Do you ever wonder when the healing will end? When we will cease to be triggered? When childhood wounds will finally dissipate allowing us to shine bright and share our uniqueness with life? Do you ever ask yourself – when you will love yourself in just being, here and now?
I found myself reflecting on these questions a few months back during a weekend yoga and mindfulness training; I realized that, in my own personal development, there was still much work left to do - as there is for most of us. Perhaps the difference being the awareness and level of consciousness acquired to deconstruct, process and heal myself.
It was during that training last fall that I became aware that I had lost my sense of play – my sense of freedom to just be, to love myself in my truest rawest form, in my authentic state – unapologetically. To accept that in just being, I was enough.
You see, over the years, I had imposed so much responsibility, so much pressure and expectation on myself to be my best version, to take care of others whether in my professional life, or my personal life, to be of service, and carry out my purpose. I lacked balance. I was taking on way more than I could handle, and I didn’t know how to stop; ‘there is just so much to do and so little time’ I would tell myself. My daughter's father would often sing to me 'you do it to yourself, you do', a song by Radiohead, making fun of me, lovingly. I had lost my ability to slow down and be present – accept that to take a weekend to heal and be with myself in silence was a right that I had to give myself if I needed it. That prioritizing my healing and rejuvenation would serve my children more than if I chose not to honor myself and thus not have the capacity to show for them in the way they needed it most.
Although, I have been working diligently on myself for decades, meditating, reading, educating myself, shedding layer after layer of inner child wounds, conditioning, limiting belief systems and old programming – I was still judging myself, and still feared the judgment of others.
As my turn came up in training, to share deep parts of myself in circle, to share my pain, to be vulnerable – I felt myself go into panic mode; heart racing, anxiety building, fight or flight. It only took a few seconds for the tears to start coming down, uncontrollably. I realized in this moment that this wasn’t the first time that my body responded in this way when being asked to share myself deeply with a group of individuals. I was always the one people came to, not the one sharing. It was uncomfortable, to have all eyes on me, listening to my every word. A share that couldn't have been rehearsed, a share that was in the moment. I began to see a pattern – my 10-year-old self was shaking at the thought of being the centre of attention, of putting myself at risk of ridicule; my pre-teenage self was afraid of how I would be viewed, judged, perceived - that people would now 'see' me, completely open and bare.
My teacher tuned into my fear of being vulnerable and took it one step further, asking me to share more, to open up more – she went as far as to ask me to stand up, and allow myself to let go, and dance freely to a song she’d put on, again with all eyes on me. Although this is what I would have considered my worst nightmare, it was actually a powerful, liberating and life changing moment.
In those few minutes, I became aware of so many things - that I was taking myself too seriously and needed to play, dance, have more fun. My body was tense, frozen in place, unable to dance like the woman I could see in my mind’s eye as I stood there in front of the group. My teacher was intuitive and had put me right back in a place that had deeply wounded me as a child, where I was ridiculed in front of the class, time and time again, by my teachers for forgetting my lines, or being unable to answer a question - being in a state of fight or flight. She recreated this moment as a means to reverse my experience to one of love, acceptance and non-judgment. To one that felt safe. To one that I began to enjoy, not fear.
Once I’d completely released my fear and embraced the moment, moving with ease and being present to the music and the energy it was expressing through me, the teacher gracefully asked the group to share how my vulnerability had helped heal something in them. That was a powerful revelation for me – just how much my words, my fears, my imperfections could have such a significant impact on those in the group. This, was an ah-ha moment for me. Liberating. It was in this moment that I became aware that being unapologetically me, was enough - that in fact, it was beautiful.
Facing my fears that day was life altering.
I realized in that moment that allowing myself to show strength through vulnerability and through my own humanity was powerful. I realized that in being human, raw, and real – we are of service to others' healing by voicing the things they didn’t say that needed to be brought to their attention; that in being vulnerable, we show incredible strength - to speak freely, share our wisdom, our uniqueness, and share with others who we truly are.