What’s so scary can also be so freeing.
In the last few years, I have been on a fairly intense spiritual journey and have worked with some wonderful teachers who have supported me. In the work, I have gotten glimpses into my true essence and a sense of purpose and meaning about why I’m here, why I respond to triggers the way I do, my hurts, my wounds, etc.
And in understanding pain and wounds I blocked away, I have been able to heal accordingly which has translated to all levels of my being, down to the physical level. For me, my body is always a barometer for where I am emotionally and spiritually in my process.
I grew up being overweight my whole life and ate emotionally to numb from things I did not want to feel as well as to cope with expectations and pressures I felt. This is not an exercise of blame about how we did or didn’t have the perfect parents or friends. It’s about just being OK with how we were feeling and trying to cope at that time. I coped with food. As I felt sadder, I got heavier and I was involved with activities and school which made me forget that I was really sad deep down.
And for most of us, this sadness stays hidden for a long time and we sometimes glimpse it, but we usually don’t allow ourselves to feel it so we numb, start thinking positive and find other healthy or unhealthy ways to self-soothe. We are so afraid of feeling the pain, the sadness, the hurts, etc.
Last few years have been about feeling those pains and hurts which was cathartic and healing for me. But I was not quite ready for the next wave of feelings that would wash over me. So, even though I had a very good psychological understanding for why I felt hurt and pain and released a lot of it, I was still occasionally numbing out. I know most people would say, ‘well, that’s normal’, but I know I was running away from something I did not like that was coming up – part of it was the uncertainty about where my life was going and part of it was this undercurrent of anger and irritation I was feeling which ‘confused’ the kind, compassionate, loving parts of me.
In the last month, a lot of my work has been about truly allowing all aspects of myself to come forth, things I may have buried or may not even be aware of. And in giving myself space to feel what came up without numbing out, I saw aspects of me which weren’t that pretty that came out such as jealousy, controlling, anger, etc. I did not act out on them often, but I felt these feelings. I have come to understand that these were my shadows and result of my wounds.
First was feeling the pain which I now come to see as the ‘honeymoon period’ because it’s so easy to have love and compassion for yourself when you see your wounds for what they are. The neuroses and shadows that develop as a result of our wounds (e.g. anger, jealousy, etc.) are not nearly as wholesome and truly burst the bubble of perfection which we expect for ourselves.
But when we deny these aspects of ourselves, we don’t give ourselves the ability to know all that we are. When we accept the good in ourselves, but ‘disown’ the parts that we don’t like, we remain fragmented and that causes us to feel pain.
I have recently learned to become more comfortable with my shadow aspects and give them space to be felt and experienced and I can begin to understand them better and more importantly, show myself kindness and compassion even for aspects that aren’t that pretty about myself. And in doing that, I have become much more compassionate to the shadows of other people. It’s easy to be compassionate to someone who’s hurt, but to show compassion for people’s neuroses require that you have compassion for your own.
And since I invited many parts of myself which I had previously consciously or unconsciously pushed away come forth, I feel like a new person. Right now, I don’t feel like the person I was a month ago. I feel kind of groundless and I don’t quite know where I am headed with all this, but I have faith that it will all work out for my highest good. I have also not done anything to numb in the last month from all the stuff coming up. It’s as if I am getting the message that for me to truly step into myself, I need to be present and not try and escape as I had done in the past.
I am grateful for the courage to allow parts of myself to surface, whether they feel comfortable or not. I recognize that unless I do this that my spiritual progress will be stunted.
Interestingly, and because the body never lies, as I am going through this process, my body has been dumping high levels of calcium (found that out in my latest hair analysis) which causes a hardening of the cells. I think of it as a spot-on metaphor. In the last month, I have made the journey to come out of my shell and the body was telling me it’s a blockage I have that needs to be cleared. As I address the calcium dumping by my body and the shells around my cells start to soften or break, I know that I will also come into more and more of myself.
What I have been so blessed to learn in this process is how incredibly loved I am. Sometimes, when things come up which aren’t so pretty, the instinct is to withdraw and hide, but I have felt an energetic embrace by people in supporting me to be who I am and love me for it. I also feel at a deep level that what I am going through is helping others into their own processes of being honest and accepting themselves.