Waking Up To Authenticity, Part 1.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

At one time I felt I had a sense about things.  Even more, that I KNEW it all.
Like a rebellious teen, CERTAIN they know more than their parents, eager to buck the system at every turn.
(A small portion of that way of being still alive and well within me:)

And then the rug was pulled out.
All "sense" of things slipping through my fingers.
My ego, my strong attachment to my identity, my need for control, judgment of myself and others, the whole lot. 
Wiped out.
No one died, no one was sick, no one lost a job, there was no external event to blame for this uprooting, my physical body was still in tact.
But a hurricane of sorts swept through and took it all. 
Taking all sense of what I THOUGHT I knew about life, away from the image of myself I'd held on to for so long.  
Leaving me standing there naked and vulnerable, weak and terrified.
(Not literally naked.  You get what I'm saying.)  

There was a time two years ago,
I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize the woman staring back.  At all.
My reflection seemed distorted.
Shrouded in darkness, fear, despairI appeared to be more of a hazy, grey version of a human.  Like one that was dying, inside and out.
It's hard to explain this experience to people, especially when you're not ACTUALLY dying.
But those who've been there, know exactly what I mean.
As I mentioned, there wasn't anything inherently wrong with me.  I wasn't wracked by physical illness or disfigured by accident, yet felt a pain and loss so deep, saw an image of myself so fragile, so frail, it seemed I would NEVER possess the strength, confidence and courage to carry on in this life again.
I was terrified my old perception of the world would never come in to clear view, ever.   

I stopped looking in the mirror after that.  It was too much to try to take in and accept.
How had I fallen so far away from the woman I thought I was?
Who WAS I now?  
Surely not this shell of a woman staring back at me?
It was and continues to be the most humbling experience of my life.
The most transformative, enlightening, freeing opportunity that has ever occurred FOR me.
The emptiness was an actual INVITATION to die to who I thought I needed to be, who I thought I WAS or SHOULD be and instead, become who I was meant to be.

Oh, it hurt something fierce.  Still does some days.
In ways I'm not sure I can ever describe in words.
I didn't know a human could feel so impossibly empty in the midst of a good life, that actual physical pain could be felt without a point of reference, a viable source for its insertion.  
How much I've learned about how our spiritual and emotional health directly affects our physical bodies.
But I also knew intuitively, somewhere beneath my somber surface,
and per the suggestions of beloved friends and family, 
that THIS was the beginning of something BIGGER.
There was no longer space for my "old" perceptions.
I HAD to see where this went, even if it was further in to more darkness.
So be it. 
I had to trust my TRUE self was simply lying below the layers of fear and ego, judgment and doubt I had gathered up around me like a thick cloak, to shield me from REALLY living this life and that the woman who seemingly had shrunk to a terrified little girl overnight, would one day blossom again and be filled with strength and hope and more self-acceptance, compassion and love than I ever would've imagined.

One of THE greatest lessons I have learned in this life, is that if we can just SIT at the bottom of the barrel and STILL love ourselves completely and wholeheartedly, 
without trying to claw our way out, 
THIS is where new growth begins. 

There is this beautiful thing that happens when we wrack our bodies with stress, fear, worry, obsessiveness endlessly.  It's called Depression.  And despite it's bad rap, the bottom of the barrel?  CAN be JUST the place we needed to be.  Yes, initially it hurts, it's humbling and exhausting on all levels.  It can leave us feeling ashamed, terrified and more lonely than ever.  

But if we REALLY surrender to it?  ALLOW ourselves to be there without fighting it or trying to make it better?  Slowly, we start to move through it.  
Not right away, but with acceptance and time, we heal, we grow, we learn that we didn't need to run back to 'normalcy,' but instead just sit by and watch a NEW life take shape, as we gently move FORWARD.

The Fall of our ego becomes the Spring of our humanity.
If you're willing to wait it out.
When I decided to stop looking in the mirror, caring about the state I was in, 
I then thought if I woke to see another day, and each day after, I'd instead focus on my feet and just keep walking, no matter how terrifying and painful and how lonely I felt.  
Just forward, always.
If I couldn't make eye contact with anyone?  It was okay.
If I couldn't sit still in anothers' company for too long?  It was okay.
If it hurt too much to allow others to see me so weak and vulnerable and lost?  It was just fine.
If I had to retreat to the safety of my bedroom for rest and reprieve?  It was okay. 
If I went somewhere and panicked and had to turn around?  It was okay.
I would trust.  I would make small attempts each day.
And the biggest, most courageous thing?  
I would LOVE and ACCEPT MYSELF in spite of all of it
I would not fall victim to shame and doubt but instead would CALL upon the faith of something I couldn't name but felt flickering deep within my soul.
A little voice that said, "Trust me.  Keep going."

As some of you who read here have come to know,
glimpses of a "divine" have been revealed to me, whether through signs, quiet voices, through the love of old friends and new.
I'm amazed by the kindness, generosity, encouragement, new connections, INSANELY exciting and crazy experiences that cross my path almost daily.  It's mind blowing!
It initiates some big challenges and can require great responsibility from us, but leaves the door WIDE open for more meaningful experiences, relationships and fuller, richer lives.

It starts with US.  Loving ourselves as we are, so we can love others as THEY are.

It can seem to get the best of us, this human body and mind.  Our well-crafted ego combined with drive and determination is a force like no other.
But even stronger and more powerful is our ability to set it all aside so we can love.

This has led me in to some bigger questions, deeper awareness, a calling to not settle for less than our greatest potential as humans.  To accept the call to ease the suffering of others, in any way I can, by loving without judgment, accepting without question.  
More thoughts on this in the next post. . .stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

I love your words...and how you share your heart...and you! Amen for sitting at the bottom sister...and for those who are brave enough to journey with us when we are there.
Love from Colorado,

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