What If Going Through The Shit Is The Only Way Out Of It?

This topic seems appropriate, considering that most of us feel like the world is a complete and utter shitstorm right now. And we aren’t wrong, but for many, the world is always this chaotic and unstable. The difference is that right now we are all experiencing the same shitstorm on a global level. There are always major crises and tragedies occurring all around us. It’s just that usually we look away because we can. It doesn’t directly concern us. 

This grand splitting-open isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It brings to light our intense failure to right social justice issues across the board. It exposes the truth of the fragility of our global economy, the dangerous financial reliance of many low-income groups and developing nations on the tourism boom of the past few decades, and the ridiculousness of giving our life’s blood away to meaningless work in the name of constantly chasing the illusion of material happiness. 

What I’ve noticed most during this mess is that those around me suddenly desire to change the course of their lives. They – and I too – are realizing that we are living a lie, attempting to fit into a formula that simply does not work sustainably any longer. We want to choose a better way. We want to feel like we even HAVE a choice in a world that so increasingly informs us that we do not – unless we want to end up homeless and destitute.

So that brings me to this simple fact: if we were not going through this shitstorm, this intense, communal test, would we be here right now? I do not think so, not in the shift I’ve seen in people previously committed to their daily grind, unhappy but still unquestioning.

I am not pretending that this is a beautiful and uplifting time of change. It’s obviously not. People are dying and suffering and hurting and bearing burdens of every kind of oppression imaginable. I also don’t believe that’s new. Again, we weren’t looking because we didn’t have to. Some still turn their eyes away, and some will never acknowledge the interconnectedness of our universe, denying it vehemently even as their every selfish decision negatively impacts the lives of others. 

I am also not implying that once we go through the shit, we will really be “out of it”. There’s no such thing. Life is literally a journey of constantly going through shit, but wouldn’t you rather move through it and on to slightly better-smelling shit than sit in the same old pile your whole life? Stale shit gets old real fast.

My point is that there is no glossy shortcut to healing the world or anything else, and that goes for your personal journey as well. Think of get-well-quick promises as pyramid schemes, because they are. Healing is messy, chaotic, and at many junctures along the way you will feel worse than you did before you began. It is not linear, it is not promised, and it is definitely not all sparkles, sunshine, and magic. When breakthroughs do occur, they are magical in their visceral specificity to your internal turmoil. No one else needs to understand them as long as you do. 

I challenge you to give yourself permission to leap into the middle of that steaming pile of shit that you have spent so much time and energy attempting to avoid. Let me tell you right now, you can’t get around it. If you know that beyond any doubt, will you finally do the tough work of muddling through? Or will you spend your entire life force desperately denying that it exists, even as you inhale the putrid familiarity? 

You can do this. Know that even if there are more obstacles beyond it, the more work you do, the easier it becomes to deal with them. Learn to become so strong in your foundation that nothing can shake you. This is what taking charge of your healing does for you, even when it’s not pretty and even when it feels so difficult that you can’t keep going. You can. You are capable of owning your journey.

I love you. You got this. We got this. We have to heal ourselves so we can help to heal the world. 

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