As a trauma survivor in recovery, I have spent a long time in the wilderness. It isn’t an actual wilderness. I am not a fan of the outdoors. Nature and my dissociative defense mechanism are not compatible. I am speaking of the wilderness that is often the subject of the spiritual texts. It seems that before most protagonists find their mission or purpose, there is some period of waiting. There is some period of preparing, of letting go of the old. And it makes sense to me. I don’t see another way. If the foundation is shaky, it cannot be built upon.
But I hate it.
I carry a large amount of masculine energy with me. I rejected that which was feminine many years ago in my attempts to avoid the loathing that my parents spewed upon their little girls. I figured that if the feminine was so easily abused and disliked, I would not be that. I learned over the years to be about action, to be about the willful accomplishment of goals. In my early adulthood, it seemed to work for a while. It worked until the children were born. But children don’t respond to the unbalanced masculine unless the goal is to rid them of any individuality. They must be raised with both. So I have worked hard to resurrect my feminine aspects. I have even found some balance. But I still favor action.
And so, I sit in an uncomfortable place. The wilderness is not about will. It is not about action. It is about waiting. It is about emptiness. It is about grieving what is gone. It is about a searching, not on the outside, but the inside. And most of all, it is about not knowing … anything.
The wilderness goes against everything society encourages us to become as human beings. We are taught to fight for what we want. We are told to work hard and we will achieve anything. We are persuaded to conquer the outer world and to ignore the inner world. Feelings are not to be faced. They are to be masked with achievements, prescription drugs and accumulated possessions.
So, what happens when we choose the path of the wilderness? I find myself going so deep in to the shadows of my soul that I am not sure if there is a way out. I find myself wondering if there is an end to the waiting, or if the waiting is real at all. I long for an impossible mission that I can achieve. I need the success. I need to feel accomplished.
And yet the answer is not that. The answer is to rest with the question. Lie with the uncertainty. Allow the clarity to come when it is ready. Ignore the impatience in my ego self, which can only feel comfort in accomplishment.
The guidance is to rest.
But I need to take action.
So there is a war within me as I travel this journey. It is a war between the self that believes in what has always “worked” for me and the self that knows I must have faith, trust in a greater purpose. Of course, only one self is warring. The other doesn’t need to war.
So, as we celebrate those who have accomplished so much and acquired so many things in this modern world, I am coming to understand that is not the hard stuff. I am beginning to see that the masculine qualities we strive to master will only get us so far. I am finally realizing that my greatest challenge is in doing nothing, waiting, sitting without a semblance of an answer. My greatest challenge is allowing myself to be and knowing that the wilderness ends. It is in knowing that I cannot know. And it is trusting anyway.