Dead-ending: The Way We Grow
Eric Grace

Have you had a time in your life where you wrestled with what to do with your life? Perhaps it was a relationship you were in. Or a job. Maybe it was a way of being or a belief system that you had been operating out of for a long time but then it became clear to you that it no longer worked for you. I have had the good fortune to undergo all of the above though it never felt like it was a good fortune for me at the time it happened. One marriage and multiple romantic relationships have ended, a few quite abruptly. I have had several positions at work complete and a career abruptly ended at one point. I’ve also gone through several friendships ending as well as many ways of being, three spiritual communities that I was a part of where suddenly I was no longer a part of, and I have had several belief systems that I’ve tried and failed my way through.

I offer, one of the ways that we grow as people, as souls, is through dead-ending our current way of how we have been doing things. Usually it is as a result of how we orient ourselves to the situation and the conditions that we find ourselves that can give rise to the sense that it is no longer working for us. Sometimes it can seem like it is completely the result of reasons outside of ourselves at the time.

Sometimes it is easier to suggest it is the relationship, person or workplace that is at fault, but maybe it's just that we are ready to move into a new experience of ourselves and life. And that is not always easy to do or to accept. And that is not to imply that it doesn’t come with pain.

A lot of times dead-ending in a particular domain in your life or a way of being can bring about dread, terror, guilt, feeling victimized or a sense of confusion. This is all reasonable to experience during these times, and it can result in a lot of suffering. Sometimes that can come with a lot of sorrow, but also an opportunity for sobriety.

The question then becomes can the suffering you are experiencing be engaged with productively, unproductively or is it unnecessary altogether?

If it is true that we are emotive beings first and that our consciousness has a root emotivity to it, which I offer is the case for all human beings, then how we experience suffering is emotive in its essence. We aren’t always aware of the suffering or the emotive dimensions of it though. Sometimes it shows up as recurring thoughts. Sometimes as habitual behaviors. Or the inability to do or say something. But if we get more intimate with what is going on, I offer there is always an emotive reality that is being experienced underneath.

Usually it is our protective aspects within us that orient in life through dread, certainty, blame, denial, numbing, addictive mechanisms, guilt and feeling victimized. Underneath these energetic, willful, mental and strategic modes of protection the emotive terror, hurt, anxiety, shame, grief or anger usually stillfully waits for us to be ready to fully encounter them, in other words a form of homecoming awaits us.

If we orient to our suffering as unnecessary or illusory, rather than it is reasonable to have the suffering and finding a way to actually process why we are suffering in the first place, we end up losing something essential to our humanness. And, if as I have mentioned in other posts, we need to feel felt as the norm in our upbringing, wounds occur in relationship and need relationality to heal those wounds. We can’t do it on our own inside ourselves. How many times have you’ve heard someone tell you or where you have told yourself to ‘get over it’, ‘move on’, ‘stop being a victim’, ‘grow up’, ‘don’t take it personally’ or ‘let it go’? How many other times did those same kinds of sentiments come to you within a spiritual or religious belief system?

If we don’t see our suffering being the result of emotive wounds and congestion, and how our protective aspects try and keep that all locked away, we can miss out on the chance to productively process what is stored in our unconscious, what is playing out in our stressful moments in life and keep on repeating unhealthy dynamics within ourselves, with others and in our daily life.

Focusing on changing beliefs, attitudes, affirmations, just ‘witnessing’ or making behavior modifications through the use of mind and will alone without addressing the underlying emotive realities in the unconscious yields limited results at best. Even more unfortunate is when we have all sorts of unconscious playouts that come about as a result, meanwhile we feel victim to it. This is because if we don’t proactively use an emotive homeopathic treatment for our emotive wounds we will only address symptoms not the root cause. Then the issues still persist and come out in unintended ways as the saying goes ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’

So when we dead-end, we can turn towards our protective aspects with compassion, gain understanding why they are trying to protect us in the situation, see how that very protective act ends up creating more suffering for all involved, while at the same time we can make room for what we really are feeling. Usually then we can see why we were drawn to the situation in the first place that ended up being a dead end.

When we do, the suffering we have been experiencing can find resolution and we are more free to be in the unknown of the moment that we are in as things change as a fresh emotive form of zen. And we can do so with a newfound sense of curiosity, joy and aliveness along with the sorrow and sobriety that can accompany real change and transmutation.

Taking these steps creates space for us to feel and realize more directly the impact we have on others and allow ourselves to feel the impact others have on us. Then we are less likely to unconscious fall into and recreate the ‘negative aspects’ of any given situation.

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