The muddy, messy happily ever after
It feels as though the world is crumbling, here in the states, there are floods, droughts, and fires. There is also a horrifying shadow uprising that seemingly desires to set our country backwards into the dark ages.
I consider myself a fairly empowered sensitive person, yet the past months have left me scrambling to stand up for what I believe is right, and live in ways that are in alignment with my integrity, while combating the urge from every bone and muscle in my body to duck, cover and hide from the horrific levels of violence and hate I see reported daily in the news.
But perhaps this crumbling of our world is needed
As a white woman in my 40's, I was trained, starting early in life to believe in happily ever after. To believe and strive for the concept of a point in time where everything sorts itself out and all is right in the world from that point forward. The story is told over and over in every way possible, prince comes and with a single kiss awakens the sleeping spirit of the princess, and they live... happily ever after. The fairy grandmother offers a carriage to whisk the nearly forgotten woman out of poverty to rise herself up to a life of ... you guessed it, happily ever after. We could go on.
Early in life I was trained to look for and expect that point in life, where everything turns around and is good in the world again from that single moment forward, creating a seemingly endless blooming state of bliss.
As a concept I don't see this entirely as a bad thing. It helps us to look for and stay connected to hope and appreciate that things can get better. But it seems to me, where this concept of happily ever after needs some transforming and updating is the idea that it is seemly a frozen point in time where all is right in the world and does not continue to grow or evolve. This fails to teach us to continue to stay awake and alert even after things seemly are okay. It numbs us to the layers that unfold after hope is restored. It fails to teach us how to pay hope forward in the time of blissful bloom and after.
I am an eternal optimist and can find the good in everything. But to be perfectly honest the past nine months have put this to the test. All that I had included in my happily ever after appeared to be starting to unfold. Equality for all had been starting to finally be put into action, my LGBTQ friends were granted the ability to marry, women had more rights than ever before, we had a president that in most cases acted from a place of integrity and compassion. My heart and mind were ready for all of us to walk into the sunset and you guessed it, live happily ever after. Not because I am naive or did not see the other problems brewing but because I was trained to look for it and expect it.
This is not to say I don't expect things to get better, as I have shared I am an eternal optimist, and hope is not lost in my heart! What I am saying is that I don't think I am alone in this moment of truth and rawness seeing the after effects of our mirage of happily ever after bubble bursting.
The mirage is contagious
I witness this idealized concept of a frozen point in time where everything becomes happily ever after in many of us. It is woven and tucked tightly into many aspects of our lives. Whether it be big picture happenings in the world or smaller picture in our business, our relationships and how many of us see what it means to heal. So many of us have been trained to expect it, so we look for it, we try to manifest it. But when we narrow our vision to look for and expect only that one single moment of goodness, we miss out on the layers that unfold after that briefest moment in time where everything is seemly perfect. This is not to say that the layers are not perfect too, they very much are.
I am curious to explore how can happily ever after include the messy muddy layers that come after
Now that I can see this model of happily ever after needs some encouragement to grow and evolve like the rest of us, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I am not of the mindset that we need to scrap happily ever after all together. I feel it hold some medicine for each of us in that it offers a reminder of hope when hope is needed. But it seems a bit more of the story needs to be told, in a way that includes the messy bits after that momentary pause of goodness. Such as what happens once the princess lands in happily every after? How does she put her good fortune to work for the improvement of all? How does she go on to make even more courageous choices? How does she navigate the moments following happily ever after when the mundanities of daily life reenter the picture once the honeymoon is over? How can we move forward in ways that our collective evolution include everyone and not just the prince and princess?
Each of us in our own way, know there are layers and layers to living. Sometimes these layers bloom and are a magnificent unfolding of lush fragrant petals, and other layers are the cycles of composting and recycling that create mud for new growth. Perhaps it is in the mud and the mud alone that the idea of happily ever after needs to live, where it can plant seeds of hope. Yet in the other layers, within the other cycles, such as within the cycle of blooming we need new stories to help us remember and navigate all stages of growth, including the composting, the releasing, the crumbling. Stories that will give us renewed hope in the stages of moving from bloom to mud, with as much grace and courage as we move from mud to bloom.
You your ideas and hope are needed now more than ever
With all that is unfolding in the world, energetic and shamanic care has never been more important for each of us. However it is that you tend to spirit and soul, please do.
Practice self care so you are steady to stand strong and do the important work you are here to do to help the world be a better place. You matter, your integrity matters, your hope matters and little by little, layer by layer each in our own way are supporting the whole in healing.
Joanna is the author of Energetic Boundaries 101. She is a shamanic practitioner, animal communicator and mentor. She works, writes lives and tends to the important matters of spirit-energy with playful, transparency and honesty.
She works with clients all over the globe from her healing studio that is lovingly nestled between Mt Baker and the Salish sea, in Bellingham, WA.