“There is no use in going back to yesterday, I was a different person then.” – Alice in Wonderland
This 10 year challenge could not have come at a better time, for me. These past few weeks have been all about personal introspection, reviewing and reminiscing about the past — where I was then and who I have become now. As this is percolating in my mind and body, a blast from the past shows up unexpectedly, and intense waves of emotions move through me, triggering me to ponder the shifts over the years. And then, as I am in the process of writing this post, Louise releases this must-read piece on “A Storied Experience“! It’s incredible how synchronicity works.
So, in this post, I decided to put a spin on the 10 year challenge going around on the internet. Instead of posting only a picture of what my physical body looked like 10 years ago and what I look like now, I’ll explore in some detail my perceptions of life experiences and lessons learned.
Oh, the early 20s…
I never understand people who wish to go back to a time they were in their early 20s. This period of my life was, I can comfortably declare, the fucking worst. I was an absolute mess. I felt disconnected from the world, like I didn’t belong “here”. I saw the world as crumbling, and I felt there was nothing I could do. I was but one mere mortal whose powers have been deliberately stripped by the corporate greed that surrounded me, the harsh neo-liberal capitalist system and it’s institutions that we built, bought into, and continuously sustain… to our detriment, till death do us part. I was baffled by the inexcusable massacres worldwide masked as a necessary to civilization’s survival. I was baffled by domestic violence, femicide, and rape culture. By toxic masculinity, extremities, and rationalizations for violence. By the blatant hypocrisy of our institutions and culture. I’d go to the doctor and therapist for healing, and walk out feeling dis-empowered and dismissed, victimized and reduced. Boxed-in. Split in pieces. I felt trapped in a system that had no interest in my well-being, and despite my best activism, I felt powerless to it. My existence mattered none.
How I saw the outside world was a reflection of how I was living on the inside: completely depleted, slowly falling apart. I felt a tremendous sense of powerlessness over my life that simply took over. I was participating in a co-dependent and abusive relationship. I was insisting on fights with my family and actively pushing everyone away while unintentionally further isolating myself. I absorbed the energy of everyone’s problems and allowed it to take refuge in my body. I was consumed by rage and anger that was constantly projected outwards but was consuming me whole. Instead of accepting responsibility for my life, I blamed everyone around me for it. I was the victim of all my life’s circumstances. And despite my cries, no one ever came to save me. Truth is, even those who tried, I pushed away. I lived with so much resentment…as one would when they feel someone outside of themselves owes them something.
***As I write this, in this moment, my body is reacting. There are waves of energy moving through that want to latch on…but I now know better than to let them. I know to breathe through the waves, and let them pass. I know they need space, air, breath, prana, to heal…so I give them exactly that.***
Given that I had no healthy coping mechanisms, it is natural that I turned toward substances –smoking, sugar, junk food–to feel comfortably numb, to disconnect… even if just for one moment.
All my bodies were out of whack. I respected none of my natural clocks or boundaries. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I drank copious amounts of cola on a daily basis instead of water or tea. Sugar and pizza were my go-to comfort foods. I ate burgers that made me vomit at 2:00 am because that’s when Wendy’s had a $2 Whopper sale. I slept whenever those around me felt like it. I drank and partied until the sun came up, and sometimes went back down…. I hung out with people I didn’t care for. I befriended people who were dishonest and disrespectful, while pushing my loving family away. I participated in activities against my will. I laughed at ill-intended jokes at my own expense. I rationalized and justified abuse.
I continuously and consistently diminished my own worth.
I dismissed my own internal voice.
I lied to myself all the time.
What I got in return was dis-ease. On every possible level. Physically, I was sick all the time. My body began being unable to digest any of the food, or the food-like-substances, I introduced to it. The countless doctors I had seen over the years and all their sophisticated machines and tests revealed “there is nothing wrong”. Mentally and emotionally I was checked out, suicidal for years. The doctors easily and conveniently diagnosed me with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder type 2. At least these are the diagnoses I can remember. They quickly drugged me, despite my best efforts to resist, to combat the symptoms…yet, the symptoms persisted and kept coming at me with a vengeance. At this point, I had already internalized that there was something wrong with me –I was defective, I was broken, I was irrelevant.
Wow. Imagine the impact this perception of self had on my nervous system! Living life, however unconsciously, as a defective, less-than human being.
***Another wave moving through me. I breathe through it, because I know this is what my body needs. My nervous system is relearning, through deep breathing, that I am safe.***
Truth is, “No good can ever come from abandoning the Self.” – Louise LeBrun
In the meantime, to an outsider all things looked good–I was working, going to school, and living with my long-term boyfriend of five years. I was smart, friendly, well-maintained, and energetic. I internalized the “good girl” role, and I played it well. Regardless of how well I did on the outside, these external references were not enough to validate my internal Self.
I can barely recognize that version of me today. I am such a vastly different person now. I do not know exactly how this happened, but I know that I made choices to allow it to be so. Self-rEVOLution does not happen overnight, and yet, there are critical moments that I know I made decisions knowing, with every fiber of my being, I deserve better. That is when I made decisions that aligned with mySelf and followed through with them because I knew that I knew what I knew and I chose to listen to my Truth. I did not know it intellectually, I knew it in my bones. Those types of moments have become more frequent in my life, and I am able to recognize the waves in my body and my Truth faster now. I am beginning to notice what it’s like to operate from the identity point (6th chakra), from the “who I am” that I AM instead of from the lower triangle infused with cultural conditioning and “shoulds”.
Of course these creep up on me every now and again, but I stay engaged in the tough conversations with myself, full-well knowing that what is presenting in my body, in this moment, is here to free me…if I allow it.
My whole life I have asked “why” questions not knowing that “why” is a closed-loop from which there is no escape. There is never a “because” that satisfies the “why”…there is always more “but why”. So I am beginning to release the why. In the WEL-Systems and Kundalini yoga perspectives the “why” questions are held at the heart centre where cultural conditioning is held. This is the space between the lower and higher triangles that allows the flow of energy to move freely. When someone is stagnated in this space, they have a hard time accepting the truth of their experience because it differs from that of the cultural conditioning they have internalized. Given that these people live in the past, they cannot live a full life, in the present moment, where our bodies live.
This is how far I have come: I can, at the very least, recognize when a problem is presenting itself from the past, I can point to the areas in my body where I feel the energy stagnated, I can ask myself questions that begin to liberate my Truth, and I can chose to chose differently –mainly, from the I am that I AM (6th chakra).
In the past little while, I have focused on questions to myself such as…
If I am encountering resistance or conflict in my body, do I relax into it? Do I allow the wave of information to tell me what it needs to tell me? Or do I constrict and label it as negative (i.e. anxiety, pain…) and try to shut it down?
Do I chose to trust my body to process what it needs to process in order to heal?
What are my compensatory mechanisms, and where do they show up in my body? What does that tell me about myself?
Am I thinking or reacting out of fear, judgement or conditioning right now or is this a conscious choice that feels healthy in my tissue?
Do I chose to allow my ideas to percolate in my body, trusting that I know what I know fully?
I realize there are things I believe I must still do. Do I chose to own that choice?
Do I chose to make decisions from the lens of self-respect? From a place that remains in alignment with my Self?
Do I allow myself the space required to change my mind about a commitment?
Am I making decisions from a considerate, loving, and respectful place?
Do I allow myself to know what I know when someone’s energy approaches me?
Do I chose to own my Truth and speak it honestly?
Do I chose to own up to my mistakes without guilt, shame or judgement?
Do I chose to come back to it and make right, right?
If a situation presents itself over and over, do I chose to focus on the content, or the context? After all, it is presenting on my holodeck because I have more to learn. Do I chose to pay attention?
When a fear/resentment/judgement comes up, whose voice am I listening to? Do I internalize that voice as truth, or do I search for the truth of my Soul?
Importantly: What is the strategy I am unconsciously running? When was it useful for me? Is it still? What do I believe about that? What’s the gift in what’s presented itself, again? Never mind the content, what is the context? We develop strategies that were useful when we were children, strategies to protect ourselves, from violence, instability, lies…and they are useful when we are 2 or 4 or 14, but are they useful at 30, 50, or 70? Perhaps not.
Most importantly: Who am I? Who do I chose to become? Who do I chose to surround myself with?
Releasing the Past
Today, I am in the process of rediscovering and redefining mySelf. In my emerging identity, I am learning to live, moment to moment, from my Truth, my Sat Nam. This way of life may appear strange to most people, as it seems to not align with the life they are living. Still, I have found similar Souls in the strangest of places, eager to learn more about themselves and their Truth and live in it. It’s a beautiful journey, indeed!
So part of my journey right now is to lovingly let go of the “why” questions by asking questions that lead to an open loop, allowing for more expansive types of questions. For me, this is the best way to grow…to balance living grounded and consciously chosing from the who I am that I AM.
Today, I know well that the past does not serve me. It helped shape me, it has provided me with an opportunity to learn more about myself, and it does not define me. I know, with every single breath, I can chose choices that serve me, as I am, in this moment.
As for the past, I leave myself with this question: Do I want to bring this into my future? If the answer is no, then I go ahead and consciously let go…
After all, “The past – and its story – is not a roadmap to the future.” – Louise LeBrun. Evolution by intention is.