This tumultuous time in our political landscape is undoing almost everyone I know in one way or another. In this time, we are being called to either rise to our best selves, or fall victim to the trappings of hateful rhetoric and/or weakness. The very atmosphere that we are all existing within this moment in time is one of uncertainty, eerily familiar to some, dangerously fresh to others. It feels like we are all standing on the brink of something.
It is no wonder, then, that within this field of swarming disquiet almost everyone I know and love is feeling that they are at the mouth of a crossroads. That making one wrong move will plummet their lives, their souls, their careers, their relationships with one another or themselves, into ruin. Our country is at this very crossroads, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this energy is leaking into our collective unconscious and permeating our sense of safety and certainty that we are going to be alright.
So much about this time is defining. Both internally within each of us, and externally for what affects our actions have in the world. What you say. How you act and react. Are you going to stand up and resist the hateful powers that be? Whether these powers be literal and political in the world, or oppressive voices in your head, passive-aggressive coworkers or challenging relationship issues that refuse to resolve. Now is the time in history, in our lives, in ourselves, where we must decide who we are and by this decision, we define the next phase of life for ourselves and others. It’s massive and daunting.
A crossroads feels like an opportunity in the best light. A crisis in the worst. One wrong move and it all falls apart. Regret constantly tickling the nape of your neck. The right move, the one that has you fulfilled and hopeful and energetic, is the dream. How often do we feel comfortable or sure that the choice we are making is that defining opportunity? It can only be known in retrospect, which is a difficult concept for me to accept.
I feel at a crossroads in my own life. My tenure as a solely stay-at-home mom is at the beginning of its end. I can feel it. As my son grows, my desire within myself to be and have and do more grows right along with him. My desire and need to find other facets of myself and my identity again is growing stronger with every passing day.
I have begun tilling the soil of my mind, my heart and my life in order to churn up what works and what really doesn’t anymore. My crossroad is defined by either plodding along on the same path and doing everything the same as I always have been, or making incremental changes to set myself up for a new, but uncertain future. Not an entirely different life, but maybe a life that includes more self-care, more action, planting seeds for the coming years of unavoidable change.
Shifting my internal life in order to change my external life. Making steps in my small life to be more active and available to the world at large. I don’t know what this path entails, exactly, but what I do know is that if I don’t start taking steps, as uneasy as they may be, I will be cheating myself of a real opportunity to better myself and enrich my son’s life with a happier, healthier mom.
What I find remarkable is that so many of my friends and family seem to be in this same existential place. Who feel that they are standing at the edge and waiting for a sign that tells them which direction to take. Our criteria for choice is different – some need to take the path that will be the most life-giving, others need to take the path that will be easiest, and still others need to simply take the one that leads them out. Out of the feeling of stuck, restless, uncertainty. The Waiting Place, as Dr. Seuss writes in Oh, The Places You’ll Go (my appreciation for his books have grown so extensively as a mom who reads them, like, every day).
For someone as indecisive as myself, it can be really difficult when faced with a crossroads. You have to have patience, and faith, and know that you are doing your best to make the best decision for yourself (and often for your family or community, too). I don’t do well with patience, I do better with faith, but in general I’m scared much of the time. When having to factor in all of the necessary elements, it can feel entirely overwhelming to me to choose or know or decide on anything. I let the overwhelm take over more often than not.
But once I shift through that, whether it be from time, or external elements shifting, or my own intuition finally telling me what would be best, the decision itself becomes the easy part. The suffering in general comes from the process and journey of choice. Once I finally make the choice, it’s hard for me to do anything but rejoice in the relief and certainty of it.
Regardless, standing at the crossroads feels at once both an opportunity for and a crisis of self. I hope we each have the ability and strength to answer the call of our higher selves, and that each of our individual choices leads us collectively down the sunlit road of equality, justice, hope and connection.
And when in doubt, just watch Crossroads, the terrible 2002 movie with Britney Spears and rejoice that we don’t have to wear flared jeans with two-inch zippers below our hip bones anymore. Progress.
(Image courtesy of Pexels)