“A blocked path also offers guidance.”
As we move gracefully (I hope!) into 2020, it’s becoming clear to me that sometimes we feel like we’re getting blocked or stopping more than starting or continuing. The truth is, we all stop at times, and simply because it’s a new year doesn’t mean it won’t happen to us in January! It’s perfectly normal and simply a part of life and calendars play no part in any of this! 😊
We hit a stumbling block or an obstacle. Something finishes or it doesn’t get started. Someone decides something and an ending comes about. All of these ‘stoppings’ make up our lives, and somehow, we find a way to move on and forward. It can be immediate or after some time but in the end, we all do move on.
The interesting thing is when we find ourselves running into the same obstacle, the same or similar situation; the outcome seems to be the same as well. Sometimes it’s a different obstacle or situation, but deep down you have a feeling it’s all the same; it just looks different.
When we find ourselves in this situation, there’s usually a sinking feeling in the pit of our tummy, a disquieting restlessness might cover us, and we find ourselves saying, “Oh, I can’t believe this happened to me.” Or, “I can’t believe it’s happened again.” Or, “Why me? Seriously—again? Doesn’t all the work I’ve done count for anything?” When we reach this point time and time again, a moment is upon us. And it’s not the moment you think it is.
In truth, it’s a moment of eventuality and possibility, not a brick wall. Eventuality in the sense of finality, and if we feel it, we take the time to pause long enough to have the conscious spark of recognition of it. Usually, a thought of, Oh, I feel like I’ve been here before, and I think, this is the last time I want to be here. Possibility, because once the spark has fought its way to the forefront of our consciousness, now we’re aware of it, and a desire is born. It may be a simmering desire rather than a burning one, but the flame has been lit, and no matter how much we try, we can’t go back. Awareness is like that.
This is a time of choice. It’s a time when possibility and potential are stirring within us; plus frustration, anger, and several other emotions as we tangle with the fact we’ve been here time and time again and now we really mean it. No more!
If throughout your life, you’ve ever found yourself saying or experiencing any of the above, then you are, as so many of us have experienced, hitting an invisible barrier—your very own glass ceiling.
The concept of a glass ceiling is a familiar one for all women, but it’s always been a generic one, and not one we’re always able to relate to, and if we can’t relate to it due to its non-specificity, we tend to dismiss it, even though it’s a huge issue in our society.
I find it fascinating when I talk to some women and they tell me they haven’t really experienced a glass ceiling—therefore, they’re not sure it exists. Yet when I dig deeper, inevitably there is always something they’ve experience at some level that’s been stopping them from being who they want to be, doing what they want to do, and having what they want to have.
Consequently, no matter how little we may feel we’re experiencing a glass ceiling, the likelihood is at some level, if we’re living any of the above, we are. If we don’t have the life we truly want, we’re hitting our glass ceiling, and recognising it is the first and most important step.
Most people live lives of quiet desperation, as Henry David Thoreau once quoted so eloquently (and rather sadly, I believe). A life filled with a sense of there being something more, but we can’t see it, and because we can’t, or we never do, life passes us by, and as Dr Wayne Dyer said in his book, “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace,” ‘you die with your music still inside you’.
This to me is a tragedy, and it’s a tragedy because it’s one that can be averted by a simple act of awareness and choice. Traditionally, the glass ceiling as a metaphor has been used to describe the invisible barriers through which women can see what they want but can’t reach them. I like this definition, however, and for the purposes of this exercise, I use the “glass” in the glass ceiling to represent a lack of awareness of our own personal invisible barriers. These are the ones we hit time and time again, and we seem to keep hitting them because we can’t see them. We can see what we want—we just can’t get past our own “stuff.” Our barriers are transparent, invisible to a large extent, so we bash our noses and wonder why.
If you’re constantly coming up against the same obstacle, the same situation, or the same outcome repeatedly, and you can’t seem to get past it, then this is your glass ceiling. It’s time to stop hitting our noses on the glass, turning around and then running back at it again, fiercer and more determined than ever, only to hit it even harder the next time, and come away with an even bloodier nose!
What if, instead, the next time you hit that invisible barrier, rather than turning around and going at it again, you made the decision to strategically stop and look at the barrier?
What if you took the time to look at what is making you hit the barrier again?
What if this time you studied the barrier, looked at it from every angle, analysed your part in the barrier being there, and asked yourself, “How am I keeping this barrier up?”
What if you realised this barrier and your hitting it was not an obstacle but a signpost?
What if this barrier was trying to send you a message?
What if the message of the barrier was, “Hey, I’m still here. Who you’re being, what you’re doing isn’t working, and I hate to say this, but every time you run at me, even if you’ve made a change somewhere, it’s not working because you haven’t addressed the core issue.”
If this was the message of your invisible barrier and you chose to listen to it and listen to the real message it’s giving you, would it still feel like a barrier and an uphill struggle?
Or would it feel like you were finally waking up, and maybe choosing to look at what’s really going on?
When we keep coming up against the same barriers, the same responses, situations, or outcomes, it doesn’t matter how much work we may have already done. The fact we’re still experiencing the same outcomes means we haven’t got to the bottom of it.
The root cause.
The core issue.
This is what inside out transformation is about. Getting to the heart and soul of the matter, the things that are blind to us, which we must now find the courage to face if we want to feel, know and experience the truth of who we are and why we are experiencing what we have been, good or bad.
This is where, if you make the decision to look deeper, you start to see how the pieces in the puzzle may or may not be what you thought they were.
There is a scene in one of my favourite films, Interview with the Vampire, starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, where once Brad’s character has made the decision to end his life and become a vampire, he takes some time to look at the things he will never see again. For example, how his garden appears to him as a human being. A sunrise. He watches as the sun rises above the horizon for the last time for him, and then he turns and goes through the process of becoming a vampire.
The minute his pain ends, and he has transformed into a vampire, he begins walking around his garden once again, seeing all the things he has seen countless times before, only now they are very different. My favourite is the statue of the angel whose eyes now follow his every move.
Pausing to truly look at what is causing you to hit your barrier, your glass ceiling, from a foundation perspective, wanting to know once and for all what the core issue(s) is/are behind it is the start of the transformation this journey can create for you, and women who have already been through it marvel at how “blind” they felt prior to it.
Something For You
To help you get started if you choose to, here is a little journalling exercise.
Looking closely and deeply at our invisible barrier(s) is a body, mind, heart and soul process, and it is a process which we will cover in stages. This is the first step. I will share the next step with you in the next blog.
1) Using your journal, think back to the last time you felt as if you hit your invisible barrier. It can be a personal or professional scenario. One, where at some point, you simply felt that if you had to go through this once more, you would lose it. It could be you didn’t get the job you went for. Or you’ve just had the same argument with your partner, friend or colleague you’ve had before. Or you’ve simply ended up in a situation you’ve been in before and you thought, ‘Crap. Not again.’ Whatever it might be, use it.
2) Write down what the scenario was and how you felt in the moment of your realisation – you’ve hit that wall again. Write down all the words that come up for you. Don’t hold back or censor yourself. No one is going to see this except you. Empty yourself of all of it, irrespective of whether it pertains to you or the other party (if there is one in the scenario) and allow whatever emotions that are coming through to come through. Please don’t hold back with these. They are true gold.
3) If words aren’t your best medium, draw, doodle, paint, whatever works for you. The aim here is to empty yourself out of how you felt when you were in this situation.
4) Excellent. First step accomplished. Well done. Simply sit with what has poured out of you, and if more awareness or insights are flowing, write them down. Let them come. Reflect and be. That’s all you need to be and do for now and be gentle with yourself as you take this step. This is for you.
“Sometimes…. the issue is simply that their ceiling is your floor.”