Despairing for Your Dreams

Maybe it's just me, because I've been feeling this way myself this fall. They say you attract experiences that reflect what you're going through yourself, since subtle energy attracts more energy of the same kind. Whatever the reason, I've run into lots of people who are feeling a sense of despair and hopelessness that grows out of a deep soul weariness. I think of it as spiritual battle-fatigue. These are good people that have been doing breakthrough spiritual work with themselves, yet instead of life getting easier, it gets harder and harder until they reach their breaking point. Or pass it.

It's amazing how often I've had this same conversation. The person has been doing all the "right" things spiritually for years in their day-to-day life. Especially with teachers and healers, they've given up their old lifestyle completely to pursue a vision of healing and growth, for themselves and others. They've put everything on the line in support of what they firmly believe in, year after year. And what have they seen the last few months? Typically they find they are in too deep to back out (if only because they no longer believe in their old lives), but they just can't make this new path work. Particularly if your path is also the way you earn your living, it's been difficult to make enough to get through the month's bills, let alone prosper and expand. Besides dealing with a sense of material lack (the "I'm poor" feeling that won't go away) or the notion that other people don't appreciate your gifts, at the core there's a nagging doubt that the universe has abandoned you. You worry that your path will never work for you, that you'll never have enough to enjoy a lifestyle others take for granted, that maybe your vision is really a mirage or a delusion...that maybe you should just give it all up. It's hard to believe in your dreams when they come crashing down around you time after time. The doubt and indecision are deadly as you lose your faith. You're stuck.

There's no secret formula for getting through this spiritual impasse, but certain flower essences can help keep your emotions in perspective as you move through this trying period. Of course, each person will have their individual issues and remedies to deal with them, but several essences seem to come up frequently.

The first two remedies I've been thinking about are some old Bach Flower standbys, Sweet Chestnut and Wild Rose. According to the book descriptions, they represent two distinct phases of this trying process, though the distinctions are often blurred in practice. Sweet Chestnut is for that feeling that you've reached your breaking point and can go no further, that you are being tested to your limits. This state is popularly described as "the dark night of the soul" before you break through into the light. Wild Rose people have gone through that dark night, only to find there is no light for them. They are hopeless and resigned to their fate, the life has gone out of them. While the situations causing this level of despair can sometimes be quite dramatic, the kind of spiritual malaise I'm talking about seems more muted and can easily be overlooked or written off as "just the blues." Yet it can hardly be a trivial matter when everything you stand for is up for grabs. One or the other of these remedies can be an immense support. The Australian Bush remedy Waratah is similar in many ways to Sweet Chestnut.

After facing that hopeless feeling, it's good to get motivated and take action. Doing something, even the smallest step, can sometimes cause a major shift in your fortunes. With a client recently, I remarked that she just needed some fire in her -- the essence that came up for her was Cayenne. This is a good one for putting some spark back into your path. Blackberry is helpful when you can visualize your dreams, but don't have the will-power to carry it out on the physical level. Red Grevillea is helpful when you know you have to move on, but the way out isn't obvious. It assists you in "sniffing out" the solution to your problems and making the needed changes.

Personally, I've been using one of my astrological remedies frequently. I've nicknamed it "Between a Rock and a Dream" -- it captures a clash last year between cold, hard reality (Saturn) and the idealistic vision (Neptune). Straight to the point...

Many spiritual teachings tell us these times of trial and testing have a purpose, that it refines our true natures and burns off the inconsequential aspects of ourselves. They tell us we are being changed into beings that we can't even imagine now. They say we are never tested past our abilities to persevere, that the tools for our transformations are always at hand. But it sure feels that the lessons get harder and harder each passing year. It takes a lot to keep going, even with the flower essences. Keep your faith and trust in this process, if you can.