This is part of an empowering writing and sharing experience that a group of bloggers is participating in during the month of January via an invitation from the wonderful Barbara Franken at http://memymagnificentself.wordpress.com.
I was born free, free of any fears or limitations and blissfully happy! This would all end fairly soon for me, just as with many of us, as I had been born into a dysfunctional family. There was really very little room for me to be free any longer once I selected this family. I was shut down over the years and frequently heard the chorus of no, shouldn’t, what would others think, and so much more. Also the continuous chime of being called clumsy over and over again. I began to believe I was not athletic, and that I was in fact clumsy. You might say this is where my own feelings of ‘less than’ began and where my separation from my spiritual self took root. If I only knew then what I know now. Perhaps I did know and selected this life experience as a lesson to grow, some karma payment from past lives. This I do not fully comprehend, but I do understand I let go of my freedom and bound myself into a cage of I am not enough, which we all know is being separate from our spiritual self because when we stand fully in the knowledge of who we are, we are all enough.
Intermittently I was sufficiently awakened to see through this façade. I found myself loving nature, rocks and the soothing balm of the outdoors. It spoke to me; it gave me comfort when none was to be had by my parental unit. I collected rocks from a very young age on; they fascinated me as I could feel their heart beats in my hands. Some of this was encouraged as a hobby, and I was given rock tumblers and more. However, I wanted to collect them, arrange them and talk to them not so much make things out of them. Soon, I would abandon this endeavor too and I was lost. I tried to comply with all that was requested of me. I tried to be a good girl, the one being requested of me by my familial unit and that of society.
As I approached my teenage years, and grew into my womanhood, my parents were unprepared (as many are) to handle any number of things ranging from sexuality to the evolving drug culture, and I was shunned even more. Now younger siblings had also come along, and my life was mired with the incessant noise of toddlers when all I wanted was rock and roll and to be left alone to create and find myself. It was the 70’s after all and I was keenly aware of the awakening taking place all around me.
It was somewhere during this period of time that I found an island, a place where I could fully express myself and discuss my hopes, wants and dreams. I fell in love with a boy you see, or perhaps I fell more in love with his mother. No matter, she touched my soul. She was an artist, a free spirit who always encouraged me and talked to me like an adult. She treated me with respect. And so, I touched once again on my awakening and it felt like pure joy to exist in this place, for a while. As so often happens in the case of young love, the relationship ended. Of course, my own parents were over joyed as they hated all this relationship represented, and were extremely uncomfortable with me coming into my self, a creative, artistic self who communed with rocks and nature. Once again, I fell back into the bubble of fear, that safe place.
I lived here for an expansive period of time. However, all the while something was nagging at me, wake up little one you are worthy, but I slept on.
Then one day I began to feel ill. It didn’t happen suddenly, or at least I didn’t notice it all at once. As I got off of a boat in Denmark, I found myself unable to walk very well and the world was spinning. I thought it was the boat ride, little did I know something was growing inside my brain. I was now long married and had a child. I thought I was happy. I was extremely fulfilled in my role as a mother to a most beautiful soul that had chosen me, but I had given away my voice as a mate, as a person on the planet and settled for mediocrity. This was what my parents had taught me, to believe my voice did not matter. I was to go along with and do what was required by society. Never stand out at all costs! But when you are to be doing some other work, sometimes things have to occur to fully grab our attention. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Through all of this, I was once again guided to my spiritual side and to honoring my self. I practiced meditation and all things healing to get me through the ordeal of the surgery. I mean really, who wants their skull opened up and a piece of their gray matter removed? I chose to embrace it all, and looked upon the situation with grace. I had been given a message, and the message was to wake up and to honor myself. These lines from Rumi speak to me about this experience, really about my entire life experience.
When you fall ill, remorse and humility open;
the moment one falls ill, conscience awakens.
When you fall ill, you pray God to forgive your sins.
The murkiness of your error becomes apparent to you,
and you resolve to return to the Way.
You promise and vow that from now on you’ll choose
nothing but obedience to God.
See how illness stirs your conscience and wakes you up.
So pay attention to this principle, O seeker;
Anyone who suffers pain has caught the scent.
The more wakeful anyone is, the more he suffers;
The more spiritually aware he is, the paler is his face.
If you are aware of God’s compelling,
where is your humility?
Where is your feeling of being bound by His Omnipotence?
How should one who is bound in chains dance?
Since when does the prisoner act like one who is free?
And if you see that your foot is shackled
and that the Sultan’s officers are keeping watch over you,
don’t act like a tyrant toward those who are helpless,
since that’s not how helpless people act.
Unfortunately, I fell back asleep again. I like to be compliant, and no surprise, I am an introvert. I also like to serve and please, and not to create drama and strife. You want me on your team for getting things done, because I will do as I am told. However, as is the case in life, when the universe wants your attention it will make demands! The angel of death suddenly plucked my husband of almost 20 years away from me just two years after my craniotomy. I was left in a dire mess as he had lied to me about finances, had kept them hidden them from me, and left almost nothing to our minor son and myself. He left it all to his two older, grown college educated, and one married, children. I had no choice but to find my voice, and I did.
I navigated us through a complicated litigation process in order that we have something out of the Estate. You see, working full-time as I had prior to being married was not so much in the cards for me after having brain surgery. While recovered, it greatly affected my spatial recognition and also word retrieval and concentration. No one would know anything was wrong with me, but sitting 40 hours or more a week at a desk as I once did was no longer an option. My husband knew this; he assured me I would never have to worry. I was not concerned; he had a successful law practice. However, I should have been concerned, as he was wrapped up in his own demons over money. As the poem reflects, I lost my humility and thought I was impervious to certain things in life because after all I was married to someone successful. I gave away my voice, just as I had been taught. I gave up who I was, what mattered to me and what I wanted in life. I was still a caged prisoner with one foot shackled.
It wasn’t until I allowed myself to begin dating again some 7 years after his death that I would truly allow myself to become unshackled, but not without becoming a little paler in the face. To begin with, I got into a relationship where I gave away my voice. If you are still reading, you are probably asking yourself what is wrong with this woman? I was trained to be compliant, and who am I to question my journey, or anyone’s journey for that matter? Every step has been important in the awakening of who I am as a human being. As to this relationship, I am not certain how I did this yet again, but I have a sneaking suspicion it had a lot to do with money, a place where I had experienced great wounding. This man offered me a lifetime of never having to worry about it, you see he was a trust fund baby with millions in his bank account and had never worked a day in his life. It represented safety to me! He offered me “forever”. Alas, he was a narcissist. The worst possible love match for a person like me, or anyone really. The universe has to get in your face and scream sometimes, especially with someone like me where it is so deeply imbedded that I am not enough as a woman and that by my mere rank, I am second class.
It was the culmination of these many events that finally stirred me from my cage. This time I become fully in touch with my spiritual side, reading, studying everything and I continue to grow it with each and every day. I am attempting to keep the door open to abundance by practicing gratitude. I am a work in progress, and I have found my voice! I am empowered. I truly believe that the universe is the stage on which you dance, guided by your heart. I am attempting to live with an open heart, and to forgive all those that held me back along my path, and perhaps they did not hold me back at all, but rather were guiding me to my true authentic self. It is after all my path and my responsibility as to how I travel it, as victim or as love. Mother nature is speaking to me once again and I have surrounded myself with a beautiful collection of rocks and crystals. No matter what anyone says about crystals, my studying them, or using them for healing I am not yielding this time. There will be no loss of voice, no being that clumsy girl who has no confidence in herself, the introvert who only wants to please. I may have been raised to believe that others would provide for me if I were simply a good, compliant girl and by societal conventions this was what I was supposed to do. Mediocrity is not my emotional home, and I have thankfully found that I can only rely on my self and that I am worthy, smart, and gifted. I am only gaining strength and confidence. This is the path I am on and how I became awakened to my gifts, the gifts that we all come into the world with and have a duty to share. I am no longer bound to a cage of not enough! I thank you Barbara for providing this opportunity to write about it and for all of you that have read my story and for sharing your own stories. We are all interconnected and like a ripple of water we touch one another and my goal is to be love with that touch. Yes, I am still an introvert, and still like to be a caregiver, but I am learning to do these things without giving up who and what I am. Thank you for not judging me, and I too will, as Rumi’s poem says, not act like a tyrant toward those who are helpless, since that is not how helpless people act. Namaste
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