I wish this self-reflection stuff was easier but I’m gonna pat my self on the back for making it a priority. So I’m a work in progress and I have a dark side. But I don’t allow this to overwhelm me too often, because I have to accept that darkness is a part of me. So I need to shine my light into the darkness and make it less intense. My light is full of love, joy, silliness and appreciation for people and my life. I sense gratitude a lot more these days since my soul travels started. But arrogance creeps in and I feel a sense of false importance and find myself being judgmental.
Am I really doing the man in the ticket booth a favor by saying hi? But if I smile at him and look into his eyes to connect for a moment, our exchange adds to my life. If I give him a compliment and tell him his hair is beautiful I get that little look of surprise and then his smile instantly grows. An interchange of positive energy occurs and we’ve both benefitted because I took the time to really look and observe. I made a small difference.
We have built very slim connections with our neighbors, as our houses are far enough apart that we don’t really have to. Yes again the dark selfish side of me pops up. Last week, I was discussing getting older with a neighbor who is a knowledgeable holistic nutritionist. Yet in general our interaction has been minimal other than my son still wears clothes that her teen grew out of and I am very grateful for them.
She explained her worries about wrinkles and dry skin. She told me I didn’t have any wrinkles. I’m blessed, thank you Mom and Dad for my oily, kind skin. It’s kind because it hasn’t given in to gravity yet and my wrinkles are minimal.
I felt a stronger connection with my neighbor when I said, “I don’t see any wrinkles, I only see your radiant smile.”
And it’s true, she has an amazing smile. Aren’t smiles awesome?
It’s a little sad that she focuses on the negative force of aging and not on the positive. If we routinely think about the bad then that’s what we’ll receive from the universe. She carried a sense of loss and lack instead of appreciating the abundance we have.
I know how that place of scarcity looks and feels unfortunately.
I’m the biggest negative thinking hypocrite that’s out there at times. Years ago, I was once asked at an interview if I was a glass-half-empty person. I’d never even thought about this concept. I’d been a nurse, a teacher, a daughter, sister, friend and lover by this stage in my life. I’d taken on all these roles and never once thought about this idea. Wow! There’s no surprise that the rigors of nursing nearly tore my soul apart. I obviously hadn’t been doing a particularly great job in any of my life roles. My relationship with my family, who are loving and supportive, wasn’t really much to write home about. I lived separately in England and rarely visited Ireland. I’d run away in the hope that I would be happier. But being a glass-half-empty kinda gal back then, and seeing life as only black or white, I didn’t notice that running didn’t work. I chose to dwell in the dark and succumbed to its gloom and kept making bad decisions. I needed my soul journey.
Part of my soul journey involves seeing a therapist, she reminds me of my favorite aunt way back when I was a kid. We talk each week and she asked me to start listening to my heart and recognize my feelings. I still don’t like myself much when I’m in the dark. I realize that I can be totally disconnected from my feelings and don’t think about my heart and soul. They tend to get lost in an abandoned ghost town. Yes I’m a drama queen too.
When people are in so much despair and don’t connect with themselves or others, suicide seems the only answer. That is the sad state of the world. Men in particular find it hard to be authentic and really connect with others and their feelings. Society has many faults and the expectation that men and women shouldn’t show their emotions is inhuman.
The therapist encouraged me to write about my feelings and hug the life out of my vulnerable parts. In doing so I’ve come to appreciate that the running away from my pain is pointless as the person I am trying to avoid connecting with is ME and I can’t run from ME.
Is it okay to be my authentic self? One of the most important parts of me that I’ve tried to reject is my sexuality and this is an awkward topic to say the least. Should I continue to bear the burden of guilt that my religious background gave me as a gift? The church and my older relations encouraged me to reject my sexual being. “Sex is bad” was a very loud and clear message blasted through a foghorn.
So the pressure of not being authentic built up over time and my sexuality exploded out of me at inappropriate moments, especially in my twenties and it’s now affecting me in my late forties as I face menopause. My sexual drive can become a controlling and powerful entity, which has caused me to regret my actions afterwards. These whirlwind, self-destructive moments have chipped away at my self-worth. I transformed my sexuality into a dark force.
That’s how I lived before my soul journey.
To this day I’ve tried to heal and forgive myself for sexual abuse that occurred in my childhood. I talked to people about how it terrified me, left me feeling unsafe and untrusting towards men. But all the talking and angry outbursts didn’t help.
It takes time to accept that crap happens in your life and that it wasn’t your fault. I survived, I’m definitely scarred emotionally, and growing up during a raging civil war in Northern Ireland didn’t help either. But I’m fine and unscathed physically. By declaring this in my blog it’s kind of an official letting go of the guilt I bear. This is not part of dinner conversation but I think it bloody well should be.
So I’m in the process of embracing my sexuality and balancing it with my fear and mistrust. I realize that the only person who can heal me is me of course. I’m not good at cradling that young child in me, who never felt truly safe again. I keep saying hi and give her an imaginary squeeze and I need to add in a tickle or two. I keep saying to myself I am enough, a mantra courtesy of Maya Angelo and/or I will protect you.
I officially like my sexuality and own it proudly.
So I’ve written my novel to free myself of some of this weight and to create an evocative depiction of what happens to a girl when she lives with the constant fear of attack in her Northern Irish homeland. The wonderful part of writing is that I can use hindsight and make Kitty, my heroine, realize that she has the power within to conquer the pain and hardship that she encounters. Kitty does this so much quicker than I have and that’s fabulous. She doesn’t allow herself to be a victim. She makes powerful choices along her soul journey. I hope that in writing “Northern Branches” I will inspire many women to embrace their beautiful selves and honor who they are as beings. Great beings.
There is so much darkness in our world with religious fanatics killing innocent beautiful people. A friend’s friend ran from the truck in Nice and dived into a café to escape the shower of bullets. Luckily she was unhurt, at least physically.
Also during this sad time of fear and confusion with race relations and gun control in the US, the need to go on our personal soul journey is more important than ever.
Try to break out that radiant smile and truly connect with our loved ones, our work and life. That’s the only way to be happy. Invest in what we have already. A blogger I had the great luck to come across, Benjamin Hardy says it very simply:
“The better you are in your current position, the better will be your next one. Don’t wait for your circumstances to change, improve the circumstances you’re currently in.”
This is his link to a powerful blog post on happiness:
Really concentrate our efforts on making our lives better right here and now. Brendon Burchard, a motivational guru I adore, stresses that we can make a conscious effort to bring positivity into any situation. It just takes a conscious effort like most things.
Let’s not reduce life to light and dark, let’s accept and be curious in the grey because we have the ability to generate joy in the shadows of our lives and make them radiant with bright, pure light.
Avoid running, personal experience tells me it sucks, find comfort in the grey, own your life and rock it!