I’ve always hated blog posts that say “10 Ways To Get What You Want Fast” or “4 Things That Prove You Are Doing It Wrong”. You can find a list on any magazine cover and according to editors, lists sell the most copies. They also work well for blog posts. People just seem to like the list. I don’t, but I thought it would work best in this particular post, so here’s my list.
1. Recognize that you are the keeper of the key
I’m not sure why – perhaps it’s because I read so much – but the Universe seems to communicate with me through quotes. To me, quotes are like photographs. One image or small cluster of words can convey huge, heart-stirring messages and once that message is heard, others come flooding in to back it up.
Here’s the quote that sparked my latest download of epiphanies:
The first key to warriorship and the first principle of Shambhala vision is not being afraid of who you are. Ultimately, that is the definition of bravery: not being afraid of yourself. . . . When we are afraid of ourselves and afraid of the seeming threat the world presents, then we become extremely selfish. We want to build our own little nests, our own cocoons, so that we can live by ourselves in a secure way.
from Shambhala – The Sacred Path of the Warrior
The key phrase for me is “not being afraid of yourself.” That little girl you see in the photo is who I really am. We are all that little kid who came into this world to experience what it’s like to be human. Unfortunately, many well-meaning adults – from parents to teachers to church leaders – show us that who we are is not good enough or too much by forcing us to conform to how they think we should be. We come to think that who we are is wrong and slowly, we tuck bits and pieces of ourselves away and try to become who they want us to be.
For me, it’s like being locked up in a cage with layers and layers of blankets thrown over the top to keep me safe. As a child, I caged myself up bigly. (Is that adverb in the dictionary yet?) I was taught that if you don’t try new things, you won’t feel the pain of failure. If you don’t try to meet new people, then you won’t run the risk of being rejected. If you keep your creative side under wraps, no one will laugh at you. While those beliefs kept me safe, they also kept me from growing. I’ve realized now that there was never anything wrong with who I was. I was just afraid to be me.
what about this theory. the fear of not being enough. and the fear of being ‘too much.’ are exactly the same fear. the fear of being you. – Nayyirah Waheed
I was so heavily covered up that when I first started seeing a therapist and she would ask me a question about what I thought or what I wanted, I went completely blank. I was so terrified to voice what I wanted that I just shook my head and said, “I don’t know.” I’m certainly glad she was patient enough to help me slowly pull the blankets off my cage.
2. Decide that you no longer wish to believe your beliefs.
I’ve been feeling progressively better since I left behind the place that I associate with being trapped in my cage. I’ve even felt so excited about the endless possibilities opening up for me that, at times, I’ve felt like jumping for joy and dancing around the house, but I don’t. Instead, I keep myself locked down. Lockdown shows up physically for me. I clench my fists, my shoulders round to protect my heart, my lips press tightly together and form a from, and I clench my jaw so hard I feel like my teeth might crumble under the pressure. As you can imagine, that’s not a good feeling.
Abraham Hicks says that a belief is just a thought you keep thinking, so I’ve decided not to believe my beliefs anymore. I’ve found that the only way I can make changes in my life is to make a firm decision. That might be the hardest part of these five steps. We give lip service to making a decision by saying, “I’ve decided to ___.” Then we run off and promptly forget what we promised to do. The ones that stick are felt deep within. Most would refer to it as willpower. People often say they don’t have willpower, but they do. You just have to want it bad enough.
Marisa Peer, a British hypnotherapist I found on YouTube, says that your mind will believe anything you tell it. (She even shows you how it works. Check her out.) I’ve told my brain that I no longer wish to dwell in a place that hasn’t existed in four decades and my brain is obliging. Thank you, brain.
3. Find imagery that works for you and meditate on it.
I was recently watching a trailer for the new Star Wars movie The Last Jedi. I haven’t watched any of the new movies, but the still for the trailer had an older Mark Hamill on it. I always thought he was cute, so I thought I’d watch it. In it, I heard one of the characters say,
“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”
There it was. My little crush on 70’s Mark Hamill led me to watch a trailer that I wouldn’t have otherwise watched, which then led me to that quote. (Oh, Universe. You’re so sly.) Letting go of the past is the key. All of the people that hurt me are gone now, which means that I’m the one continuing to hurt me now by treating myself the same way they treated me. I have to stop believing what they taught me in order for me to become who I was meant to be. I have to let the past die.
How do I do that? Meditation and imagery work well for me, so I sat with it. In my meditation, I envisioned myself hunched over from the weight of carrying large sacks full of my past hurts. I’ve been dragging them along the ground behind me for years for added resistance. (No wonder my shoulders literally hurt.) I cut those sacks out of my hands, because when you grip something for so long, your hands don’t want to let go. I put each of those heavy sacks on a cloud and I watched as they slowly floated away. I know that the same cloud doesn’t pass twice, so those sacks are gone forever.
Your imagery or method for letting go may be different than mine, but you’re welcome to use my clouds if you’d like. I have millions of them.
4. Letting go is a practice, not a one and done.
My life didn’t immediately become wonderful after that meditation. It’s a practice. For instance, the other night, I was making mashed potatoes and I heard my Dad’s mocking voice say, “These mashed potatoes are lumpy. My mother used to make mashed potatoes with just a masher and she never had any lumps.” Every single time I make mashed potatoes, I hear him say that (and I make mashed potatoes quite often). I decided to put that little jab on a cloud and let it float away like the other stuff. I’m sure more will come up, but I’m not worried, because now I know what to do with them.
After letting my past float off into the ether, I find it very hard to even bring up those things that used to cause me so much pain. It’s not that they’re not there, but I don’t follow those thoughts down the rabbit hole anymore. It’s like my brain has blocked the view of my past, so the only place I can look is forward.
5. Listen to your heart and do what it tells you.
When I was little, I was taught that being creative wasn’t available to me, so I hid that part of me away. However, now that I’m no longer believing those beliefs, I’m free to follow my heart. After being silenced for so long, however, it will take a little time to get used to hearing what my heart has to say. The heart speaks in a whisper, so you have to listen carefully. My brain appears to be cooperating though, so I’m sure that my heart’s voice will continue to become more clear as the days go by.
I left my hopes and dreams behind with that little girl on the tricycle, but I’m starting to find them again. I’ve started playing the piano again. Luckily body memory is allowing to pick up where I left off. I’m reading just for the fun of it instead of simply for information. The other night, I joined the main circle at a party instead of staying on the periphery as I usually do. And I’ve downloaded some courses on photography, drawing, and fiction writing. For the first time in a very long time, I’m actually excited about my future.
Letting go of the past or killing it (whatever works for you) is easier said than done, I know, but once you realize that those childhood hopes and desires are who you truly are, you’ll want to let go of whatever is holding you back from being your happiest, most fulfilled self. I believe you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We didn’t come here to be just like everyone else. We came here to be our unique selves and to help the world grow simply because for the experience of it. Society tells us to conform, yet it rewards most those that live life in their own unique way. You can choose to live inside the confines of society. It’s safe there and that’s okay. However, if you want to live your life to the fullest, the only way to do that is to be brave and be you.
As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”