An Awkward Human in the Midst of Global Change

posted by Emily Goughary on March 22nd, 2020

All artwork in this article is by Emily, created throughout her healing journey.

I’ve always considered myself a “creative person.” Somewhere along the way, however, without even realizing it I began focusing all the creative energy to cover-up my awkwardness behind an intricate personality construct. A beautiful fantasy in which I really believed that I was sweet, kind, considerate, spiritual, sane, and even happy.  Eventually I convinced myself that’s who I was. My conditioning defined me and I believed it. I defended it. Then I tried to convince everyone else of it— and I got pretty darn good at that, I must say. Until…. a cosmic shit storm struck.

After years of discomfort, abnormal bleeding, indigestion and overwhelming confusion about the whole thing, I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer when I was 25. My “happy & healthy” facade began to crumble as my intimate relationship ended, I left my job and community, and my body broke down.


In that storm (and the many storms to come) I learned a few things…

This body will not last. Actually, nothing else will either. Well, maybe a few things like the heart-centered presence available in every moment, the never-ending journey itself, and all the reminders of change as the only constant along the way.

There is no ‘quick fix’ for life. No short-cuts. There is no more denying that I’m responsible for all the shit that is coming up. Yes, me. So, I guess I’ll work on cleaning it up. I don’t want to! But I will.

Everything is already perfect. It’s actually just my view and attitude that need to align to the inherent perfection of this intricately interconnected organism. Yes there is still war, viral pandemics, famine, abuse, rape, disaster, and more, but can I really help on a global scale if I can’t even see (let alone honor) the potential of the human being facing me in the mirror? In the grocery store?  Sitting in quarantine? This revolution must start with me making the seemingly insurmountable journey from my mind to my heart, uncovering my inherent goodness, and sharing love outward from there. By love, I mean appropriate, thoughtful and joyous intention towards greater well being all around.

I want to clarify something here because I’ve been caught in this trap before. I’m learning that “starting with myself” doesn’t mean that I have to become a self-absorbed robot only focusing on ‘spiritual endeavors’ and ‘self-development’, but actually the opposite. By learning to accept, forgive and honor myself as a human being who is doing her best, I can learn to see the highest in others as well. By fully acknowledging my disturbances, I can relate to the experiences of others rather than judging them. My healing is interwoven with and essential for the healing of others, not to mention the healing of communities, countries, and our beautiful planet. One is not possible without the other.

It helps to be curious. It’s so hard to not automatically think “I know the solution” or act with a preconceived agenda based on my conditioned and narrow-minded views. With a curious mind and a fresh approach to life, it’s possible to actually have a skip in my step while I take out my garbage. 

The journey never ends. And believe me, at some points I wanted to end my journey. There is definitely no getting out of this one. There is no destination. No escape. No guarantee. And fortunately, all of this helps me let go of expectations of what’s to come! Through accepting the fact that life is always changing and I can’t control it, I evolve, dancing freely and spontaneously with each moment.

It’s OK to be a helpless little baby, sometimes. In fact, I’m learning it’s absolutely necessary to get to know my childlike innocence hiding underneath difficult life experiences and traumas. I thought I could do it all myself, become independent and so successful that one day I’ll transcend all obstacles in my life, unaffected by the challenges of those around me. Well, after spending the majority of my life trying that approach, with a little help from my friends and direct communication from life itself (ie: school of hard knocks), I finally allowed my limited-self to crack open and surrender to the unexplored territory of the shared heart. Humbled by the mystery of life itself I awakened to a whole new and much wider perspective. Crawling like a baby, and eventually taking my first awkward dancing steps, my tender heart is getting to know the infinite support of the surrounding universe.

I can’t do this alone. My friends, family, teachers, and guides who embody the living wisdom traditions passed down from the ancestors have been the greatest blessing. They reflect both my light and shadow (and everything in-between) while putting up with my dramatic tantrums, break-downs, shit-storms and the rest of my basic ignorance. These are the real friends, folks! By facing all life circumstances they show me what is possible when one’s motivation and inspiration are rooted in the well-being of the shared heart. And by not facing their life circumstances, they illuminate the pot-holes, swamps, and pits-of-despair that I can recognize and relate to in myself. Above all, they help me get to know the real Me. My Higher Self; the Whole Organism of which I am an integral part.

It’s actually through observing my friends go through real-life sticky situations like heartbreak, illness, death, birth, and other rights of passage that I saw how to face any given situation with a positive attitude instead of totally losing my shit, or at least losing it much less frequently…

Their willingness inspired me to get real, get my hands dirty, and bring creativity back to life! We are never-ending glimpses of the ever-expanding shared heart. My whole life is tirelessly trying to remind me of that.

Did I mention I love good compost? The real-deal black gold. These living examples show me that conditioning, challenges and dissatisfaction can become the fertile soil from which the wild and compassionate unabashedly sprout forth from and generously give back to.

I took some time to consider my situation and Gaia knows it became more and more evident (actually painfully obvious) that by resisting change, I’m causing physical and mental anguish for myself and others. Instead, I can wake up from this dream of separation and be of benefit to the greater organism while I’m still alive and kicking.

Accepting all parts of myself is essential to fully embrace the impermanence of this insanely beautiful life. Once I let go of the self-imposed limitations of who I am or should be, I surrender to the most supportive, aware, and loving space: the dark womb of creation. This is a state of being where infinite possibilities exist and rather than being separate from them, I can consciously embody them.

And then I wake up and find myself right where I started! Smack-dab in the middle of this mess that is my life. Haha. The joke is on me! And I’m finding this to be the best part of it all. I used to hope for material or spiritual salvation and fear that I’m doomed to go to hell if I make a mistake. Now, I get to fall more deeply in love with life, aligning all my thoughts, feelings, words and actions in her service.

As I spiral into the depths of who I/We are, I keep coming back to the question: how to really be of greatest benefit to all? I’m guessing that there’s no right or wrong here, but it comes down to being. Just being. I don’t mean sitting around, not feeling anything, eating popcorn and binging on movies. I’ve tried that many times and it hasn’t brought lasting happiness (yet).  I mean truly being a Human Being with all that it entails. Being at peace with what is.

This, my friends, takes some practice… at least for me. Here’s an example of what I remind myself during my daily grind:

  • Take it all in with a deep slow breath
  • Tune-in with the heart

  • Don’t be so hard on yourself, take it easy 

  • You’re such a talented drama queen, I almost fell for it 😉 

  • Go ahead, step into the abysmal mystery of life with style and a smile

Throughout this journey my imperfections have not magically disappeared but have become blatantly obvious. Now, however, I know myself to be more expansive than I could’ve ever imagined. It’s with utmost gratitude for my life and all who’ve blessed it that I’m embracing the opportunity inherent in this very moment to embody my true and highest self: one tiny and essential piece of the beating heart that never ceases to evolve, no matter how awkward it may be.

May we all awaken to the victorious truth sprouting from the fertile soil of our life circumstances. Here’s to each of us facing ourselves, composting personal shit and finding freedom in truly caring for one another.

Join us this Tuesday, March 24th at 1:30pm Central Time (GTM-6) for a special Facebook live quarantine edition of Paititi’s Life is a Ceremony series with Roman Hanis and Emily Goughary. Visit our facebook page at the start time. If you are not on facebook we will load the video on our YouTube channel and podcast a few days later.