Process of Illumination

Old Story, New Ending

This week I’d like to talk about good stuff.

Things have really shifted for me lately and I’m noticing a profound and seamless change in me. I know it didn’t happen overnight and nobody knows better than me how much hard work and soul searching I’ve done to get to this place but it still feels miraculous to me to be feeling the way I do after experiencing such a “dark night of the soul” only weeks ago. Somewhere during that time, my story changed. Not the details of the story but my interpretation of it.

I’ve never studied “A Course in Miracles” but I have heard Marianne Williamson talk about it. I have a vivid memory of driving in my car and listening to her show on Oprah’s satellite radio channel many years ago when she shared ACIM’s definition of a miracle. She quoted:

“There is no order of difficulty among miracles. One is not ‘harder’ or ‘bigger’ than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.” Then, she went on to say that a miracle is a “shift in perception,” or a change in the way that we feel and think. That was an a-ha moment for me. I’ve been describing miracles that way ever since.

So, if this shift feels miraculous, that’s because it is. I’ve had a shift in perception about my story. The same story I’ve been telling for my entire life. If that isn’t miraculous, I don’t know what is

You have heard me talk about sometimes feeling overwhelmed by my responsibilities and wishing there was a “knight in shining armour” to come and rescue me or, more realistically, a love partner who will step in and share my burden when it becomes too much to bear. You have followed my process as I have excavated the shame and the wounded parts of myself so that I could have a better understanding of my suffering and what to do to help myself feel better. You have (literally) watched me as I experimented, on camera, with vulnerability and faced my shame. You have been my witnesses, my cheerleaders, my advocates and my advisors and, whether you realize it or not, you have been an integral part in helping me remain accountable to myself. The gratitude I feel for having had all of you on this journey with me is beyond what words could capture. I’m not sure I would have come so far, so fast if I had not had you as an audience.

Where am I going with this?

I just feel SO grateful and SO much BETTER! And I’ve learned SO MUCH. Telling my story as authentically as I have has taken a lot of courage and, starting out, I had no idea what would happen when I did. There were no guarantees that anybody would be interested in hearing what I had to say, let alone relate to it or be inspired by it. I took a huge risk and what I discovered is that there were all these people who were there to catch me when I fell. But the most important person I found there, at the end of the day, wading through the swamp with me, was me. Along the way, I was learning how to be there for myself.

When I said I wanted an adult partner to share my life with, I hadn’t yet learned how to share my life with other adults. I didn’t know how to ask for what I needed and when I tried, I failed at it because I was still resentful and ashamed about my childhood circumstances and deep down, I really didn’t believe I would get what I needed anyway.  What’s more, I didn’t even feel I deserved it.

No wonder I was suffering.

What I’ve discovered is that, when you make space to love yourself by choosing not to drag around so much baggage and clearing away the cobwebs left behind from your old wounds, patterns and beliefs and the shame that comes with them, asking for what you need becomes pretty obvious and simple. When I was still telling myself the old story about how “nobody is there for me” I was sending out a conflicting vibration to the very thing I was longing for and therefore the universe had no idea what to give me (so it gave me a bit of both). And even worse, I was telling myself a lie, despite all the evidence to contrary, and I believed it! That, folks, is the power of the unconscious mind. If you tell it something often enough and for long enough it becomes an embedded belief, even if it makes absolutely no rational sense or is in conflict with what you say you want on a conscious level.

It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to see that maybe there was a different way to tell the story that I began to see that it had a happy ending all along.

As I look back on myself as a young girl, before all the “bad stuff” happened, I am now able to connect with her again. She, like everything else in the universe, still exists on some plane, and yet, for so long, I chose to focus on the slightly older, wounded version of “me” whom I felt needed more help. That makes perfect sense because her situation was very real and very desperate so I understand why I felt I needed to protect her. But, at the same time I was missing the fact that the other “me” was “adapting”. She was growing up, becoming independent, resilient, savvy, compassionate and wise. She followed her dreams, raised a family and started a career and a journey of self-discovery. She was a good person, who was making mistakes but trying her best to learn from them. By many people’s standards, she was doing great things. Even though I was aware of her consciously and living my life through her, on an unconscious level, I paid very little attention to her and her value. I didn’t show her the appreciation she deserved and I didn’t even notice the parts of her she had disowned along the way (such as artistic expression, sexuality, health body image and self-care) because she believed she wasn’t worthy enough to embody them. I didn’t give her what she needed. I took her for granted.

And, therefore, so did a lot of other people.

Because I was so busy protecting the younger, wounded “me”, I let the other “me” give too much of herself, try too hard to be “superwoman” and take on the role of “fixer” of everybody else’s problems. Eventually, she became so depleted and felt so responsible for everything that she just couldn’t take it anymore. In my unconscious effort to “save” that younger, wounded “me” (and the versions of the people who were originally there with her) I had abandoned the “real” me.

But not anymore.

Yes, that wounded version of me still exists, but meeting her needs is no longer what’s unconsciously motivating me. Being able to see her as a part of my story and not the story has allowed me to shift my focus back to the other “me”, whom I’ve neglected for so long. This me, is the “whole”, integrated me. The adult me. The healthy me. The “real” me. This “me” knows her value and appreciates her complexity. This me is patient with herself and is no longer afraid to prioritize her own needs over others’ wherever necessary. This “me” can easily and kindly ask for what she wants, with no underlying resentment or shame because she chooses to see the entire picture and will not allow herself to be defined or limited by any one aspect of it.

This me practices Self-Love and, because she does, she feels more loved and supported now than she ever has before.

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