How Do We Know When Things Are Shifting?
You know it’s funny… Sometimes we really have no idea how much something inside has shifted, until we are presented with a like situation and are able to witness the difference in our actions, reactions, or often even lack thereof. I experienced that recently, and I’m excited! I’m also humbled and extremely grateful to recognize an enormous area of past struggle for me is shifting.
There Was Something Very Different About This Day’s Experience
A while back, I discovered a facebook page (Daniel Neilsen – Yes, by all means check him out!) that I honestly haven’t stopped thinking about. It captivated me because as a writer, this particular page was filled with script that sang to the depths of my being. I have such tremendous respect for and energetic draw to well articulated emotion, especially when it’s written in such a deeply moving way. I’d seen and poured over his posts so many times before, yet there was something more to my experience this day. I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the time, but I woke the next morning smiling. I realized I knew EXACTLY what it was that was different, and why I had great reason to celebrate.
This particular page was one wholly dedicated to engendering passion, growth, depth, and spirituality, all as it relates to being in and sharing a loving, awakened relationship. As I viewed the pictures, I don’t think anyone I know could refer to them as anything but yearnful. They envisioned that long sought after, shared passion that most would have to admit cries from the heart of every living being. Those impressions, beautifully paired with deeply seeded, thought provoking text, were meant to not only challenge current perceptions, but also reveal truth and the often uncomfortable idea of vulnerability and emotional nakedness. They truly grasped at my core, as they seemed to do for most who had viewed them and made comments. What was so different this time around though? Why did these move me so much more today than they had prior, yet in a far different way, that evoked a response from within that I had never experienced before?
As I scrolled through meme after meme, soaking in every aspect of what was being conveyed, I also read each and every comment the posts drew, and believe me, there were many! A large percentage seemed to arouse that emotional cry, that hopefully, they would be lucky enough to find something just like that down the road. That has always been the same type of response something of this nature would have elicited in me. An unsettledness, a yearning for more, and a potential dim hope that just maybe, I could stumble upon it and finally find some semblance of happiness!
Understanding From A Different State Of Being
For probably the first time in my life though, I saw myself reading from a different state of being. Not that long ago, I would have pined away at the thought of having what appeared to be such perfection, yet I would have been looking from a state of lack. Almost envious, slightly jaded even, wondering why I had never found such, and imagining just how perfect having this “romanticized mate” would be. I would have been considering how something so marvelous would certainly change my life and level of contentment and happiness! I realized this particular morning that was not the place I was coming from this time around. I didn’t feel envy stinging at my core. I wasn’t experiencing the lack of what I didn’t have, but desperately wanted, biting at my heels as I usually would have.
Wholeness, Fullness, And Contentment Are An Inside Job
What I noticed as I read each piece, rather than sadness, I smiled and heart was warmed. Rather than experiencing those all too common feelings of longing for something to meet those emotional needs from within, instead there was the realization that nothing from the outside can ever do that. NOTHING! Emotional wholeness, fullness, contentment, and a complete acceptance and love for myself was the only thing that could provide that, and could THEN allow me to fully experience the love of another. It’s a 100% inside job and can in no way be influenced or even more remotely changed by outside forces, no matter how wonderful they might appear! This time there was understanding and not longing, joy and not sadness. There was no feeling of being incomplete. What I mostly felt was gratitude that I was seeing things clearly with eyes wide open, apart from emotional interference and a need to be needed! That, my friends, is cause for celebration!
The Flaw In Seeking Happiness
So many of us go through our entire lives seeking that which we feel will bring us happiness. Whether that be financial success, fame, and/or being deeply loved, none of these change the contentment and joy we can only construct from within. We were created with a tremendous capacity for love, both in giving and receiving, yet somewhere along the path those lines have become blurred and seriously corrupted. There’s a common misconception that if we could just be deeply loved by another, that it could transform all that is wrong, and our everything would change. It’s a romantic notion, and I’m definitely the proverbial romantic, but how’s that really working for us?
Programs Running In The Background
We often wrestle within ourselves to determine our worth and worthiness of love. More often than not, that wrestling isn’t even done on a conscious level. It’s like checking out the task manager on your laptop. Things are really running slow and wonky, so you open it up to find your CPU is 95% busy chewing data from programs running in the background, that you likely didn’t even know were running! Such is our subconscious! So much of what we believe about ourselves and others has been deeply engrained from our early formative years, and is programming that runs silently in our background. What we say we believe vs. what truly lies below that subconscious belief system about ourselves and others is spanned by a tremendous chasm. We typically gauge those values based on our perceived beliefs about how we feel others view us. It’s a little undercover paranoia going on, that plays interesting roles in our behavior and protection of our thoughts and heart. It’s really no more than a projection of what we really think and believe about ourselves, yet it seems so much more believable when we can place it on someone else, and convince ourselves it’s the view of another. Funny how we do that! These others, who are no more or less worthy than we ourselves are, and have no moral rights nor typically interest in our judgment, seem (at least in our own minds) to shine forth this all-encompassing judgment we so readily and willingly believe without question. It’s the beginning of our downhill snowball of self-esteem and worthiness of love, whether that be God’s, our own, or the love of another.
Hiding Our Imperfections
In response, we therefore fashion a beautiful mask, exquisitely detailed, to hide what we feel could be those perceived imperfections that surely no one besides us must have. Masks can be quite telling. How we wear them, when we wear them, and in front of whom, if any, are we willing to take them off? It’s like being a great actor on the stage, only constantly in a role that never ends and has no breaks. I don’t know about anyone else, but in my case, it was utterly exhausting! I was great at wearing the mask. Better than most I think, as I had even convinced myself in the role. Beliefs about ourselves, whether conscious, subconscious, factual or not, become behaviors, which become habits, which become lifestyles of falsehoods, all orchestrated for the eventual outcome of protection, and therefore heart separation. It’s all good, we tell ourselves. These roles, responses, emotions, and rigidity have been practiced so many times, we can play the parts in our sleep, in auto-pilot, and so we do… again, and again, and again! Interestingly enough, we often play the same movie rolls over and over, the only things changing is the leading characters and supporting actors.
There Are Only Two Things In This life… Love And A Lack Thereof
There are two things in this life… LOVE and a lack thereof. All of that “lack thereof” was most of what my life consisted of until recently, and it was all driven by fear. I wish I had known and understood that PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR, but I think that’s one of those things we learn from within and through our own experiences. Sadly, it’s not something we can glean from the failed experiences of others. If so, I would have already taught my children well so they’d never hurt again! When so much of our life is spent in the mask, playing the role, with the objective being protection of a very wounded and vulnerable heart, it’s impossible to experience life in any fullness.
Until We Feel Safe, We Cannot Learn Or Enjoy
I teach behavior modification quite often and one thing I always try to explain to parents of children who have anxiety disorders is as long as they are in high adrenaline, fight or flight mode (AKA – FEAR), they’re not teachable. There’s a switch in the brain that flips on during those periods of fight or flight that only allow us to consider 3 options… FIGHT, RUN, or FREEZE! This never has been, nor will it ever become a time when we can solve complex problems and have those teachable moments. Until one FEELS SAFE, and the anxiety and fear have subsided, not only can they not learn in their environment, but they miss almost every red flag along the way warning of danger. They also completely miss any enjoyable experiences as well. They can only concentrate on self-preservation, until that switch can be turned off again.
Common False Beliefs – We Are So Not Alone In These Thoughts
Close to 50 years of all kinds of fear (fear of rejection, fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being inadequate – and the list goes on) rendered me powerless and fully incapable of even seeing glimpses of the awesome individual I truly was. It also prevented me from seeing that everyone else surrounding me was dealing with the exact same issues, just no one was talking about it. You know, our masks were just way too pretty! It’s interesting how we view ourselves, our issues, and we convince ourselves we’re alone. No one else deals with these problems, right? I mean just think, if anyone really knew what went through my head on a daily basis, they’d lock me up and throw away the key! BUT THAT’S JUST NOT TRUTH! These are such common false beliefs.
We Aren’t What Happens To Us
We stuff our emotions deep and heavily compacted, hoping to never deal with their surfacing again, but they always return. Emotions are buoyant! They’re meant to be experienced (whether good or bad), acknowledged, learned from, and then released… not packed down like sardines that with time and heat really begin to create a tumultuous, stinky environment! It’s miserable for us, but not really something anyone else wants to be around either. When we finally realize that what happens to us isn’t who we are and doesn’t define us, but can be a tool to help shape who we become, it’s an awakening, eye opening, often life changing experience.
Our Perceived Flaws Are Really Only Our Future Growth Experiences
I’m awake! I’m free! I feel, and that no longer scares the bejesus out of me! I care far more about my own integrity and how I challenge myself to expand, than I do what anyone else thinks about me. But oh my friends… the freedom that comes with that is not only liberating, it allows me to release expectation, both from myself, as well as from others. It allows me to release fear. It gives me the freedom to be myself, which I’m learning is a pretty cool thing! Part of what comes with that freedom is then being able to look at what I once thought were flaws that needed to be masked, and now being able to see them as part of my journey and maturation process that has yet to be experienced. I can stand back now and see them as they are with no threat, only awareness of future growth to come, and an excited expectation of what that growth process will then lead me to when completed. We become dimensional. Instead of seeking people and things now to fill what I once considered misunderstood voids and vacuums that left me feeling uncomfortable and incomplete (which was unacceptable in a role where perfection was the plumb line), I totally dig that there are parts of me that remain unfinished! Do you know what that means? It means I’m very OK in the space that I currently occupy! It means I don’t “need” anything or anyone to complete me, as I’m complete in myself and within God! It’s a feeling I can’t even being to explain, but it’s awesome, and the absolute opposite of fear or worry or anxiety of any kind. It’s just BEING. Being here, being present, looking at every single thing that I encounter in my day and asking, “I wonder what awesomeness can come from this, and what I’m supposed to learn that’s just going to add one more layer of depth and dimension to what is already blowing my mind in an amazing way?” You know what? Life has become FUN! It’s become enriching and encouraging and uplifting, almost every single day! I mean get real, we all have a bad day here and there, right? My gratitude list is seriously HUGE! What’s interesting, is the larger that list grows, and the more I choose to engage it, the more things I’m given to add to it! It also means because I’m awake and aware, the unfolding of what remains undone becomes a celebration of a new aspect of my life, rather than an anxiety attack about what might possibly pop up and how that would impact the perception others have of me. What a HUGE shift!
Our Happiness Is Not Dependent On Any Outside Force
I can honestly say before I was looking FOR someone or something to make my life better. Now my life is better, and I’m in need of none of those things. It certainly doesn’t mean I don’t want friends or eventual companionship, but what it does mean is my happiness and existence is not dependent upon any other outside force. That takes the pressure off of me and anyone else who may come into my life, and allows us to just BE, to just enjoy, and to just experience. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Surface Things Just Don’t Matter
The other beautiful aspect is that it removes fear, so the mask can not only be removed, it can now be burned! No longer feeling the need to meet the approval of others is a lovely thing! I know who I am. I know whose I am. I know what an incredible source of passion and love I am. That’s not being conceited, it’s being aware and beyond humbled and grateful that God has granted me the ability to see these things for the first time in my life. At deeper levels of love, the surface things I spent the majority of my life stressing about just don’t matter. With time and age, the superficial fades, but the depths of the heart only grow deeper, stronger, and more fully engrained in the path of truth.
There Is Far More To Life
So why do I share all this? Because I wish someone had shared it with me. I want others to know there is more, far before they turn 50. I want others to know they are NOT alone and contrary to what every fiber of many of your beings might be screaming, that it’s not only ok, it’s preferable to take off those damn masks and start wandering through the journey of finding out who you really are. The beauty here is that no two of us are alike, so there’s not really a standard to judge against. If you’re uncomfortable in that because you’re new to this and don’t know quite who you are yet, GREAT! Be uncomfortable. That’s OK! Be awkward! That’s ok too! There’s a whole range of deep and intimate emotions I’m learning we as humans have cut ourselves off from, to protect our hearts and minds. START FEELING! Just be! Take each day as it comes, which allows us to not fret about what’s already past, nor be anxious about what’s ahead, but just live in this little moment. If you can’t yet do just one day at a time, try one hour at a time! If that’s too much, try 5 minutes! We all have to start somewhere. Just remember, sometimes the most impactful things that happen are the shifts in our awareness and perceptions of truth, that allow us to see things differently, and later act on them in ways that better serve us and those around us!
Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby