“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.” ~Ruth E. Renkel
As an ocean lover, I frequently visit the shore, even during the winter. Encouraged by a day with blue skies and forecasted temperatures above freezing, I hopped in the car and headed for the coast.
The beautiful view of the ocean is the best part of the six-mile walk I intended to do. However, as I neared the coast, I noticed a thickening layer of fog. By the time I parked, the fog had completely blocked my view of the sun and everything at a distance beyond fifty feet.
Because of the thick fog, the ocean appeared to be a backyard pool. I told myself that maybe the fog would burn off, and I started moving in the usual direction through this low-lying cloud.
The beginning of my walk was freezing, and my steps, uncertain. I was eager to see where I was going, but couldn’t.
That’s when I remembered the last time I had felt something similar, but I hadn’t been at the beach then. I was at the lawyer’s office signing the papers that officially declared the end of my marriage. Back then, my future had been covered in a fog of uncertainty.
I didn’t know what to do then, but now, I know. And because I’m aware that you might be facing or will face a dramatic life change, I’d like to share what I learned as I came out of the fog.
Everyone deals with life changes.
We might get laid off during employee appreciation week, hear our romantic partner proclaim out of the blue that he or she is leaving us, or be diagnosed with a disease we thought happened to “other people.”
Regardless of the nature of the change, we must feel comforted in the realization that we are not alone. Human existence can be described as a continuous stream of changes.
When life suddenly changes, it’s a normal reaction to feel confused and disoriented.
After the shock has worn off, we might feel as though we don’t know where to go or even who we are. All we might be able to see is our current unfortunate life situation.
The fog might take a while to dissipate.
When we go through a challenge, we might not see what options are available to us for days, weeks, months, and even years. Sometimes the uncertainty, or the anger, or the pain seems to last forever.
We can choose to keep moving even if clarity hasn’t arrived yet.
Instead of being paralyzed by the uncertainty, we can decide to continue being the best we can be, connecting with people and taking care of ourselves while the answers come to us.
Even when everything seems confusing and scary, happiness is still within reach.
It might be hard to see ourselves being successful, loved, or healthy again, but if we trust that happiness is there, waiting for us, we’ll be able to gather the strength we need to keep going.
Clarity arrives gradually.
We must keep in mind that each step we take is leading us out of the fog and closer to what is supposed to enter our life so we can reach our ultimate goal. We must be patient with ourselves and with the unfolding of events as we go on.
Once we reach clarity, everything makes sense.
All the pieces of the puzzle fall into place to tell us that there was a meaning in what happened to us. We understand that we wouldn’t be where we are had we not gone through the change or challenge.
That day at the beach, the fog eventually lifted. The blue skies and puffy white clouds I had seen when I left home were in full view, the shining sun felt warm on my face, and there, clearly defined, was the majestic, beautiful ocean landscape I had intended to see.
I climbed on a large boulder and stared at the ocean, knowing I had made the right decision by not giving up on this walk, and also by not giving up on my life when my efforts to save my marriage didn’t pan out.
The road to clarity and purpose was arduous and longer than I expected. When I thought I had reached my final destination, another change or another challenge would pop up.
I wasn’t consciously aware that I was creating a new life, and I didn’t realize that the process of creation includes multiple tests, adjustments, and setbacks.
But I continued listening to my intuition and reaching out to help others who were in a similar situation. I continued spending time in nature, consuming healthful foods, and being active. I continued my labor of creation through writing and art.
By engaging in activities that added meaning to my life, I connected with my purpose, and now this purpose is as clear as a cloudless sky: I intend to help people realize their magnificence. Clarity allowed me to regain control of my destiny.
When clarity arrives in your life, you too will feel empowered.
You’ll feel confident.
You’ll understand the lesson.
You’ll be home.
And best of all, next time life throws you a curve ball, you’ll know what to do. You’ll know that the fog will eventually lift, and that all you need to do is to keep going.
Photo by James Jordan