Monday, May 28, 2012

Dark nights, Shame, and Perfection

"I believe that we are all mirrors of each other...and I am ready to take another look at myself...although this time I will pull my head out of the clouds and plant my feet in the ground. I believe that every wound has a lesson, a gift....even if it takes years to realize. Last night's mediation was and IS big for me....I'll be working on this one for the rest of my life because I don't think forgiveness is one of those quick fixes. You may be able to take a pill to hide your emotions so that you can avoid the forgiveness...but why not just begin the process....and free yourself from the resentment over that someone or situation from the past. Living with acceptance in my breath and forgiveness in my steps.....forgiving in every moment...staying open to possibilities...and accepting all of the mirrors that cross my path..."
- Laurie K., an excerpt from my blog written February 13th, 2011

Hm, it's funny when I look back to when I started this blog....I'm both inspired and disappointed by my own words. Inspired...because I am still today learning and by reading what I myself had written just a little over a year ago...I can remember and share with empathy for my "past" self that still exists in this moment now. Disappointed...because I know that every time I have admitted something on this blog, or exposed a new layer of vulnerability within me...I have this expectation that I am now free to move on and be done with whatever it is I have just admitted/expressed...I "thought" I was letting it go. Well, once again, I am humbled to say that even when I express those insights doesn't mean I have mastered my life. I am a human being just like you. Plain and simple.

I say that because I have wanted to believe that I am "the best." It was something I heard a lot growing up in a society that pushes expectations on you, and I feel that it's been a high expectation that can never be reached through words and intellect. My last blog spoke of being enough. How can I possibly be the best if I'm not clear on what that means to me? Getting clear on what I truly want in my life has been a topic I've avoided for years. I'm truly gifted to be able to spread my interests into so many different areas. I'd be content in many professions as long as it allowed me to express creatively. Problem is....that's a hard job to get when you're not clear on your own sense of worthiness. Being "the best" and believing in myself mean the same thing to me now. I don't actually want to be the best at one particular thing. I just want to FEEL that no matter what task life brings to my table, I will FEEL that I am enough....that I am doing my best....and that I am worthy and deserving of whats true for me....whatever that ends up looking like!

I'm really good at imagining what I want it to look like, and not saying or doing anything about it. I am content to keep it a fantasy...because most of the time my imagination is far from what I actually end up getting. It's rough...I keep it all to my self...the hopes, the fears, the wishes, and the let downs, the grieving, the frustration and anger. It's tiring to keep my dreams a secret. It's sad to feel I am not worth getting what I really want. But I hid because the fear of being let down would be even more terrifying and humiliating if I were to tell best to just keep quiet right? Eh. I'm feeling NO is what my Inner Wise Self would say. I'm thinking my heart wants me to trust it's be finally heard and vulnerable even though there is a risk involved. So, Inner Wise do I begin to trust you? I made a commitment way before I began writing this blog, to find purpose in my evolve myself and finally feel empowered, feel truth, feel real, and feel love.

I've read about...and heard about whats called the Dark Night of the Soul. Those words really scared me...I remember thinking to myself, "but I don't think everyone needs to experience that in order to evolve! No way, not me...I'm gonna get there through rainbows and need for the dark and scary stuff. Besides - I don't think I would keep going, and I may not survive if I am faced with that darkness. Well...becoming paralyzed is certainly a dark shade of gray...but the pain and the waiting and the amount of unknowns has been a darker storm cloud...wait, where did my pie in the sky go!? At first I thought, no problem I can handle this....I will persevere and I will conquer and I will, I will, I will. As time passes, I have done a lot of so called "conquering" but the pain is still there and those unknowns have not gone away. It's been almost a year now, and I'm still struggling. In fact, the last few months have been the hardest, the most painful - to the point of absolute exhaustion. I needed an I began to paint...the only colors I wanted to use were red and wasn't pretty, it wasn't happy, and it certainly was not a rainbow or a unicorn. It soon became completely looked like dried lava... hot coals...a fizzled fire. Yup, I felt as though I had finally come to my darkest hour...and I finally admitted it to myself. This is what it feels like in the Dark Night of the Soul.

With every day I am still just as committed as those winter days of 2011 when my worst pains and discomforts were sore muscles from yoga and a yearning for something more. I feel as though life presented me with an opportunity to slow down enough to finally address the core of those surface pains and complaints. It's like God wanted to turn up the volume so I would finally begin listening. I look back on my life and my experiences and see all the times I was hustling for others to approve of me, always thinking I had to be the best, the rule follower, the pretty girl, a great yogi, an awesome performer, a beautiful artist. All those unachievable attachments to the word "perfect." I didn't know then that my inner ego was pretending to be my inner self love voice...Now I see that all my life I have lived with the shame and grief that comes from never feeling allowed to be truly myself because what if that wasn't what other people wanted?

This journey is laden with layer upon layer of darkness. Yes of course it is. I see that every life on Earth knows that at some point in their life... what it feels like to make a mistake or appear imperfect. I see that its part of life that actually normal and human. Then why is it so hard to admit our flaws or let others know that its ok? Why do I shield, run away, or push back? Paralysis stems from fear is of being truly seen and not being accepted...meaning that I wasn't perfect. this was a very rough and touchy subject. I guess I've been wishing to expose the girl that hides behind the mask because I think she has a lot to say. Even if she isn't polite or beautiful or poetic or inspiring....she's real and deserving and she's worth my time. Learning how to love myself on the inside is, uh, well let's just say it's not like you can put make up and hairspray on your inner self...(eww hairspray..). I'm still full of fear...and shame lurks inside my heart. But like I have expressed before....I am committed to myself. I choose to continue the practice of self love, of worthiness and empowerment. I accept that it may take a lifetime. The darkness always gives way to the light again....I can trust in the cycle and claim my story.

I seek the truth within and I love and accept myself exactly the way I am. How can I feel worthy of someone else's love if I do not claim my own self worth? How will this statement finally rest peacefully inside my heart?

Here is by far the ugliest thing I have ever allowed myself to create that is a true expression of what it feels like to live with fear, shame, guilt, pain, more shame and more pain, imperfections, disabilites, and a whole lot of questions fogging up my once beautiful horizon.

After sitting with this image in my space for weeks (this was over a month ago), I decided to start making moves again. I wanted to allow myself to experience that darkness because I had never acknowledged it before. I didn't know that people could hurt on such a deep level because I had developed an awesome and automatic pain blocking system. Eventually I sought out help, which wasn't took many conversations with loved ones to coax me towards trying a new medication that would help ease nerve pain, depression, and anxiety. "What will everyone think of me then?"....ugh "enough already!"

 In the last month, I've felt my pain subside slightly and my mind and heart feel quiet. Not always peaceful but more contemplative and patient with the subtleties of life. I stopped trembling, and when I feel anxious I recognize it immediately. I'm focused on myself again and I'm enjoying learning new things. I covered my image with my niece who helped me crumple and rip origami paper....WOah woah woah...that was a hard thing to do for someone like me who is obsessed with folding perfectly cute paper cranes. I've also started gardening and it's fulfilling a dream I've had all my be closer to nature.

I'm just beginning now to see how much fun being imperfect can be =)

I love you exactly the way that you are. You are worthy. You are deserving. Look at your reflection and find love there. Namaste ~

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