In my last post “Birthing New Beginnings,” I wrote of my resistance to manifesting my ideas into form. When I pondered the resistance, I discovered I had a fear of revisiting the deep trough of sadness I’d experienced a few years back in the form of a broken heart. Here is the continuation of that contemplation.
There is no long story to this. It’s pretty simple really in all its complexity. The bottom line is: I am not afraid of a broken heart. The breaking of my heart is not what caused my protracted misery. What I realize is that my own attachment to the misery, my attachment to the people, story, identity I did not want to release, my refusal to leave the chrysalis and emerge anew was what caused my pain.
There is this voice within that is not so pleasant. Some call it a gremlin, saboteur or inner critic. Others call it the negative ego or distorted voice. Whatever we call it, it still stinks. It is sly, conniving, a shape-shifter and, at times, downright malicious. I have experienced this voice as an energy that comes over me.
I remember sitting at the breakfast counter in a house I was staying in and feeling this energy pummeling me. I was in pain. I was crying. I felt myself a total victim to it. My whole body was contracted and, though I knew it would pass, for the moment I was under its spell.
I remember another time, just getting ready to go to sleep at a beautiful retreat in Punta Mita, Mexico. I could feel the energy hovering over me, ready to come in for the attack. I simply said “No, not this time.” The energy left and I drifted off to a deep and peaceful sleep. It was a pivotal moment for me; one in which I had finally stood up to my negative ego.
Most days, if the negative ego begins to speak to me, I hear it, I recognize it, but I don’t fall under its spell. The only spells I experience are the ones I am so under that I don’t even know it. I am a fish in the waters of the spell. Others may be able to see it, but I don’t, until I do.
This is where contemplation becomes essential. My daily sessions of going within are intended to help me awaken more and more to truth and release myself from the grip of delusion and illusion.
Once I had made the distinction between fearing a broken heart (a normal rite of passage in life) and wallowing in it because of attachments and shadowy archetype reactions, I was able to stumble upon a gem of enlightenment. I say stumble upon, because I was actually out hiking when it hit me and I stopped in my tracks and gasped out loud.
I am not afraid of a broken heart. I am not even afraid of becoming attached to my sadness. What I am afraid of, that which is trying to spook me, is my own self-loathing. I saw it. My negative ego is powerful only in direct proportion to my own self-loathing and my willingness to be mean to myself.
(note: I notice that after I wrote that last sentence, I got up and went to do a load of laundry. It’s not easy sitting with the fact that I have and experience self-loathing.)
It was my delusions of worthlessness, and of being unlovable that took me down. Those delusions had me grasping for identities, people and things to earn and somehow give to me worth and love. I was under the horrific notion that I could fill those needs out there in people, things and doings. (Yes, we all do it and that does not make it any less horrific.) It’s a downward spiral. Once the negative ego had me, the self-loathing led to more of the same.
What stopped me in my tracks was not so much the discovery of the truth beneath the ruse, but the simultaneous liberation that accompanied it. I don’t loathe myself anymore, not like that. I don’t despise myself so much that I am willing to tolerate days of misery bullied by my negative ego.
For over a year, I have faithfully practiced the “I Love You” exercise I made up and wrote about in an earlier post. I have found and used my nurturing parent voice. (thanks to Lucid Living) I have rewritten my story, forgiven others and most importantly, myself. In truth, my heart has cracked as widely open with joy as it has with pain.
I love myself and this life I am living. And I trust myself. This is the crux of the discovery.
I trust myself not to create protracted pain for myself from a place of self-loathing.
I trust myself to laugh at my foibles, to lean into the support of friends and unseen allies.
I trust myself to be nurturing, kind and loving to myself and others.
I trust myself to speak honestly to others and myself and to be compassionate rather than rescuing or demeaning.
I’m still on that journey. I’m still learning and growing. There are more illusions to dispel. I trust myself every step of the way. If a big wind comes and knocks me sideways, I trust myself to love myself through it. I know I will find my footing again.
This is the celebration, the return at the end of my Hero’s Journey; this particular journey within the broader journey. Because I now know that I love and trust myself, I also celebrate, honor and respect myself. In so doing, I also celebrate, honor and respect others and all of life. I celebrate the miracle of life and the miracle that is me. I am aware of the preciousness of life, of breath and the wonder of the human spirit.
This self-loathing piece is slippery. When I look in the mirror and I catch myself thinking mean things about how I’m aging, how my body is changing; when I look around my office and berate myself for the disorganization; I know I am being unkind. There are times when my desire to improve myself mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually, is not truly generated from love. It is born of a lack of self-acceptance, of conditional if-then love and comparing myself with others or with commercial standards.
Here’s how I can tell the difference.
If there is a resonance of self-loathing, I have resistance. A duality of imprisonment and over-indulgence takes shape in my behaviors. It shows up in statements that begin with words like “I must, I need, I should, I deserve, I’ve earned” and it feels really hard which leaves me feeling really entitled. My energy is depleted.
If I am celebrating the miracle of life and living, I have no resistance to taking exquisite care of myself in all of my practices be they mental, physical, spiritual or emotional. If I am loving myself, it feels clean, good, honest and true to exercise and eat right; to clean my home and even to say no to someone’s request of me. My energy is replenished and vital.
I like to imagine consciousness having created each of us from an urge for a unique expression. Now, as that unique expression manifested into form, consciousness marvels at itself, through us and through our senses.
I choose to celebrate.
My mantra for the week has been to ask “How is this celebrating the miracle of me?”
I offer it to you as a practice:
How is this next action, this thought, these words you are about to speak celebrating the miracle of life and the miracle of you?
You are amazing!
copyright(c) February 2010, Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved
Put on your dancing shoes. Here’s a little song for you:
I’m Amazing by Keb’ Mo’ (Keep it Simple) (written by Keb’ Mo’ and Robbie Brooks) Samples on the site.
(sometimes the word “true” appears as “drue.”)