I had no idea my thirties would remind me of my teenage years: having significant ambition but dreams have to wait; trying to understand where you fit in society; “but you’re so young” reminders as if this lifetime isn’t finite; knowing money isn’t the key to happiness yet it is a chronic impediment to fulfill desires; but on the bright side having fun with friends is a priority and you’re down for taking naps when you need one. Thus far my thirties have many moments of feeling amazing and optimistic, but these days mostly feel uncomfortable, confusing, and certainly have their moments of feeling disappointing.
I am aware we are all on our own path. I am aware we all have battles that are not visible to most. I am aware that we are all trying to figure out this thing called “life” and grapple with curiosities like who we are, why we are here, and what is the meaning of it all? Those that appear as if they have it together might well not have it together. Those that appear happy on the outside might be experiencing life differently than what meets the eye. Society applies pressure to all stages of life and paints some portrait of what you should know, what you should be preparing for, and ideally what your life should look like wherever you are currently. And while there are benefits to such awareness, it can also highlight lack or missed opportunity.
I think that New Thought, just like nearly every spiritual path, has it’s unhealthy edges. The quick answer to a problem can be a flippant “well you created this mess” or “well considering your situation we know where YOUR consciousness is!”. In traditional Christianity it could be “well you just need to have more faith!” or “the devil is testing you and you need to fight back by trusting more in God.” There is the great potential for arrogance and insensitivity and it can limit people’s willingness to be honest about what they are walking through or how they are genuinely feeling in the moment. As a New Thought ministerial student, I am constantly evaluating [and sometimes wrestling with] words, their meaning, and impact on self and others, a process of re-framing and refining. And my awareness has revealed to me are the “both and” statements of life:
I can feel insufficient or defective AND know that I am perfect, whole, and complete.
I can struggle financially AND know that the universe is abundance.
I can be sick AND know that perfect health is my birthright.
I can be in fear AND know that peace is always mine.
I can question God’s goodness AND know that God is good.
So I ask: are we creating the space necessary to authentically experience the fullness of life? Of God (or whatever you call God, if you do)? Are we being gentle with one another wherever we are in this now moment? Are we willing to let go of the idea that we need to have or get our shit together for others? Are we okay with not feeling okay while ultimately knowing that we are okay?
Pushing 34, I still feel very much like a teenager. I still have moments of feeling powerless over my circumstances. I still feel unhappy or uncomfortable.
But thank God I still feel!
Honor where you are, no matter what you feel or others may have to say about where you are. This is a reminder for myself. . .if it helps you in any way you can thank Spirit.