L ife is a funny thing.  I went into my sabbatical with the primary intent of re-discovering my center.  I’m happy to report that I found not only my center, but so much more.

I’d love to tell you that the moment my sabbatical began, the heavens opened up the sun shone brightly to illuminate my path.   But to be honest, the first thing that came up was a hell of a lot of dirt.

Now, I promise to share my discoveries with you in the coming weeks, but I believe discussing the icky stuff – like dirt – needs conversation as well.

I’ll be honest with you.  I love my daily life.  I know that I’m on the right path for my life.  But as idyllic as these things may appear, it doesn’t mean that life is always coming up roses.

When you plant a seed, it isn’t a sprout that comes up first. The first thing that comes up is dirt.

Creating change in your life means that no matter how strong your intention, old fears, habits, and thoughts will rise to the surface as the seeds of change take hold in your heart and soul.

In other words, when you make changes in your life, the resistance comes up first. This resistance, while not always easy to push through, will ultimately make you stronger.

I’ve experienced this myself.  Often.

When my word began to align with my soul – and I realized that I was (gasp!) happy,  I mistakenly believed that in order to break the chains of some limiting beliefs, I needed to instantly leave all the fears of the past behind. I discovered, however, that life doesn’t work that way. In order to plant the seeds of spiritual, physical, emotional and creative growth, sometimes you have to get dirty.

I understand that what you focus on grows, so it may seem counter-intuitive to give any attention to the dirt that comes up. The trick is in recognizing the line where positive focus ends and denial begins.

So, what do you do when the dirt comes up?

First of all, know that the dirt coming up is not the Universe telling you that you’re on the wrong path. It’s really a way for you to break the bonds of past. Many people give in at this stage, because change is uncomfortable. Don’t give up.  Continue to have faith in yourself.

Invest in an eCourse or Group Program. Sometimes, when you are in the muck, it’s hard to work your way out because you need a path for your thoughts.  Sometimes, one elegant thought, idea, or question can turn the tide.

Get some help and lose the story. Sometimes so much dirt surfaces that we begin to feel suffocated. Hire a coach or therapist. Or talk things over with a trusted friend. They will help you dig your way out. This person can give you a sacred space to tell your story so that you can begin to let it go.

Two things can happen when you lose your story. Sometimes, losing the story will simply bring up emotion. Allow yourself to feel, even if the emotions have negative connotation, like sadness or anger. When you allow yourself to feel, you begin to leave the story and drama behind.  Sometimes, losing the story allows you to see it in a different light by giving you the wisdom to re-frame it.  Either way, losing your story allows healing and grace into your heart.

Listen to your body. If trying to just ignore the dirt plagues your mind, listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re exhausted, go to bed early or take a nap. Big piles of the dirt that surfaced during my sabbatical were exaggerated by the fact that I was deep-bone-tired.  Baby yourself.  Go to bed early, take a nap, or sleep a little late.  On the flip side, if your body is restless, get some exercise. Go for a run, or turn on some music and dance around the house. When your body is more refreshed the dirt will seem less muddy.

(I slept.  A lot.)

Continual Improvement is a great rule of thumb. One of the most valuable points in Esther & Jerry Hick’s book Ask and It is Given, is that you don’t have to force yourself to go from feeling terrible to feeling wonderful.  Focus on feeling a little bit better than you did the day before.  Slowly, but surely, you’ll take shovels of dirt and toss them out of your way.

I won’t lie and tell you that it will be a magic wand and your life will change overnight.   Just know that once the dirt surfaces and you push it aside,  you’re left with beautiful sprouts of growth.

I’d love to hear about your dirt as well as your blooms.   Share some of both in the comments below.

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Life coach Debra Smouse helps women feeling overwhelmed by life and/or their schedule recreate their life into one worth falling in love with. A self admitted tarnished southern belle, she now resides in Dayton, OH with the man of her dreams.
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