Sandy Schoeneich

Have you ever experienced an earth-shattering moment in your life, one that made you question who you are, or reevaluate your belief systems? Perhaps you’ve had an experience close to that – like a “wake up call”, a moment that made you act on healthier changes in a rapid way. Or, perhaps you’ve been trying to get to that “aha!” moment but seem to be stuck or cannot find your way there. Whatever your case may be, the idea of true awakening moments happen for some of us, at least once in our lifetime. These real awakenings are often glamorized in films and stories – they are painted out to be these beautiful, no-fuss processes that rock our world in a seamlessly beautiful way. However, in reality, that is not the case. True awakening moments are messy, shattered, and raw. Author Elizabeth Gordon’s article, Real Awakenings are Not Elegant – they are Messy, Ugly, Shattered, & Raw, explores the depths of an awakening and how it can impact your life. This blog post will reflect on her article and discuss self-care techniques that can help you get through such an experience.

Real awakenings are not like those on the silver screens – filled with perfect soundtracks, happy endings, and everything falling perfectly into place. Real awakenings, according to Gordon, involve a lot of crying. A lot of confusion, doubts, questions, and shock come up for those experiencing an awakening. A lot of painful memories and issues arise during this shift, and they leave us wondering/questioning what we believe/want/know feel now. Awakenings have messy middles and they leave our heart feeling like it’s being broken and pieced together all at the same time. At moments these shifts may feel extremely painful and then amazing the next minute; they may also feel overwhelmingly slow.

During an awakening, something drastic happens (as if the entire experience wasn’t already drastic enough!). A new, fresh perspective shifts our entire world and what we know it to be. Old wounds start to heal, we feel pangs of pain and love colliding. Something releases and something within us surrenders. Awakenings tear us open and they expose all of the shameful parts – the guilt, the remorse, and the resentments. They force us to get real – they force us to face our truths with honesty and transparency.

It is argued that true awakenings do not just come for anyone. They seek out individuals who are strong enough to take a soul-crushing hit. Their mission is to help us arrive at our deepest place of love and compassion, and our deepest level of inner wisdom. This arrival is then meant to carry over into how we put our energy out into the world. And once you arrive, you realize that you have been prepared for this moment, that your greatest pain has become your biggest teacher.

So, how do we move through and survive this earth shattering moment when it comes our way? There is no clear-cut answer to this question. First, if you feel that an awakening is coming your way or happening for you, you must first (in a healthy, safe way) give up control and give into your intuition. Although this is a very personal journey, you may want to reach out to a trusted person in your life and let them know that you’re having a difficult week(s), and that you need some support from them. You do not have to give them the painful, private details of what’s going on for you (unless you want to), but ask them to check up on you or allow them to help you process – also request that they check in on your mental health.

Self-care during an awakening is critical. It might fall to the wayside a bit since we tend to get very overwhelmed and wrapped up in the process, but do your best to take care of yourself. Get adequate sleep and maintain your personal hygiene. Make sure you are putting healthy nutrients into your body. It may be helpful to do lighter exercise than you normally would – walking or yoga might feel better compared to heavier/fast-paced workouts. Also, lighten up your workload or weekly routine if you can.

True awakenings are intense and although they help us arrive to a deeper place, much pain and confusion comes up throughout the process. If you’ve experienced an awakening at any point in your life, it may be helpful to process your experience with a mental health professional. Finding the right therapist may help you put this experience into an even greater, healthier perspective. Contact Symmetry Counseling to get set up with one of our talented clinicians today!

Elizabeth Gordon’s article, Real Awakenings are Not Elegant – they are Messy, Ugly, Shattered, & Raw, was referenced for this post.