Righting the Ship

Righting the Ship

painting A Winning Yacht
“A Winning Yacht” by J.O. Davidson, engraved by W. Wellstood

It seems that it is time, well beyond time, for me to begin to gather my thoughts around all that has transpired in my life over the last decade. To offer what I have learned in case it comes in handy to you, dear reader, or someone you know. I don’t write here for my own aggrandizement. In fact, I often don’t write because I wonder what use another would find in my journey, and yet, I have learned so much from others. Perhaps my insecurity actually causes me to be stingy with my experience.

I’ve written much in the midst of my pain, but now that I’m in a clearing space I find my perspective is different, my view broader and broader by the day. I was listening to an audio by Andrew Harvey today and he talked about his “dark night of the soul”. He spoke of a specific experience that he considered to be THE dark night of the soul of his life, not just “any old dark night of the soul”. It made me wonder how one quantifies such a thing.

In many ways, I feel that my entire life was a desperate attempt to pull myself out of just such a place – I lived in the dark night way more often than not. And yet, my deepest despair, the closest I came to giving up and giving in came three years ago, when everything I had worked so hard to make happen in my life seemed to crash in on me…literally and figuratively. in spite of all of my efforts to do otherwise.

This time, however, I think I finally got the message that was trying to be sent to me. Or at least I am starting to get it.  It’s a multi-faceted, multi-dimension message that I will try to filter into some basic principles, truths and guidelines that might help you in your own journey toward a conscious life.

FIRST: The biggest and most useful step one can take to bring about change in one’s life is to seek one’s true, authentic inner voice. (I didn’t say it was going to be easy!) Finding our essential or core self takes some serious sorting through of all the voices and messages that exist and deciding what is what.  It’s not as obvious as one might think, or at least it wasn’t for me.

I listened to my feelings my entire life as if they were the gold standard for the truth.  I really thought I was listening to my true self. If I felt it, it must be real. Right? Wrong. Feelings are valuable, don’t get me wrong, but the psychology of my generation, elevated them to a height that was way beyond healthy. In reaction to the feeling deniers of our parents generation, it made sense, a necessary over-correction. The bad habit I had acquired from my training and reading wreaked havoc on my life. It wasn’t until I understood where feelings truly belonged in the overall scheme of things and began to put them in their proper place was I able to find some balance and some semblance of inner peace.

Just as harmful as being ruled by one’s feelings is mistaking one’s mind chatter for our true selves. More often than not, the mind chatter that directs our decisions and disrupts our self-confidence is chatter we acquired from our family of origin, the culture and the other significant people in our lives. Refusing to listen to this type of guidance takes us one step closer to finding our own true and authentic voice.

I deepened my connection to my essential self, my soul self, my real self through the practice of meditation and guided imagery meditation at the same time I was consciously sorting through the this-es and thats of my poor self-esteem using psychological and psycho-spiritual tools.  It’s a very fluid process, this strengthening of the core self and the quieting of the fear mongers in our psyche. It’s a push on this and pull on that until the ship begins to right. But it’s worth the effort.


8 Replies to “Righting the Ship”

  1. You are undertaking a serious exploration: discovering the true self, soul, underneath all of the mind chatter (of which I too have considerable). The illustration is a propos, great tie-in.

    1. I’ve spent so much of my life exploring, but only now at 63, feel like I’m starting to get a handle on things! Or at least headed in the right direction! Wonder what it would have been like to have been here earlier? I shall never know!

  2. Wonderful post, Dorothy, and I’m especially intrigued by the comment you made to Marian: “Wonder what it would have been like to have been here earlier?” I often think that when I remember watching my mother make a similar journey in the second half of her life. She tried to share her newfound wisdom with me, but I was too busy having a life to pay much attention. Now that she’s gone (and I’m on the journey she was making at that time), I’d give anything for a few moments to sit and share with her! Thank you for sharing your journey—I’ve learned so much from reading your wisdom.

    1. Candace, you were so fortunate to have had a mother who was aware of the wisdom she had gained. Even if you were unable to grasp its meaning at the time, perhaps she laid the groundwork for you now. Recalling the little things she said may help steer your course now. I think we each must find our own wisdom through our own experiences and struggles and yet the signposts left by those who have gone before are there to guide the way. I rely heavily on the teachers of wisdom in books. I do not know them personally and yet I feel somehow we are kindred spirits. It is not a walk that can or should be done alone. I am grateful that you are in my life and I honor your journey and always appreciate your perspective and story.

  3. Dorothy, Thank you for sharing your personal struggles. I’m with you, the struggles are worth the end result. It’s great to read that you are finally coming into your authentic self. Maybe that’s what our 60s are about. Let’s celebrate our new found self-love and sense of purpose!

  4. It’s always good to know that we’re not alone on this journey to re-awakening. I’ve been on this path for a number of years and it’s still a mystery! Thanks for this post and for liking my post.

    Peace and blessings,

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