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Living in the Crucible

Amber Adrian

I am so, so, so ready for a change. 

When you feel stuck, it’s often because something energetic, emotional, physical or spiritual needs to be unraveled before you can move forward.

But unhooking the threads of karma that bind you is no small task. It’s like picking apart a tapestry and re-weaving shadowy demons into white dragons. You can’t leave any loose threads or they’ll form a pathway to let the shadows to walk back in.

We’re entering a six month cycle of great change and, in order to be ready for this change, I’ve been deep in releasing mode. I’ve been burning things, tossing things into the ocean, doing rituals, and throwing a few hissy fits in the general direction of god. (Or in the general direction of my bed pillows, but if god is everywhere, it’s basically the same thing.)

People have been telling me for years that I have self-worth issues. I mean, yeah. I get it. But unearthing your self-worth from the landslide that buried it often means digging without a map - it can be hard to know where to aim your shovel. You have to rewrite the stories you’ve absorbed from others, untangle the knots of normalized abuse, peer at the karmic baggage you may have grabbed - and empaths are so much more likely to carry other people’s bags as well as their own. For the first three decades of my life, I was basically a martyred hotel porter.

When I look at the Facebook highlights of the past ten years, it looks like a litany of loss. Death, miscarriage, getting fired, trying-and-failing-trying-and-failing, getting fired again, breakup after breakup after breakup. My ego has been thoroughly thrashed.

When I scan through the loss litany, relatively unbroken by brag-about-able triumph, my life starts feeling like a crucible whose only purpose is to burn me down to the bone. 

Where I go when the crucible feels extra hot. 

Where I go when the crucible feels extra searing. 

But the up side to all that fire is that I've gotten really good at transmuting dark into light. 

Diving into the depths of the bubbling muck of your soul and swimming around even when you’re afraid you might suffocate and hitting the same problem over and over again from every angle will show you what you're made of - and I'm made of pure tensile strength, baby. I am whittled down. Sometimes I feel like I'm two taps away from breaking, but I haven't broken yet. I've bent, I've danced, I've sobbed like a broken doll, I've set fire to the branches, and I'm still standing. 

I’ve gone from unconscious empath to understanding that if I’m angry for no reason, it’s not because I’m slowly and methodically going insane, it’s because I just sucked up that anger from someone else. I’ve gone from hating myself for being too sensitive to recognizing that sensitivity is my primary superpower. From words that were funny but flagellating to being able to write my story from a place of deeper, if less amusing, compassion. From trapped in the hell of my own head to relatively accessible joy.  

If it took that litany of loss to get me to a place where I’m mostly free of the hell my brain spent most of every day re-building, it was worth it.

But I'm not here to swim in my own stuff forever. I'm not here to heal everybody else. I’m here to feel joy. I’m here to share what hits me in the solar plexus and expands from my rib cage. I’m here to be a gift to the planet, just as you are.

So I’m re-weaving the patterns of my life, unraveling the threads of the images that don’t serve me and tying off all the loose ends. It’s not easy to keep track of all those dangling knots. And just when you think you've tidied everything up, you find a whole new room full of yarn. 

But we can’t be that gift until we see ourselves as that gift. So that’s where my effort is going now. Into the day-to-day process of keeping my energy and gratitude and joy high. Not to heal myself or anyone else, but to know that ascension from the hell of your own head is possible. Because it is. And it’s required.

And sometimes that means spending the evening watching TV and eating ice cream straight from the carton so you can get up in the morning, light the match, and ask what the crucible has for you today.