The danger in becoming more self-aware, learning who you are, why you are the way you are, and learning to accept all of it as part of your life path is that you also will become more aware of what you have allowed as part of your life. For me, it has been as though someone threw open a door and light came pouring in on me after being in a dark room for a very, very long time. The light can hurt your eyes, startle you if you haven’t seen it in a while or maybe ever.
I remember a day, I was in my 20’s and had just recently moved to a different state with my husband and two kids. Away from my family, friends, and everything I had ever known, it was a light of awareness moment that day when my husband asked me a simple question, and I couldn’t answer it because, without the background noise and the close proximity of all that was familiar, I realized I didn’t think for myself very often, I didn’t know what I wanted.
Years later, when faced with some hard times, I again had the spotlight shine down on me and point out another character issue I had to deal with, attachment issues. These issues stemmed from a childhood situation that no one could control, the outcome just happened to be that I developed some walls and boundaries to protect myself all, without consciously choosing it. Ah, another layer to peel back in the story of my life.
A bit later, another light, from the same painful childhood experience, the lie of the story that has played in my head since before I could even write my own name, “You aren’t good enough.” Again, it wasn’t placed there due to an ill-meaning adult in my life, it was placed there by a tragic circumstance, but there were plenty of people and situations and words along the way to water that seed of thought and I can play many of those moments back like a movie in my head still to this day because they fed the story.
Then co-dependency reared its ugly head, a term I had heard but hadn’t cared about because it wasn’t me. Turns out in some of my relationships it was me. With a heavy sigh, I began to allow the light to shine through on this area of my life and started to make conscious shifts to change my own behavior, even when it took all the emotional energy I may have had that day to make one single change to my response to someone who I was enabling. I am still a work in progress mind you.
This brings me to today, I am in a yoga teacher training and the class itself and the group of people on the journey together are all experiencing these dark moments or stories in their own lives being illuminated from a new angle. Some things we didn’t even know we carried and others just peeling back another layer of something we thought we had a handle on in our own minds. It causes one to face some hard stuff that lies in the very being of who we have become from the time we were conceived to this very day.
For me, it has allowed me to find a bit more self-worth and value, even if I am still covered in mud and have a lot to figure out, I see myself as worthy of love, worthy of decency, able to change, able to become a better version of me and I want to. This sort of awareness can leave you feeling a bit exposed and tender. The ones who share my life, that I have chosen to share my thoughts and feelings with don’t seem to like it that I am changing from the inside. I understand, I have been on the receiving end of this and it is scary to wonder who your loved one will be as they walk out the other side of this unveiling of themselves and will there still be space for you?
What I am struggling with now is I feel like I have new boundaries for me. For what is acceptable behavior towards me. Maybe at one time, I would laugh along all while hurting inside as someone would make a sarcastic remark about something that I struggle with or one of my flaws; but now I don’t want to laugh with you, it hurts and I want to know why someone who loves me would hurt me. Maybe at one time, I would pretend it didn’t bother me if someone would jokingly label me in some way; but now I see the power of the spoken word in the universe and I don’t want to be labeled anything that isn’t true or isn’t true to who I want to become. Your labels don’t have a place in my life right now, I want to know why someone who loves me would put that label on me.
These new boundaries cause tension. Maybe my loved one(s) hasn’t changed their behavior and words, but be sure the change occurring at my soul level feels the behavior and words in a new way. Or maybe my loved one(s) choose some of their behavior and words towards me out of fear for the change they see in me and consciously or subconsciously want to try to keep me the person they know.
I am far, very far, from having all of this figured out and how it all comes together in the end. What I know is that I need to be true to me, I need to be true to this journey I am on, and it is very hard, very scary, quite frankly very painful at times. I have heard the phrase “It’s like peeling back the layers of the onion” I guess in theory I get it, there are a lot of layers and maybe the work is never truly done. This layer I am working through feels a bit more like someone slowly holding a flame on me watching the heat of it simmer and sizzle as it consumes that part of me that needs to be burnt off. Being in a fire isn’t going to feel good, and I guess I will either come out the other side with scars I will never get rid of, or a bit more refined, like when gold goes through the fire and comes out beautiful and shiny. I hope to be radiating gold.
As I said I am far from having this figured out, but I have found a few things along the way that may help you when you find yourself in one of these light of awareness stages of your life and you decide to take some of your own demon’s head-on. Here are some of my recommendations:
First, finding the other souls that you can trust to be with you in the beauty and the ashes of your journey is so important. We aren’t meant to work it all out all alone. You will need to process, talk, be angry and hurt, and then turn around and be elated and joyous (maybe all in the same day as you figure out what it all means for you). You will need encouragement when you want to run back and shut the door and huddle in the corner of your dark room where it feels safe.
Second, take your time. I find myself wanting to rush through these moments because they can be so uncomfortable and I have a life to live, a job to do, but you know what? This is how we live life, this is our job; to become the individual the creator created us to be before the world got a hold of us and spewed its brokenness all over us. Some believe in reincarnation, and if it’s it true then this would be the goal of each of those lifetimes until we reach enlightenment and there is nothing left to pull out of the dark, no more layers, then it is just pure light, en-”light”-enment. It takes time and patience.
Third, take great and special care of yourself. Everyone else has their own journeys they are on and no one is responsible for your care but you. Love and value yourself enough to fill your cup and fill it often. Go for a walk, practice yoga, take a bath, garden, nap, whatever that is for you, make sure you do it and do it often. There will be moments that will feel as though someone just smashed your glass and all of you spilled out everywhere, and you alone have to find all of the little pieces, super glue your vessel back together and refill it. It will help if you aren’t completely depleted when those moments arise.
Finally, don’t forget to laugh, have fun, and don’t get too heavy in it all. It’s not meant to ruin you, it is meant to help you. It is not happening to you, it is happening for you. Even if the only way to laugh is to watch a comedy (or binge watch comedy for a full day) on TV or the only way to have some fun is to do something really silly and ‘ridiculous’ by other adult’s standards, it’s okay, do it!
Most important know you are not alone, this whole thing is just one big ride, one crazy journey we are all on together, and it will be best enjoyed when we are loving one another, providing support and holding space for each other.