While I promised a twelve day hiatus, it seems the Holy Spirit has other plans. In today’s blog, we explore the shadow aspect of ourselves, the part we keep hidden, protected, sheltered, the part we rarely show to the outside world and if we do, only to those with whom we feel TOTALLY safe.
I promised a hiatus from blogging…but this is one that will not let me alone….so here it is! Surprise! This blog includes a confession, some stark observations and a revelation of deep, intimate truths…..BECAUSE…. I sense the readers (you), have similar secrets you are hiding! 🙂
What People Think About Me
As many of my readers know, this has been a year of OVERWHELMING change. I had a book published. I shifted the focus of my day to day work. I moved out of my home of 13 years. Lived in a friends basement for 50 days. Found a new home. Moved my office. And…..the focal point of all this change – divorce. As I’ve been riding the rollercoaster of all this change…here are the words I’ve been receiving from loving family members and friends, “You are so strong. You will be fine. You are so courageous, you will be able to handle all of this. I admire your strength and your courage.” These are beautiful and inspiring words and definitely reflective of the person I show to the outside world – strong, confident, on top of it all, focused, determined, disciplined, independent, courageous. And yes, these are some of my strengths…..sometimes. There is also another part of me that is NONE of those things.
If They Only Knew
While I recognize the strength and courage in me that seems to arise in the midst of life’s deepest crap…and I appreciate other people’s affirmation of these gifts, there is also a part of me that wants to run screaming when I hear people utter these words….because, I know the deeper truth. Throughout this journey….I have been SCARED SHITLESS! Not a day has gone by that I haven’t awoken to the face of fear staring me dead in the face and wanted to crawl back into bed or find the nearest hole to climb into. This is scary stuff…getting divorced, moving, hoping and praying that you will be able to pay the bills on a Spiritual Director’s and author’s unpredictable wage. Then throw in the kids’ grief, relationships issues, parents who are sick and having surgeries and you have a recipe for sheer terror. AND…I HAVE FELT IT! So part of my secret….is I am scared to death and fear has been my constant companion for (honestly) 46 years! YIKES! The good news is that because of the work I do and the teachers I have encountered, I have tools for dealing with this fear, but that doesn’t mean it goes away! I am human. I am scared. And most days I don’t really feel strong, confident or courageous.
The Other Truth
The other truth has to do with what I am going to call, “vulnerability.” I think because people perceive me as “strong” and “courageous” they also think I do not get hurt. HA……That could not be further from the truth. While I may appear strong, impervious to injury, confident on the outside….the truth is that I am deeply sensitive not only to other people’s feelings, etc. but to things said to me. Many things I have learned to slough off as “that is their sh..t, not mine,” but there are also some things that hurt me deeply. I know that on the highest level, I am “allowing” myself to be hurt and that if I get hurt it is because someone else’s words are triggering an unhealed wound within me, but at the end of the day, I am still human and some people are just mean or at the very least, thoughtless. It is here where I experience hurt on the deepest level – when people are mean, cruel, and go after the things that they know are my fears and insecurities…or when they attack my personal beliefs, professional abilities or use my own words against me. These are the hurts that are hardest for me to overcome because they fly past the place of comprehension. I do not understand meanness. I never have and I’m not sure I ever will. Now, I understand that sometimes we all slip…we get caught up in our own fears, false perceptions, ego attachments and say things unwittingly to hurt another….but then we check ourselves, take responsibility for our behavior and the fear that drove that behavior, then we make amends…we say we are sorry. Some people never do this work and some are just mean on purpose….these are the hurts that cause the deepest wounds and at the end of the day, make me very sad. So, I’m not sure if this is the appropriate response, but it is in the face of this kind of meanness, in those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions that I have exercised my right to establish clear and impenetrable boundaries. I used to feel guilty for this kind of “cutting off” in relationships, but I have learned that we do have the right to be safe and to be honored and respected for who we are as a person. We also have the right to healthy intimate relationships and the right to say “no” to those things not supportive of that right. Is this just another example of “beware a woman scorned?” Maybe…but at this place in my journey, it is the best that I can do.
What is the face you show to the outside world?
What are the deeper truths that you hide within you, in secret?
How can you be present to what you hold in the light and what you hide in the shadows?
Authentic Freedom Ministries