A few weeks ago, I spent three days in conversation with five other women. During the course of those few days, I had two epiphanies.
The first one was that, for most of my life, I’ve not felt heard. For me, it always felt like me stating my point of view while everyone else had tuned me out so my words came out sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Or others were unable to understand what I was trying to say and did not want to put forth the effort to even try to get the gist of it – like trying to do that with me was more effort than it was worth. So I would keep on talking and get louder and louder as I did so. To be clear about that realization and to state it in the company of others and to know that I was heard was very important for me.
The second epiphany occurred on our last day together. We had talked the day before about how we are a species of story tellers and how, too often, we allow our past to determine our present and our future. As the discussion unfolded, I knew that when I allowed myself to devolve into story and relive past memories, I was pulled back into the energy of that moment. And I got it that, in doing that, I was backing into my future and dragging my past along with me. No wonder I always felt like Jacob Marley!
On that last day, and holding all that I had come to understand about mySelf the day before, I took ownership of a very dark place inside myself which had been unknown to me until that morning. I owned out loud to mySelf and the others in the room that I had spent my life running away from my fear and that I had judged myself to be a coward. I had hidden that by becoming a bully – monolithic and intimidating and loud and pushy. I had always called myself a force to be reckoned with and, that morning, I got it that what I truly was was a bully. That was my strategy to hide my fear and attempt to manage and control it. I know that, as I was growing up, there was genius in adopting that strategy and I know that I can lose it now. Stating what was lying underneath everything and that I had locked away and owning it to mySelf out loud and in the light of day made that possible for me.
It’s easy to take ownership of those things about ourselves which we like – the aspects of ourselves that we work to support and which we create and manifest experiences to sustain. And we either choose not to or are unable to acknowledge the dark spaces which are also a part of who we are. And in doing that, we really are lying to ourselves – denying our truth.
It’s difficult to take ownership of the richness of who we are when we are not open to knowing our darkness or when we judge ourselves as lacking or wrong or bad. We come to fear the dark areas which are part of who we are – our dark side, so to speak. I know that has been true for me. And I know that I’ve worked so hard to try and fix the things about me which I didn’t like – my temper and impatience and fear. I know that, in my attempt to make me all better, I tried to not do the strategies I had which all mapped to that fear and temper. I wasn’t able to own the fullness of mySelf as a godforce because I spent my life running away from my fear. I devoted my energy and resourcefulness to that. I know now that the I AM that I AM was slowly dying inside. I was being held to the turmoil I felt inside and which I strived to ignore.
In being able to find the words to say what I had come to know about mySelf and in being willing to say what I had discovered about me out loud in that company of women I set mySelf free. I no longer feel pressed to be careful about what I say and do. What I manifest in my life – the people and events are opportunities to choose from a much different place than I have ever felt before. They’re an invitation. I can choose to spend my days in inquiry which is so very different from having to prove myself over and over – each and every day to myself and to the world outside. In owning all of the I AM that I AM, I have taken hold of mindful and meaningful creation. I now choose to name it, claim it, own it, and create.
The very best of me has surfaced for me. Now I feel strong and grounded and powerful and real and intense and passionate and full.
There is power in claiming the fullness of who you are – the dark and the light without judgement or side, without thoughts of ‘good/bad’ or ‘right/wrong’. It’s never too late or too soon to choose to do that for yourSelf. You’ll be amazed at what you come to know about yourSelf. To paraphrase Francis Bacon, in order for your light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present. And you do not need to fear it.
And since my life is a song, I’m choosing to finish this with the beginning lyrics of a song I’ve always enjoyed – the hope and brightness and lightness of it.
I Can See Clearly Now
I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sunshiny day.