Peeling the Layers

Photo by  Fleur  on  Unsplash

Photo by Fleur on Unsplash

Since my mom died last October, a strange and very intense stream of thoughts, judgments, self-doubt, questions, pondering, curiosities, loathing, shame, fascinations, worries, grief has surfaced. I've spend the past several months sorting thought it and I sense that the process will continue for several more weeks.

In the midst of grieving losing my mom, I decided to take a good, hard look at my life as well as my see what was working and what was wasn't, what about my way of doing things felt right and what didn’t. It was time. Plus, it was something I needed to do to have clarity about the next chapter.

As I began to peel the layers away from my experience of the past few years in Asheville, the momentum began to carry me backward through all the major, life altering decisions in my divorce, my marriage, my career choices, my education, my places of residence...ALL OF IT. Each choice point...the crossroads where each decision had occurred came up for review. I felt an intuitive nudge to dive deeply into each one exploring what was happening during that time, how I was feeling about myself and the world, how conscious I was to my circumstances versus how reactive I was,  what mattered most at that time and also the inner motivation behind each decision. 

Wow...I was blown away. I had done so much of this when I was living nomadically, why was it coming up again? Obviously, I needed to examine it again at a much greater depth this time. In fact, though I had examined my past decisions before, I'd never really taken full, deep and total responsibility for those decisions. I'd never full owned them. I imagine this is something people might do on their deathbeds, but for some reason my Higher Self was asking me to do this now. Actually, I don't think I could have handled it until now. Those old stories were necessary props to uphold a certain version of my life. The truth behind the story would have removed those props.

To say this wasn't easy is an understatement. It's been grueling, painful and pretty messy. But there's been no turning away either. I'm ready to face, forgive and love myself for what I didn't know at the time, for being influenced heavily by my family of origin and by the culture surrounding me, and for not pausing long enough to consider the full ramifications of each decision.

One layer is my free spirit. This part of me that loves adventure and change and exploring the edges of things--has been a wonderful blessing AND a HUGE challenge. There have been benefits and there have been tremendous costs.

Another example is my tendency to be an over-giving, care taker who believes she needs to be good and prove her worthiness. This part of me has defined much of what I do in the world, but she's become overdeveloped and inauthentic. I now know that this has to be balanced with self-love and self-care, true authentic giving that comes from the infinite well of unconditional love AND with a big wholehearted willingness to receive (which means asking for what I need).

This is just a sample of some of the layers I've been peeling.

So lots of healing happening and it's not always pretty.  However, clarity and authenticity are worth the pain they take to get there. I'm hoping I'm on the other side of some of the worst of it. There is a lightness of being seeping in. 

Taking ownership of our decisions and our lives is a beautiful, but often painful process. If you stick to the story you've always told yourself and others, you may not notice any invitation lurking there waiting for you to look closer. The real motivation for me came when I realized that my life was not a true reflection of what's inside. Something felt off.

My deepest heart-felt vision of my authentic self still felt just out of reach, and I wanted to know why.

So I dove. And I dove. And I dove. Until I finally began to see repeating patterns, habits and beliefs and how they were driving me, defining me, limiting me. I had essentially put conditions on certain aspects of my life and locked myself into that small version of a life.

Of course from the outside, it may not look small, but from within, it felt cramped and stuffy.

There was not enough room to fully be me. 

And that, for sure, has got to change.

The biggest gift in taking responsibility for ALL aspects of your life is that only you can do something to shift things. You hold the key. You can get help, but you still have to do the messy, uncomfortable work of facing yourself...ideally without a filter. 

This is where the joy lives—the absence of real, ongoing joy and playfulness was my biggest clue and the strongest motivator behind my search for my inner truth. This led to some questions: How did I get here? What's missing? How am I getting in my own way? What's true right now?

It's a journey and parts of it are worth sharing...being vulnerable will help me air out my heart and let some much-needed light in. No more playing it safe. No more hiding. No more slogging through the muck alone.

I'm open. I'm here. I'm raw. I'm ready.

Are you peeling layers? What's true for you right now?