You might have noticed a sense of “lost-ness” that’s come up rather regularly in my blogs over the past six to twelve months. My reasons for feeling lost are varied. They are professional and personal, small and large, deep and shallow. And while I won’t go into all of the details here, I’d like to share a couple of themes that have been coming up for me during this time.
First, I feel like my tolerance for in-authenticity has reached an all-time low. I crave absolute honesty and integrity from everyone around me, including myself. My bullsh*t-meter has become laser-sharp. I feel as if layers of illusion are being removed from my eyes. Illusions about my identity, my work, my relationships and my life in general. I don’t seem to be able to tolerate the un-true – even tiny white lies feel so false that they make my skin crawl.
I’ve been blogging for years about accessing my True Self / Soul, but it feels like lately, my True Self has been turning up the volume. She wants me to see (and say) things as they truly are. No sugar-coating, no faking, no games, no staying small so that I won’t rock the boat.
Second, I have a strong desire to simplify my life. I tend to consume information like a ravenous beast, but lately I feel like I’m on information overload. I spend way too much time in my mind. And I’ve realized that sometimes I use my mind as a way to escape from my life. I overthink and over-analyze to avoid feeling. To avoid living. To avoid being fully present with whatever is happening in this moment. Like many people, I also use the internet to escape. I scroll through Instagram and Facebook looking for a “hit” of inspiration – to the point that it has started to feel like an addiction.
I have a desire to pull back – WAY back – from many of my daily structures and behaviors. I want to pull way back from my online presence and my identity as “bethanybutzer.com.” Because who is bethanybutzer.com, anyway? Supposedly she’s an “author, speaker, researcher and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love.” But this is starting to feel stale and cheesy to me. Because in reality, Bethany Butzer is a human being who does her best to present herself authentically online, but the persona you perceive and the images that you see on your screen aren’t really “me.” They are a digital version of me.
I have a desire to fully inhabit my life as it is being lived in every moment – as opposed to living in two worlds (one digital; one “real” ).
I want to start from scratch. A blank slate.
This begs the question, what does Bethany Butzer (the human) REALLY want to do with her “one wild and precious life?” I’ll tell you right now that sitting in front of a computer most days simply isn’t cutting it. I don’t know exactly what it is that I want to be doing with my time, but I feel like I need to start stripping layers away so that I can find out.
Here’s what I don’t want. I don’t want to offer five-step processes to help you create a life you love because the truth of the matter is that there is no simple five-step process. Each of our lives are so unique that the only person who can answer your Soul’s desires is you. I don’t want to be a slick self-help guru who publishes cheesy New York Times bestselling books. I don’t want to feel pressured to “grow my online platform.” I don’t want to “monetize my passion.”
Most of all, I don’t want you to think that I have the answers. Because I don’t.
What do I want? I want to be me. In all of my mess, all of my vulnerability, and all of my honesty, in the hope that at a bare minimum, my mess will help others feel less alone. Perhaps, as Amber Rae says, “My mess is my message.”
What do I want? I want to feel turned-on. Not only in a physical sense, but turned on to life in general. I want to feel alive, energized, and excited about what I’m doing, how I’m living, and who I spend my time with. As Michael Singer describes in his book The Untethered Soul, I want to access my infinite energy by keeping my heart open and my mind quiet.
I think it’s finally time to put my concept of Stop Trying So Hard into practice in my daily life.
In the interest of pulling way back, simplifying my life, and cultivating my turn-on, I’ve decided to go on an “information fast.” I’m not going to be posting on (or scrolling through) Facebook or Instagram for awhile (this social media fast will start soon, and I’m not sure how long it will last). I’m going to unsubscribe from a lot of newsletters. I’m going to keep my workload at a minimal level. This is going to be tough for me – but it feels necessary.
There are a few resources that helped me with this decision process. The first was a video by Anaiya Sophia about Knowing When To Stop. The second was this article on living from our deepest knowing by Dorothy Hunt (posted on the Science and Non-Duality blog) – especially this quote:
“To the Western mind, living without a goal, without a map, having “nowhere to go and nothing to do” sounds like sheer madness—boring at best, lazy, irresponsible, uncaring, and an invitation to chaos at worst. But nothing could be further from the truth. It might mean we are finally available for Truth to move spontaneously within us, allowing action to come from the dimension of our being that is at peace. Doing is coming from Being. It does not mean living stupidly, or passively, or being unable to make plans. It means not being attached to those plans. It means being open to what is here now rather than judging it, being curious rather than fearful about this moment’s expression. It means being authentic, real, engaged, and intimate with experience.
To live from our natural state means discovering that there is no map for how to live. The voice that always asked “how?” has been quieted, and we are living more and more directly from the Mystery that is whole and undivided. This mystery of our Being is deeply and unflinchingly present to the moment as it appears, and thus can move with an intelligence, wisdom, compassion and love unknown to the mind that seeks to be in control.”
The third was a short article (also from Science and Non-Duality) by Vera de Chalambert that has the best title ever: Truth is An Orgasm You Can’t Fake. I’m pasting the entire article here because it’s so good:
“Everyone is suddenly a ‘spiritual teacher’ these days pushing the proverbial crack of ’empowerment’. And even though you have indeed come with gifts to offer, like sex, spiritual teaching shouldn’t be engaged in until every cell of Reality is begging for it, calling for you by name. Until she makes her advances, cooks your heart in her furnace, burns up your false dreams and forcing currents, leaves you breathless and speechless and unable to long for anything less. Ever.
Until then, please stop. Be quiet. Stay close to the ground. Ripen. Don’t “step into your power.” Rest into your vulnerability. Stop marketing sand in a desert. Get weary and tired and thirsty. Feel the humility of death in the scorching sun. Then, let the longing for the Real guide you… you might die, but you might get water from a rock. Taste it. Let it taste you. Then you can’t help but devote your life to Water.
Otherwise you become just another pawn of the patriarchy; a dead thing selling smoke, high on the violence of certainty. Pushing your agenda, your brand of half truths upon parched, suffering beings. Don’t let the culture of rape speak through you. Soften and worship until God is enflamed. And flowing. Stay in the unknown until freedom takes you through every orifice.
Truth is an orgasm we can’t fake.”
And so I feel like I’m entering a cocoon – or an incubation period – while I wait for my Soul to tell me what’s next. At the moment I’m a gooey half-caterpillar, half-butterfly that needs time to fully gestate. As Tama Kieves shares in this blog:
“The artist Pablo Picasso wrote, ‘Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.’ And the philosopher Nietzsche said, ‘You must become a chaos before giving birth to a shining star.’ These are not poetic elaborations. They are descriptions of how a metamorphosis works. First, things fall apart before they fall together.”
By the way, in case you’re worried about me, please don’t be. This is a naturally occurring down-point in the sine wave of life. I’ve inhabited these down-curves often enough that I now recognize them for what they are. I’m not depressed or suicidal. I’m not losing my mind. Actually, maybe I am losing my mind. In the best possible way.
I have no idea where this journey is going to take me. Perhaps I’ll emerge with a new mission for bethanybutzer.com. Maybe I’ll have a flash of insight for a new book. Or maybe there won’t be any discernible “end product.” After all, T.S. Eliot put it perfectly when he said,
“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
This might be an end. Or perhaps it’s a beginning. Because T.S. Eliot also said:
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the meantime, you can check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution. And don’t worry, she’ll return eventually 🙂
Image courtesy of Javier Cañada.