Good question. There may be a variety of answers.
Someone I remember and had forgotten…and let go. For others. For preservation. For safety. For lack of knowing it was not only ok to be me, but essential for happiness.
That carefree little girl who never was but always is.
I remember her.
I remember me.
Where have I been all my life? Another good question.
These days, I take refuge in my place of absolute discomfort. The healing power of swimming in the unknown.
My, my, the lessons learned in the past two months from my “sabbatical” from so called “real life” have been more enriching and existentially educational for me than I know how to describe. It’s been magical, shitty, beautiful, just perfectly awful, at times terrifying, and many times felt like downright despair ( a feeling I haven’t felt in decades). But here I am, micro-step by micro-step emerging on the other side, the sunshine side again.
My recent decision to jump off a virtual cliff into the abyss and leave everything and everyone I know and love and leap into the great unknown with my misguided mission to somehow help do my part to “save the world” has been my both my undoing and my salvation. Not a permanent undoing…mind you, but perhaps a necessary one. And no, also not a yet fully realized salvation, but I am seeing the dawn of it…and am grateful to have given myself this gift of completely liberating myself from familiarity and the great posh comforts of my Abu Dhabi lifestyle behind to get me on the path whose eventual destination has not yet revealed itself. That’s what it is all about though, isn’t it? We don’t ever really REACH a destination, for we are always on the path, a path, our path. That is a comfort and sometimes a source of sorrow in the ever changing and ever impermanent world.
It may well be that I needed to leave Abu Dhabi in order to return and fully appreciate her.
Or to know that I needed to be somewhere else. Not necessarily South Africa after all. Though I do LOVE her so.
And in that leaping, I have met myself at my core and in a space of primal (and quite unexpected) unhealed pain….my own original mother wound? Perhaps…and am learning to sit with that and to let it be what it needs to be for as long as it needs to be.
And no, it certainly isn’t always fun. But it IS always, always, always beautiful.
Because this is a luxury I never allowed myself ever, growing up. My violent and unloving childhood instilled in me the very deep and basic instinct to RUN or ESCAPE when things were off kilter or felt unsafe and to never look back. And looking back over my 48 years of life, I have continued to do this over and over and over again. The thing is, sometimes things weren’t actually so bad when I did this in later life. And sometimes they were. The gold has been in learning to finally discern the difference.
Patterns. They are marvelously useful tracking tools for us and can guide us into a more aware and peaceful self if we let them. Or they can absolutely madden us. Or at the very least become our “normal” so that if we don’t examine them, we simply keep repeating them because even when they are unfathomably painful or uncomfortable, they are “comfortable” because we recognize them. They may be all that we know.
I texted this to an old friend a few days ago – “Patterns. Aren’t they the cutest things? Sent over and over again to teach the apparently unteachable”.
Many might read that sentence as me being too harsh on myself…or making too light of a situation by using the word “cutest”. Or they mayn’t have a clue what that sentence stirs up for them. I’m projecting just by suggesting what anyone else might think when they read the words.
The point for me, a few days later, and several deep conversations with my inner self and a few beautiful friends and it is nothing short of a revelation. Or dare I say revolution? You see, in the very saying of those words about patterns and the realization of the part I played in them, I was able to SEE me, and to finally really HEAR me…and to acknowledge the patterns that I have repeated time and again throughout life. Patterns that served me so well as that young child who needed only to find a way to survive. So thank goodness for that instinct.
The trouble is, if we don’t heal our traumas – and sometimes we don’t know we have traumas to heal, because again, they are our “normal” and we think this is jut the way things are….but the trouble with not recognizing our traumas…our patterns…our “work” is that we deny ourselves the gift of “stepping into our bigness“, a phrase my mentor Michael Trotta likes to use. (thanks Michael!)
I love that phrase. It says so much with language that can reach anyone and paints incredible pictures across my imagination. I mean, just imagine what kind of world we would live in if each and everyone of us, could fully step into our bigness? Or call it wholeness…realness…healness…core being…our magic…our medicine….our heart song, our soul purpose…our thing we were put on this planet to do to heal the world…whatever.
I often think about the things I wish we could be teaching children in schools, not because the history lessons, language instruction, mathematics and sciences aren’t good for them in some way, but because we are not always modeling the things that are essentially critical to their overall well being and as a society, we seem to have lost sight of how very necessary they are to our survival. We try to teach them success, but with a fairly rigid and confining definition of what success must look like.
I’m talking about things like love…boundaries…safety…gratitude…relationship to our natural environment and to those who came before us…Some parents are better at this than others, but let’s face it, the vast majority are not and cannot because no-one modeled it for them. They simply are not equipped because they learned to push for the material and societally accepted things and ways and education that are “supposed” to make for a “good” life because their parents did the same. And their parents’ parents…and so on.
Vicious cycle indeed.
Years ago, this way of being was just about survival, and as time goes on, we are taught to believe that survival means having the right car, the right job, the right address, the right circle of friends (this I believe is very true, though not in the way many think. Though it has become a bit of a buzzword of late, I do think the phrase “find your tribe” has a lot of value)
As Americans, we liken this back to pioneer days or the Great Depression and so many other examples, but I have seen it worldwide. But these modern behaviors are not about survival. They are so often about appearances…and so called reputation or standing or position in society…the way to be “accepted” by the status quo. but that isn’t survival. It’s not knowing any better. And perhaps neither is teaching about love, gratitude, safety, etc. But, those concepts are primary to our core well being. (In my humble 5 decade in the making opinion…)
I feel like I am starting to write about something I might not well be able to explain, quite likely because I certainly wasn’t brought up to feel loved, to feel inherently safe, or to even know what gratitude was. Anyway…here I go~~
But I HAVE been paying attention, though it may not seem like it as I do seem to take a long time to get there. All these years, I seem to have often taken what seems like the hardest road to the gifts of learning about the paths of love and gratitude…but I reckon sometimes those lessons are the ones that finally bring me to my knees and subsequently to my biggest A-ha moments. Whispers of what it might mean to see enlightenment or awareness. Gentle dreams of what it might mean to actually live at peace and to share that with others.
So here I am.
On my knees.
Remembering that powerful dream of a powerful warrior woman who started out as a powerful warrior girl who came here to make a difference.
That little girl, who though born into a shit initial situation, knew without any doubt that she was here to do good things and to make the world a better place. And the realization that those parents and other well meaning adults in my early life did the best they knew how to do based on the tools and patterns passed on to them. Yes, that is freedom. That is liberation. And that gives me —- E V E R Y T H I N G ! !
and, maybe, just maybe – making the world a better place doesn’t have to be something grand.
and maybe, just maybe – that simply means remembering who I was to become her again.
And doing little things, each day, to build a relationship and trust with myself in order to be as whole and of service as I can be to my fellow earthlings. I could say Authentic…Genuine…Vulnerable…Real…Safe Space…and yes, all of those things would be on target.
So much meaning gets lost in the overuse of today’s self help words du jour, that I really do prefer to think of it as how can I show up as whole, of service to humankind and the planet and yes, in my bigness.
So, who am I becoming?
The one who finds absolute solace and peace in the trees and the birds and the landscape.
The one who can lie awake talking to a likeminded soul till dawn. (Though I have only done that in recent memory through the power of text messaging)…
The one who loved a boy once with all her heart and soul and knew that their strength was not in merging into one, but in embodying and being a glorious celebration of the gifts and strengths they (we) brought to each other. Their (our) ability to learn and grow and mirror and challenge and argue and make up and be a at peace in the knowledge that within their union was impenetrable love and safety. Even when she (I) didn’t yet know how to believe it.
The one who has come to realize that the original love is the same love that has been projected on others through the years, but the source was the girl herself and the boy who taught her what it meant.
But she didn’t trust it.
Because she didn’t have any evidence of it in her own family.
So the pattern prevailed…
and, she tossed it aside and kept looking.
Again, and again.
And now? Today? I know that original love still lives. Of course it does. It can’t die. Nothing real can die.
And my evidence is me. My journey. My path. My life. My truth. MY BIGNESS. And all the pain and heartbreak endured to get here. And the desire to share those gifts with others in whatever way I can to help them in their own transformation and healing.
So, who am I becoming?