Rainbows and puppies. Unicorns and butterflies. Rose colored glasses. Life’s just peachy.
Some time ago, that was me. Always looking at the “bright side”, being “positive” and having a half-glass-full attitude! No matter what the challenge, I kept looking for the silver lining in every grey cloud. This by no means was a graceful act. It was exhausting. Imagine being tortured into looking like you are happy? Hiding your scars and smiling, pretending nothing hurts? Scratching and clawing while desperate for freedom from the pain, and no one knows.
I had spent so much energy on “keeping it together” because that’s what I understood being an adult, mature and responsible meant. I had the belief that in order to be successful I had to push everything negative, bad or faulty in my life aside, or way, way down, and never expose my pain or my flaws. Put up and shut up, that was the motto and plan. However false, keep my head held up high, like I had everything under control, even though on the inside an inevitable implosion was around the corner. The “fake it till you make it” mantra wasn’t quite working for me.
And then one day, at my first retreat in 1997 a beautiful thing happened – I fell apart. It was gruesome, it was bloody, it was fierce. The shackles came off and there was a cathartic emotional explosion. The biggest gift I received over twenty years ago – I found myself again. But it was only by facing the truth, the ugly truth, the pain and the grief. Not by hiding from it. I did not know that I had to fall apart to find the best of me, my authentic self. I had spent so much energy “keeping it together”, but it was the falling apart that was key to my healing, recovery, and transformation.
For so long we have been taught that being positive and braving our trauma and setbacks are the hallmark of happiness. And while being optimistic surely is a catalyst for recovery, there is a fine line when a “positive attitude” can, in reality, be our escape from feeling everything, it enables denial, keeping us from seeing the truth and will inevitably prolong our suffering as we stay stuck in what is not true about us and our lives.
Recently I dusted off a few of my old notebooks and discovered the profound old wisdom and teachings I started with over twenty years ago. I am humbled to see that those teachings still hold true. I feel so blessed for all the teachers and mentors I have had.
There is much happening in the world today, more than ever before, where women and some men, but especially women, are finding their voices to speak about their past. Whether it was sexual harassment, assault, abuse, molestation, or rape. Women are speaking the unspeakable. The #metoo movement is here to stay for a while. The time to vent the pent-up anger, pain, shame and blame has arrived. I know the feeling. I had my #metoo several years ago before #metoo was a thing. And that’s ok. I am glad to see so many others rising, finding their voice, baring their hearts and ready to heal.
I think we would agree that when we live our lives with unresolved pasts, we are primed and set up for disappointment and depression. We might embark on a quest for peace and find a self-help book or two that teach various stress management techniques, or guided imagery, or meditation, hypnosis or affirmations. We might even establish a spiritual practice or kick off a health conscious and holistic lifestyle. However, oftentimes what happens, as it happened with yours truly, is that unless the root cause of suffering is addressed, the old stinkin’ thinkin’ undoubtedly rears its ugly head and over and over again.
What I see with the #metoo movement now is that while we are baring our souls and calling the perpetrators out, acknowledging our pasts, our pain and wounds, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This is step 1. Now the healing can begin. I have experienced personally that staying stuck in a sea of negative emotion is like rotting in acid, punishing yourself.
Has that ever happened to you? You think you have closed the book on an experience in your life and all of a sudden, something triggers you and you can’t understand how that could be? After all, you had buried it and left it all behind? You followed all the self-help steps to fix the problem, did the meditations, and repeatedly chanted the affirmations? Why do some people still go into a state of hopelessness and helplessness? Why do they become resigned and cynical or worse depressed and even suicidal?
That was me for many years of my life. Until I discovered that unless I heal the root cause of my pain and suffering the old entrenched thought patterns will keep repeating themselves. It was a spiral that was exhausting and I so desperately wanted to get out of it but didn’t know how until I learned a way to release the past.
We must find our next movement, and I have no doubt what that is. #metoo.2.0 is needed, and I am gearing up to “come out” with it soon.
Someone recently commented to me that I was “way ahead of my time” with my next book, “The Essential Self”. I was really mad at first, but in truth, it also really sparked within me a desire to share the limitless possibilities of healing and transformation even more. I am really clear now more than ever that I choose to be cause in the matter of peace, love, and forgiveness. I consciously and deliberately choose to release the pain, anger, and shame of my past. I have practiced these tools for over twenty years and I am finally ready to share this.
Who is with me? Stay tuned, you are going to fall in LOVE with this. That’s a promise. In next weeks blog, I’m going to ask you to join me in discovering your personal portal to permanent healing. And I’ll share my favorite and most irresistible F word with you!
Until next time, may this pause be with you…!!!