Change will come and change is HERE….
So true are those words. Change always comes and change is here. What is change but an opportunity to experience both our selves and the world around us in new ways? Change isn’t easy because the flexibility it requires of us is often painful as we relinquish old ways of understanding ourselves and relating to the world.
Within our world today, Change is definitely here as we are all being invited to look more closely at our old ways of thinking and believing and be even more flexible as our nation struggles with the growing pains of moving past the ‘us versus them’ mentality. However, if we choose to view change as a Reunion to our truest and most authentic selves, we will recognize this old self with renewed awareness like a returning home to a place we’ve never lived.
Here’s my Reunion story…
Love. What does that mean? For most of my life, I desperately wanted love but the mounting disappointments, continual rejections and internalized criticism and judgments I experienced eventually left me convinced that my love was either insufficient, inappropriate or just plain immature. I felt shamed for my inability to love “well enough” and I came to believe that I, in fact, I should be ashamed. I concluded that if the love I offered was insufficient, so then, I too, must be somehow insufficient. Unconsciously and protectively I began to view all of my vulnerable experiences as yet further validation that what I offered to the world was innately inferior. My love offering and therefore my being was unacceptable. My belief and my definition of myself became “I am what and who I am not.” And, because I believed I had nothing of value to offer, instinctively I insulated myself even more from any exposure or opportunity to experience love any differently. Predictably, change slowed to a snail’s pace and my connection to Love…faded out.
And, LOVE appears…
Very, very slowly change occurred as I began sensing a rising up of something within me and I felt very unsteady in my-self. My core assumptions and beliefs were somehow being challenged by this new something within me. As the thing grew, so did my anxiety as I didn’t know how to incorporate this new information. As I tried desperately to hold onto my core belief that I was innately unworthy my anxiety surged as, what felt like an internal destruction, ensued. I was changing but I was also desperately trying to remain the same. But, I could not sustain the struggle. The constant heavy and oppressive fog of confusing thoughts matched only by the equally oppressive emotions of grief, regret, loss, and missed or failed opportunities to love ‘well enough’ flooded my being. I experienced, what I can only refer to as an inner world or ‘Soul-Self quakes’. Just as the earth trembles as it is being transformed, my inner world was being shaken just as violently. It occurred often and without warning and there seemed to no identifiable or apparent triggers as just about anything could set it off. I experienced these moments as though a hugely, powerful arm was reaching into me. My consent neither requested nor necessary, it would take hold of me, tightening its grasp and piercing itself into me as waves of excruciating emotional suffering flooded through me. I was immersed within each wave of grief, loss, sadness, mistakes, regret, wishes for things to have been different and unfulfilled desires for love. Immobilized, my knees would gave way under the pressure of the dizzying, racing thoughts and my tears would blind me. Feeling unstable in my body, I literally had to reach out and take hold of something around me in order to steady myself. I experienced these shocks as the cracking open of my inner world. These were not the ordinary shame cycles I had come to know. These were full blown destructions to the foundation of my inner Self structure.
Initially, I interpreted these experiences as shame flooding through me as shame has been the only emotion I have known that has gripped me and impacted me so intimately and yet so very violently. Shame is what I have come to both identify and define my Self by. For so very long, I have desperately tried to prove that I wasn’t, yet always fighting the belief that I really was…shameful. Feeling like a fake or an imposter—I attempted new and better courses of action for myself but never really believing I could be any other way. The shame cycle I was familiar with was this; the repeated attempt and failure of attaining worth and love. I would try and fail, try and fail. Convinced my fate was to forever live with the dull familiar ache of that unhealed wounding belief that my love, and therefore my being, were just not ever going to be good enough.
However, as change continues, a much deeper and richer appreciation of these ‘Soul-Self quakes’ has emerged. These happenings were very much like tectonic shifts arising within my consciousness and my soul. Just as a quake catastrophically alters the earth in order to create a new, with every one of these frightening occurrences a new understanding slowly emerged. When the grasping arm reached inside and took hold of me, a kind of release or surrender was now present. I recognized the struggle I was engaging in led directly to the unsteadiness I felt within my body. Even more, I was aware that the struggle was not really about my innate ability nor worth but rather, my unwillingness to surrender. My body literally could not contain both, I had to let go of something. At the time, none of this was logical. It was primitive and seemed to be happening on a cellular level. Unknown to me, this new and strange experience was love. And forgiveness. And, what is the strangest feeling of all…it felt like home. A place I had forgotten I once knew.
Now, my water’s turned to wine….
And, these thoughts I have….
I now can claim as MINE…
I’m coming HOME…
I’ve come to a new understanding about those self-shocks. Those shocks were the excruciating release of the grip I had on those self-limiting definitions of myself. It was the process of allowing something BIGGER than me to be at home within me. I was experiencing LOVE. LOVE as I had never understood it or experienced it before. Although weakened, my armor of shame defended itself against what it interpreted as yet more shame. But, it wasn’t shame at all. In fact, just the opposite. It was love. LOVE calling me home. The waves were folds of LOVE not waves of crashing shame. Rolling itself over and over and over and over me, grasping at me, trying its best to reach me in the only language I knew—the language of shame. Love, as I have now come to know, does that. In fact, LOVE knows each of our native languages and speaks fluently and directly to each of us. Love spoke my shame language and with that, LOVE reached out and poured itself into me. Feeling as though I had no choice I naturally experienced all of it happening TO me. Shaken so very violently, my shame clashed with LOVE, and like a new earth, a new, most beautiful Soul Self was erected. I have been re-created. The thoughts I now have about love and the release of my shame feels refreshingly new and, most importantly, they feel truly mine.
Now’s my curtain has been drawn.
And my heart can go where my heart does Belong.
I’m coming home…
It was LOVE. All the time, EVERY TIME, it was LOVE. But, it is only in hindsight that I am able to recognize it as such. I had never experienced love like that. To me, that felt like shame. But there was more there than just the shame and that something was moving through me and pushing the shame out of me. It was as if I was giving birth to something new. I now know that it was love giving birth to me. The waves that flooded over and over and over me until I could hold on to my old belief of unworthiness no more were slowly surrendered and I gave of myself into…that grasping arm of….LOVE.
Of late I have not experienced one of those Soul-Self quakes as I am experiencing the passing of peace that comes with new understanding. But, as I learn to be at home, in this new place where my heart belongs, I remain open and ready to the Self Soul quakes that are yet to come as new opportunities to experience and understand LOVE.
The intricate process of womanhood is undeniably beautiful and complicated and what it means to be a woman is different for, well, each woman. What does it mean to you to be a woman? How would you describe what it’s like to be a woman? What does it even mean to you to be a woman?
I’ve lost my mind…at least it seems. A woman standing behind me points out my unzipped back pack; ‘Ma’am, you need some help closing that up. You might not want to lose anything in there.’ I politely complied. Moment later, the flight was cancelled. My friend goes into immediate action mode and seems to know exactly what options there are and begins to make decisions about how we can progress. In my freeze response – I don’t. I do, however, notice my feelings of lostness. My feelings of not knowing what to do and looking to others for direction. In that moment, the pattern, the role, the identity, the Me I know myself to be, had revealed herself to remain very present throughout the retreat. It was my ‘Passionately Held Bad Fit’ as it is referred to among us therapists.
My therapeutic approach is Somatic, I believe that for every thought and feeling there is a physical response in the body. Rather than just talking about your issues, you will experience a whole body therapeutic experience. You will learn to identify and connect with your sensations, learn to listen and rebuild trust with your body, experience healing from within and learn to release stress from your body.