It’s been a while since I’ve written a post here.
Oh, there are many reasons for the delay. Back at the end of November, I finished the more than one-year process of writing my book- writing, editing, scrapping, and writing some more. You get the picture! When I finished the project and called the book “done”, I felt as though I had no words left to share. I suppose this is a good thing, right?
December brought not just the holidays but also a family emergency that took me back to the east coast for a couple weeks. It also took me back into the realm of behavioral health care and supporting a loved one in crisis. Since then I have been riding the pendulum, swinging between hope and despair, love and self-loathing, fear and trust. I’ve had to face my shadows but also celebrate the deep healing shifts that come from crisis.
I feel strongly that it is my purpose to share my life out loud. I’ve realized that in order to share, I need to take the time to process and digest all of the things that life has thrown at me and continues to throw at me for that matter.
I believe that we are given opportunities, through difficult circumstances, to observe and become aware of those things in our lives that need to be healed.
For me, the first thing that comes up in a crisis situation is my strong desire to make everything better. I have a tendency to want to jump in and fix the situation, doing whatever I have to do in order to accomplish this goal. Unfortunately, this often translates into disregarding my own needs for self-care and self-love to “make” the other person feel better.
And I’m aware that when I go into this mode of caring, my actions, thoughts and internal talk reflect more than simply disregarding my personal needs. I find that deep below the surface there is a feeling that I need to somehow punish myself for the fact that things have gone wrong. Does this make sense? Maybe you’ve felt some of this yourself.
When things go wrong, I subconsciously, and perhaps sometimes consciously, want to punish myself for it.
During these past few months of crises and challenges, I have come to recognize, fairly quickly, this old habit of self-punishment. I truly believe that in any habit or situation that we’d like to change, awareness is the key to making the shift. That doesn’t mean that just because I see it I can change it immediately. In fact, I often move through a whole process (anger, denial, despair and surrender) before I finally let go of the unhealthy habit or belief.
Surrender is the only way to open the door to peace.
For years the very word surrender would send waves of indignation through my body. I thought “there is no way I will ever raise the white flag above my head”. I held onto the belief that surrender equaled giving up, resigning and even failure. So I fought more, fought harder. As you can imagine, I didn’t find my way to peace through more fighting or struggle. This constant feeling that I had to be in battle only fueled the self-loathing and punishment.
Truth be told, surrender felt a lot like giving up control. Since my mode was to take on the responsibility to fix those things that were not mine, I needed to feel in control of the solution and ultimately the resolution so that I felt good about myself.
Over time, and with the help of many wonderful teachers and friends, I have come to realize that surrender isn’t negative at all. When my son went through his crisis and I worked so hard to make things better for him, I came to a realization, even then, that his challenges and disappointments weren’t mine to fix. And no matter how much I wanted them to be within my control, they were not.
Living life out loud means authentically showing up in the world.
I recognize that I need to release those things (beliefs, thoughts, ideas) that no longer serve me and trust that there is a higher plan for all of the challenges and struggles that I experience in my life. Likewise, each day I’m given the opportunity to show up in life as my authentic self and open the door to peace. The path is mine to choose. It’s not about perfection but it is about recognition and choice.
Truth is, though it may look different for each of us, we all have the opportunity to open the door to peace in our lives each day, even in the midst of a crises or challenging situations. And on the other side of that door is where we live our lives out loud.