Exploring the invitation to set aside the defense mechanisms of our youth to embrace our truer, higher self.
An Invitation from my Teachers
In the past several months, I have had the same question posed to me by three distinctly separate and unrelated sources: “Lauri, do you think it might be time to set aside the battle-ready warrior and let the softer, more gentle you emerge?” When you get the same question from three separate teachers, perhaps it is time to pay attention.
As there is truly no such thing as the perfect family, each and every human being grows up in some sort of dysfunction. Dysfunction in this case is anything in our childhood that does not tenderly and passionately honor the fragile and vulnerable truths within us. In fact, it might be quite impossible for parents to simply stand in observation as the tender budding flower of their children unfolds, unencumbered by the parent’s own projections and unlived dreams. As such, our deepest, most authentic truth is usually stunted until we are in a position to do something about it ourselves. It is out of these projections that our defense mechanisms arise as a way to protect the fragile seed that really wants to take root and grow, but that knows in this environment it cannot. For me, the defense mechanism that arose was the Battle-ready Warrior.
Who is the Warrior?
The warrior in me is the fierce, fiery, accomplishment-driven, road weary, battle hardened part of me. She is the one that has viciously defended my “turf”, has driven me to do, to accomplish, and to be in control. She is tough, she does not feel, she is driven primarily through anger, resentment and suppressed creativity. Her heart is hardened to the feelings of others, most importantly- her own. She does not cry. She deflects insults and criticism with retaliations of judgment and rejection. In her world, if someone hurts her, they are simply cut from her life in one felt swoop of her sword. She stands in battle armor, sword in hand, ready to fight and to those who challenge her – BEWARE! In the past 45 years, the warrior has served me well. She has kept me “safe” and has swiftly removed from my life all enemies and threats to my dreams……or so I thought.
The Truth About the Warrior
The truth is that while the warrior may have served me at some point in my journey, I have discovered that she has been more and more of a hurdle than a help. While the warrior provides the illusion of safety, what she is really doing is encircling me in a metal straight-jacket where I will eventually end up alone and without fulfilling creative expression. In order to be creative, one has to be able to feel. To offer inspiration to the world, one has to experience both the pleasure and pain of the human condition. As the warrior, none of this is possible. The only way for me to fully embrace my creative gifts and creative call is to peel off the armor of the warrior, lay down my sword and allow the soft, vulnerable fairy princess in me to step forth. I know, scary, right?
Ok, so the good news is that the warrior does not have to be shed in one violent act as if one is tearing off a bandaid. Instead, I have been able to set her aside, little by little to allow room for the soft, vulnerable me to gently emerge. What I have discovered is that laying underneath the warrior’s armor is a softness that allows for feelings, emotions, creativity, joy, play, time to simply be (instead of do) and has paved the way for true intimacy to take place. Tumbling into this softness feels foreign, unknown, strange, but at the same time, there is a deep sense of relief as I surrender into the space of simply allowing and set aside the constant doing and standing on guard that was required in the warrior’s shell. I am finding contentment in simple acts of creativity, in frivolous play and in contemplative silence – and the best part is somehow “the work” is still getting done. AMAZING!
Questions for your own consideration
- What is the mask that you assumed to survive the “dysfunction” of your childhood?
- How has that mask served you?
- How has that mask hampered you?
- How are you being invited to set aside the armor, the mask, etc. so that you can more fully embrace the deeper truth within?
Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth