unable to act. I was so overwhelmed that I completely shut down.
And on the really bad days I was certain that my family would be better off without me. If I had not made the mistakes that I made, we would not be at risk of litigation, of losing our home. The wolves were howling at the door.
With tears streaming down my face I contemplated ending the pain forever.
These are truly the dark nights of the soul, when you question your very existence. When the mistakes that you have made compound and overwhelm you. When you feel that you are alone in a universe of suffering.
I knew deep inside that my sons needed me. My love for them is what kept me going. I forced myself to move, to put one foot in front of the other.
Then I began to look closely at the choices I had made. And I sought out a new way of Be-ing.
Maybe the blues are simply information signaling us that it is time to look more closely at the path that we are on. What if we simply took in that information without being consumed by the emotion? What if we said “Thank you I will listen to what you are saying and carefully consider it”?
In looking back at the depth of the blues that I faced then, I realize that Spirit had to scream at me that loudly to be heard over the error thinking of my ego-mind.
BIG realization: The deeper the blues the more important the message.
Our ego-mind exists in a consciousness of win or loose. It is constantly analyzing and judging: Good or bad? Right or wrong? Black or white? It is this drive to judge that causes us to define one set of feelings as good and another as bad.
If happiness and joyfulness are good feelings then sadness and the blues must be the opposite and so we label them as bad.
Yet we know that Spirit is present in all things at all times. If this is so, how can any feeling be bad? Maybe the feeling is neither good nor bad but rather we are being given a clue. A clue to look closely at our lives as they are right now. What choices did I make that created the situation I’m in now?
Am I connected with Spirit?
When we focus on the emotion of sadness we bring about more pain and suffering. When we focus on Spirit guided actions that bring about change, we can begin to heal ourselves. We can begin to create a life of conscious manifestation.
Maybe there is Truth to be found in sadness that is not present in the lightness of joy.
Maybe the dawn break after the dark night of the soul is a sign that Spirit is ever present.
And, as dawn brightens to a new day, we begin to see with a new perspective. We begin to see that the greatest challenges can create the greatest opportunities for growth and transformation.
So what if you rewrote the story of your blues and instead of feeling lost, alone or out of control, you chose to greet the feeling knowing that Spirit was sending you a message of love and tenderness, a message to take a look at your life, analyze your decisions and make conscious choices to adjust your path.
What if you loved your joy… and your blues?
What if you loved your successes… and your challenges.
And in closing, I say to you: Dance with your blues just as you would dance with your joy. Love every part of yourself, knowing that YOU are perfect and whole.
To YOUR freedom!