Your Position From the Starting Blocks

We all know that change is occurring more rapidly and dramatically today than it ever has in history.  This may be either thrilling or terrifying, depending on the day and how ready we are at any moment to go along with dramatic transformations.  For many months, I’ve had the feeling that many of us humans have been milling around like athletes waiting for a marathon to begin.  Recently, it feels to me as though we’re all being told to take our position in the starting blocks.

I’m not sure exactly what this means, only that it feels tremendously exciting and somewhat alarming at the same time.  I’ve noticed two categories of reaction in myself and the people I know:  Some highly evolved individuals are positioning themselves happily and easily for some exciting unknown transformation; others are kicking, screaming and resisting like race horses who have decided at the last minute that the whole event is just too strange and frightening to tolerate.

This translates into divided extremes of emotion.  There seems to be no middle ground; either life feels incredibly joyful and exciting or absolutely horrid.  I, myself, alternate between these two extremes.  When I am completely in line with my purpose and following my inner compass, I feel almost intoxicated with joy.  When I am resisting in some way, I feel like week old road kill.  It seems that the biggest difference lies in my ability to relax.  There was once a time when hard work and intense willpower moved me effectively toward my goals and filled me with enthusiasm.  Nowadays, hard work and willpower feel horrible, even when I can muster them, and prove entirely ineffective.  On the other hand, when I give up struggling and acknowledge that I have zero control and no more energy, things suddenly begin to work in my favor, as if by magic.

I watched this process very intently as my friend Jayne passed away, which as you probably know, was simply a change of address as far as I’m concerned.  People talk about how courageously people fight their illnesses, and Jayne fought ferociously, but the effect of her struggle was horrific.  A few days before her death, when she completely stopped struggling, it opened a door to peaceful and joyful transformation that uplifted Jayne and everyone around her.  Watching the grieving process of her son Joey, who has Down syndrome, was another astonishing example of the power inherent in refusing to struggle.  Joey flows in and out of sadness with absolutely no resistance, and as a result, the pain of this time has been intermittent, alternating with periods of true and enormous happiness.

For anything new to be born, the existing arrangement of particles and situations must die.  Struggling to survive is laudable and natural.  I believe the “deaths” we experience as we take our positions for a new phase of history are benevolent and necessary, and are, therefore, best greeted with relaxed acceptance.  This is a wild time to be alive.  If you feel yourself being moved into position, you might justifiably feel terrified.  My advice to you this month:  Stop struggling.  Relax.  The signal to run is coming.

31 replies
  1. Jane Lee Logan
    Jane Lee Logan says:

    I awoke this morning in a complete panic! As what appears as my new direction in life comes into clearer view–a process that’s only taken as long as the gestation period of four-and-a-half elephants–I find myself filled with doubt. Thoughts rage, “Am I good enough? Can I do this? What the hell am I doing?” and so on. I see that I have so much to learn and just don’t know that I even have the energy to really do what’s necessary. I’ve grown a bit partial to things like, let’s say, eating, so I feel time pressing in on me. After racing around my thoughts for a while like a desperate animal, I began thinking less about how the hell I’m going to possibly do any of this and started imagining how I could put my old calling as a fine artist to use in decorating the refrigerator box I’ll be living in.

    I traveled to your post soon after pulling myself from bed and feel just a little bit relieved. I’m not sure exactly why considering everything, but I’m grateful nevertheless.

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      Jane, you are not alone. “Refrigerator Box” City may have it’s own zip code with so many experiencing the financial wilderness of unemployment, losing their homes and so many other devastating results of the economy.

      I’m a baby boomer who grew up with plenty. Now in my 60’s, I’m unexpectedly divorced, having to sell my home with no place to go and unemployable. Everything I hold dear is dissolving around me and it’s hard not to panic. I’m used to fixing, restoring, insuring and none of these abilities serve me now.

      So, it’s a matter of faith that this will all work out in the long run? No point in struggling against losing everything because I’m sure to gain much more? Nice thought but very hard to maintain as I anticipate my future. Yes, I can look at it as a “challenge” and try to pretend all is well but it isn’t. It really isn’t.

      Pretty words cannot disguise ugly truths but they” re soothing for the moment so I appreciate Martha’s blogs. Every little bit of encouragement helps….

      • Mia R
        Mia R says:

        Jane and Barbara — I wanted to share with you a recent study by Heart Math in which strands of DNA were exposed to different emotions. We used to think that DNA was a code written in stone, but now we’re finding that it is responsive to the environment, always adapting, a living and aware process. What they found was that the strands of DNA that were exposed to fear and other negative emotions tightened up, and parts of the code actually shut down, winked out, essentially. Exposed to gratitude and love, these same strands relaxed their death grip on themselves and came fully back to life.

        I am recently widowed, and as the financial stressors mount up, I share your questions and concerns. What I take from this DNA experiment is that what I do have control over is who I am as I meet what is being asked of me. When I am (understandably) frightened, I spiral into a sense of worthlessness and despair. But if I spend a few moments loving something, anything, I can begin to feel the nourishment of the infinite potential from which we all emerge. Yes, my mortgage still looms. But when I bring in love and reactivate the parts of me that are designed to interface with what we come from, I feel so much more of me available to build something new.

        I guess I just wanted to share this story because I’m scared, too. Time spent grounding into something beautiful may seem like a luxury, but what I really can’t afford is to let fear rob me of my birthright, my connection to the infinite possibility waiting to live through me. Love may not solve all my problems, but it keeps me in working order so that I can do what I need to do with more of me on board. It allows me to fail with grace and still know I have value.

        Thanks for giving me the opportunity to give myself this little pep talk. May we all thrive.

        • Jane Lee Logan
          Jane Lee Logan says:

          Hey Barbara & Mia,

          I’ve experienced some pretty amazing things over the last couple of decades–things that are nothing short of miraculous. I might have moments or periods where I completely freak out but for the most part, there is a sense of being carried by something much larger than we can comprehend. I find that when I go into panic mode, it’s often helpful to just ride it out a little while–white knuckles and all.

          Money is really just a symbol of care; it wouldn’t do much good if, let’s say, we were dropped into the middle of the forest–except perhaps as kindling. So I have found it helpful to keep what I call a “proof of care journal.”

          I have a little notebook that I catalog evidence of care for the day. I take note of not only of things others might do for me but things I feel moved do that care for me, recognizing that something is caring FOR me THROUGH me. I also list the things I do to care for others as well as those things that make me feel cared for in general–the sense of an inner presence, the way a lamp warms the room at night, my little puppy’s snuggles and whatever else I notice.

          Keeping the journal reminds me to look for signs that I AM being cared for rather than focusing on the ways that I might believe I’m not. It also helps keep me stay focused on the day at hand and out of what can appear as the scary uncertain future.

          Hope this helps and if you decide to keep your own journal, I would love to hear your experience.

          • Carole
            Carole says:

            Fantastic idea, Mia. I love your concept of “Proof of Care”. I often feel that the small kindnesses I bestow upon myself are delivered from a place deep within, that’s calm and steady and peaceful. This benevolence – whether it comes from myself or others, or the natural world – feels like the Truth to me.

            Carole x

        • Barbara
          Barbara says:

          Thank you Mia and Jane.

          Your kind and helpful words remind me that I’m not the only one scared stiff.

          Stopping to appreciate whatever positive thing I can identify in the moment just might interrupt my fearful thoughts about the future long enough to keep them from spiraling out of control.

          Journaling about everything I appreciate instead of listing my worries and being generous with myself and others instead of closing down just might loosen up my twisted DNA strands before they blink out and take me with them!

          It is so generous of you both to share your fears and wisdom. You have given me a dose of courage that might make all the difference. Thank you with all my heart.


        • T
          T says:

          wow Mia, you share is poetic to say the least and full of hope and resolution to put it mildly. I won’t bore you with the details of the despair that often visits with me, the one what lets me lose objectivity and paints everything dark. So for me to find awe and inspiration from your share is the biggest compliment I can give you..with much Gratitude

  2. Nancy Lundy
    Nancy Lundy says:

    Martha, what I love most about reading your articles and blogs is your honesty. I so appreciate that you are always “going through” what you write about. It confirms that we are all works in progress — we are never completely fixed. You are an expert in all you experience, but through your honest writings, you allow me to accept that there are peaks and valleys. I treasure you both a master and a novice. Thank you for your authenticity. Be well and be strong.

  3. Skye
    Skye says:

    A friend sent this link to me as she has been experiencing the same thing and thought it might help me. Perfect timing. I actually began to wonder if I had become bi-polar as I go between extreme happiness and utter sadness. Sadness that I could not explain, had no reason for and didn’t know how to fix it. I will just breathe and continue allowing the shifts. Thank you.

  4. Jan
    Jan says:

    Again, Martha, such wonderful insight and advice in a most important time of my life! I have continued my spiritual growth and awareness in two particular ways. 1.) I have continued to stop expecting any possible reconciliation from a previous relationship I was in for over 12yrs and finally realize It will no longer come about nor be good for me, and have, “let go and let God,” handle the details, and I am grateful for less struggles I have had emotionally, because of this! 2.) I have been working on and someday expecting to publish several pieces of poetry I have been writing, and many avenues of thought have been coming in about how to do this. So like I said, “thank you again, Martha,” for so much help and compassion you have for all of us. Namaste, Jan

  5. Jo Self
    Jo Self says:

    So many thoughts and words circle in my head to say, but the most important are these: Thank You, Martha for being you and helping me see my way to a better me and for always saying what I need to hear when I need to hear it.

  6. Quyn
    Quyn says:

    Hello Martha – Thank you, and thank you to all the others who commented. This rings so true for me – have this inexplicable tiredness that overtakes me and forces a halt. It’s good to know I’m not alone. And gratitude helps immeasurably!

  7. briena
    briena says:

    oooh my! ive read two of your articols today(first time), both amazingly helped me get back on track…somehow(i still have to figure out how i can equilibrate these extremes feelings cause its so hard to get through my days lately). Career, love, life… everything seems to have exploded! i feel the change coming tho’, but i also have to have the courage to listen and act as my heart tells me to. I wanna quit my job, of course its not a “good moment”, but its not the “good job” either! and i hate to be indulging just because “its safer”(this is what all ppl around me would say). My love life is…great, only that my love is far away from me now and takes time and money to finally be able to see eachother, after months. Career… im an actress but its so hard to follow ur passion and dreams when no one gives u one tiny opportunity to show to ppl what youre capable of, how bright can shine your talent! and well…. last but not least… my daughter…who lives with my parents because its hard to provide a good life for her in this very moment. so…yea, im scared, but i feel im alive, i live everyday, life is painful but its suppose to be felt so…im kinda feeling it right now, beyond my imagination. God Bless all of you! thank you Martha for you.

  8. Katie
    Katie says:

    Thank you Martha, again! This came the perfect time, again. It is magical!

    And Barbara – if you are still there, please tell me how you are doing now?

    I am in a similar situation as you were and I so wish you are in a better place today than 2 years ago.

    Lots of love,


  9. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Martha thank you, once again you have summed up all that I have been trying to deal with this last couple of years. I am on my own trying to keep a job that I am out of my depth in, I would love to leave to do the healing work I know I should b doing but cannot be brave enough to get off the treadmill. In the meanwhile I too feel bipolar, going from the depths of despair to giddy highs! What is going in out there?

  10. Sally
    Sally says:

    Hey Amanda
    I believe in all of the above but I too am struggling to get by with a P/T job that just makes rent and food for me and 2 cats. We were abandoned after a 32 yr relationship. And to make it more offensive, it was for someone 10 yrs younger. We got thru their gall bladder surgery, shingles, cataracts, cancer twice, parents deaths, etc. and all while they professed their love to me. Within 4 mos of meeting this 50 yr chic, I was told “we’re done”, whether I liked it or not. I have prayed, meditated, felt hate and desire for them all at same time; meanwhile 35yrs of memories surround me and I can’t afford to just take off and start over, which is what I feel pulled to do. I am in good health and still attractive, I’m told. So what? I’m not looking for someone to complete me..just want get over the sorrow, rejection, abandonment..want some peace and joy. 2 years gone by and the roller coaster of emotions still takes me for a ride when I least expect it. Hang on..we have no choice.

  11. Coco
    Coco says:

    Before Martha Beck’s life coach training, I too thought that my highs and lows could be bipolar. Then I realized that these mood swings are just benevolent messages trying to get my attention.

    I’m so glad I had the courage to enroll & complete MB’s life coach training, applying her tools saved my life and created less dysfunctional with more peaceful center within… Still my best medicine ever!!! ~ Coco

  12. Christi
    Christi says:

    Hi Sally,
    I hope you are feeling & doing much better now. I know your post was written some months ago. Please understand that his choices & behavior are not about you. When you’ve done the best you could at any given moment from where you were with good intentions, you can take comfort in that. Rest, relax & remind yourself of that. Comfort yourself in the most positive way, tone & self talk that you would use for a child or loved one. While others actions may be hurtful, we can only take responsibility for our own. I know it’s hard but “congratulate” yourself for striving to do good. And when you mess up remind yourself your human. What I’ve noticed is that the intention behind everything is what matters. Meditation has helped me tremendously in my own life & has helped me see things from a higher perspective. When others are destructive in their behavior, that is unfortunately their karma they will have to deal with, their bad/hurtful choices in their life are something that will at some point or other come back to them. This is not to wish them bad things but what we do comes back to us in like kind. When we see this from a higher perspective, you’ll almost feel a sense of pity for the person & what they’ve done in their life. After that you can let it go & free yourself from it. Continue to take care of yourself & try to do & be the best spirit & person you can be.
    Wonderful wishes to you!


  13. Kristine
    Kristine says:

    Oh, Martha. How did you know exactly what I needed to hear this morning? Since the solar eclipse, my energy has been scattered, fragmented. Hard to focus and fighting what feels like a black cloud. So not like me. I will hold onto your vision that this is just me approaching the starting blocks. And I think I must be dumping every bit Of dark crap that would hold me back before I get there :-). Thank you and blessings to you.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *