Any major personal transformation requires that we learn a new language.
Before we’re aware of the change taking place, we use the language we grew up in or are most familiar with.
When shifts are underway, we often become language-less for a time. The words we used to use to describe ourselves no longer fit, but it takes time and experience to find the ones that do.
This mute, formless, and nuanced space is an uncomfortable place to be in for people who want to know and be able to describe what’s going on inside of them.
I am one of those people, and I’m without a language right now.
Fortunately, I’ve been here before and am more comfortable in this liminal space than I used to be, but with each descent into the next stage of understanding comes discomfort and the loss of our old ways and words.
When I left my job in 2014 and was seeking a new way of working in the world, I had to learn a new language to describe who I was becoming and what I was looking for. Prior to that time, I hadn’t learned what it meant to do work that was meaningful to me; I didn’t know how to talk about my “unique gifts” or express my nascent belief that everyone deserves to do work that’s enlivening to them.
The language I had to work with, which was full of corporate jargon like “skills,” “high performance,” and “job search” could no longer help me. It wasn’t enough. It didn’t capture what I really wanted, which was a way to support myself financially and keep my creativity and integrity intact. I wanted more than a “job,” and I didn’t want to play the application / resume / interview game.
For a few months, I had to sit in an uncomfortable in-between space while I stopped applying for jobs, did what I had to do in order to survive economically, and quit trying to explain to anyone else what I was doing. I couldn’t explain it, because I didn’t have the right words for it.
This made it tough to interact with recruiters, family members, and others who were trying to help me land my “dream job.” It required a new level of patience with not knowing.
Eventually (finally), I started putting together a language to describe what was happening inside of me. Words that fit better in my body came out - words like “gifts,” “work life integration,” and “career development.”
Those words have served me well over the past three years, and I’m grateful for the doorways they’ve taken me through.
But my path is leading into the depths again, and I can’t take those words with me - I have to learn a new language, which takes time.
So I am language-less right now, and that makes writing a blog pretty tough.
I haven’t written a post in almost three weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone without publishing except for the time right around my daughter’s birth.
In the past few weeks, when I’d go to type something up, one of two things would happen: I’d either have zero inspiration, or I’d write up a mishmash of personal processing and half-baked ideas, none of which I wanted to subject you to.
Now, of course, I could throw together something using my old language, and to be honest, I spent more time doing that than I’d like to admit. I kept writing in that way because I felt like I needed to get something out to you, even if it was stale and coming from a solely intellectual place.
But I feel ready to stop compromising in that way, and I want to recommit to sharing things with you that come from my bones, my body, the truth of me - not from my ego, which wants me to tell you that I have everything figured out.
For a moment, I considered just canceling the blog so that I didn’t have to learn a new language in front of you. The idea of going “underground” indefinitely was very appealing, because it meant that I wouldn’t have to try things out or be messy in front of an audience.
Ultimately, I decided that I want to continue writing as long as it feels like this blog can be of service to you.
Even though I don’t know where this path into the darkness will lead, I’m inviting you into the depths alongside me.
I’m a total rookie when it comes to astrology, but I’m aware that for the next year, the planet Jupiter will be in the Scorpio sign. Jupiter is the planet associated with our growth, personally and collectively, and Scorpio is associated with our deepest fears and shadows. Scorpio pushes us to look at what’s really going on, and it teaches us the transformational power of the darkness.
It’s intense, and learning about Jupiter in Scorpio has helped me understand what’s being asked of me in this time. For a way more coherent understanding of what’s happening with the planets, check out Chani Nicholas’ website.
I don’t know yet how Jupiter in Scorpio will manifest for me, but I can share some of the questions that are gestating inside of me:
- How and where do I need to confront my whiteness, especially in my business?
- How can I support my clients better and more deeply?
- What new tools do I want to learn about? Tarot, astrology, Reiki?
- What would it mean to EVOLVE in my blog, my work, and in life generally?
In addition to the questions, new words - little buds of language - are popping up. Here are some of the words that are feeling resonant to me these days:
- Inner Genius
- Conspiracy (meaning: to breathe, act together)
I share this post with you in part to be honest about what’s going on for me personally, but also because I hope it encourages you to explore that language-less place within you as well.
Sometimes we get stuck in old patterns because our brains aren’t comfortable staying still while we wait to understand what’s next for us. It’s like we have an internalized Boss who expects us to account for each feeling and thought we have, even if we don’t know where they lead yet.
We live in a culture that expects us to explain everything logically, even though mystery and the unknown are inevitable and necessary parts of being alive.
This means that we have to juggle our own internal transformations with the fact that other parts of ourselves and the people around us want to know what we’re doing and why. Telling them that we’re entering a new phase of understanding that we don’t have language for yet won’t always make sense, and that’s uncomfortable. They might also laugh at us!
If you know that something is changing inside of you and you’re not sure how to talk about it yet, I want to tell you that it’s okay. You’ll eventually come up with the language you need, and sometimes there just won’t be any words for it, which is okay, too.
If we don’t make space for this dark, subtle place inside of us as it generates new language and new ways of being, we deny ourselves the chance to evolve.
And if we don’t give ourselves the chance to evolve, what’s the point of living?
If you feel drawn into the depths of your own personal transformation, you can let me know. I have one coaching slot opening up later this month, and I’m happy to talk with you about my process, A Wild New Work.