Life presents us with Big Life Events. Some may call them Initiations. These are the events that leave us forever changed; they mark a distinct “before” and “after” in life. Once these events happen, we know in our hearts nothing will be the same. If we are open to it, they can serve as our teachers, calling us forward into new ways of being. If we are not ready for it, well, then there are still lessons to learn…
Lesson #1: Don’t fight when offered an Initiation. You will never win. Do the most counterintuitive, radical thing you can do in the moment – open your heart with gratitude, even if you have no idea where you’re headed (e.g. off a cliff) or what’s waiting for you on the other side.
My father died 2.5 years ago. Grief was not a stranger when my father took leave of this world, so I was surprised when, after his death, I found myself in a year-long depression. I felt knocked down by an invisible hand, unable to get myself on my feet again. During that time, I watched my life, and me along with it, become smaller and smaller until I felt like I could disappear all together.
One+ long years later, when I was on the other side of the deepest of the pain, I looked back and realized I had just come through a long, challenging initiation. I had experienced what is known in the shamanic world as a dismemberment. I was literally taken apart and everything I thought was important to me fell away. I was left with only my naked bones and the desire to put myself back together again, piece by piece. I began the slow process of re-membering myself, and eventually saw the process for what it was: a releasing of the unnecessary so more of my truth could come to light.
Could it have been easier? Certainly. I inflicted much additional pain on myself, as I fought the falling apart, as I resisted losing all that was falling away.
But now I see that I asked for this. I asked to live a richer, truer and more vibrant life.
The Universe answered, as it always does. YES, it said.
And for that to happen, you will release all in your life that is in the way.
And such are the mysteries of life. The deepest of lessons and the biggest coming-homes sprout from some of the most uncomfortable places.
Eleni Livitsanos is a shamanic practitioner, shapeshifter and consultant dedicated to providing individuals and groups tools for self-healing, clarity and empowerment.