I came down the mountain stumbling, leaning on a stick, barely able to walk. Matt was carrying my pack.
The last 4 days I had spent in the blistering heat on the top of a mountain in the Spanish Pyrenees with only water and a tent.
It was my first Vision Quest.
In the circle later that day, as we all shared our experiences, I wept hot tears of frustration at not understanding the meaning of my Quest. I felt lost.
And then, later, one small sentence from one of my fellow questers and suddenly everything made sense.
The next day on the train home I spent 3 hours downloading and dot-connecting, writing furiously as all the pieces of the puzzle from the last two years of my life started falling into place.
And although I understood so much already that day after I came off the mountain, now one year later, I have a fresh perspective on it – and a whole new layer of understanding has emerged as I weave the clarity I had then with insight and integration I have now.
Past, present, future
Knowing where we’re at right now in the present moment helps us feel grounded and to move forwards deliberately. But it’s not always easy (sometimes it feels impossible) when you’re in the midst of crisis, or transition, or overwhelm.
A tool that has hugely helped me during these times is the Life Review, (which I first discovered in The Celestine Prophecy). It’s also a great way to become aware of recurring themes and underlying beliefs that are steering your life.
The first time I did it I was in my third year at University – I went through my whole life, looking at all the major turning points, all the unprocessed pain, the blocks, the successes, the shifts. It was huge. It triggered a phase of intense purging and letting go, of forgiveness and cleansing as I made my peace with everything that had gone before.
It felt (and still does) like one of the healthiest things I have ever done. And no, it wasn’t easy.
And – it wasn’t “hard.”
It was a process that demanded surrender – to myself, to my life’s story.
I had to forgive all the things I saw as failings in myself, to sit consciously with all the pain I had caused myself and others, to welcome all the discrepancies and hypocrisies and lies and ugliness of my life.
And once I did that I was able to get very clear on what kind of person I wanted to be. I had done the time, paid my dues. I had a clean slate.
It was the beginning of loving myself.
Life Phase Review
A few weeks ago, in an effort to understand my path of the last two and a half years (the starting point of the “phase” in this case being a turning point), I used the same technique but for this limited timeframe.
I drew a line across a piece of paper, and marked all the important events/insights/people of that period of time, in chronological order, and afterwards went through marking recurring themes in different colours.
And the lessons started to appear. The bigger picture started coming through on that piece of paper, like a photograph appearing through the developing fluid.
I know that if I pick it up again in three months’ time I’ll probably see other things in there too – it’s so beautiful and moving to go back and look at past reviews.
Owning our past, owning our story (and the Stories we create about it) is the most enormous act of self-love.
Is there a phase of your life you’d like clarity on?
Or perhaps it’s time to look at the whole picture from day 1?
For those of you who are feeling a pull, I put together a small guide to ease you in (and out) of your own life review :: A Quiet Revolution – Life Review
I’d love to hear how it went!
Drop me a line or leave a comment and share what you learned.
Every drop of clarity is good for the whole world.