The thought occurred to me yesterday that I hadn’t yet written for the month of June. Life for us has been unfolding steadily, slowly. I’m in a season where I am being directed to learn new things.
I’ve spent some time this year reading and encouraging my inner child to heal.
I’m no psychologist or psychoanalyst, but I am drawn to those who are.
I am curious and fascinated by what makes humans do and say and behave the way they do. I became aware of this fascination when I turned 24 and experienced a spiritual awakening– what I would now call, twelve years later, my first awakening.
I now wonder if these awakening experiences are simply my own soul experiencing and observing what it is like to be human, open to transformation, collaborating with Spirit, working together to create this human anew. In stages and over the span of a lifetime, perhaps.
I once heard a story about a man married to a woman, who underwent several transformations in her lifetime. By the time their relationship had come to a close the husband said it felt for him like he had married 8 different women!
I love this story because somehow I relate to that woman. She emerged from her cocoon 7 times in her lifetime! I have only begun to emerge a second time. I wonder if I will experience this five more times. It is a fascinating thought full of wonder.
For now, I will be here. And I will continue to slowly emerge from my cocoon. I might have grown attached to the chrysalis this time. It is so beautiful, I don’t want it to break open yet.
She opens her front door and steps outside. Pausing, she breathes in the fresh spring air around her. She started taking regular walks through her neighborhood, leaving her phone unused in her pocket most days. She walks with the intention to connect with nature and the present moment. Today, she notices how much her perspective has shifted since the start of the year and she pauses inwardly to give thanks for growth. Walking has turned into a spiritual practice for her, a time of deep reflection and communion with God. Today, she feels grounded and at peace and she gives thanks for being present to her emotions. She remembers that today is the Full Moon Supermoon and remembers the spiritual practice she learned recently from a book she has been reading. So she presses in to the moment, asking herself to reflect on the past two weeks.
She has been releasing a lot of fear. Love invites her to let go of fear, but it hasn’t been easy. Her heart knows to trust in Love and this trust has somehow begun to take root and grow within her. This time of reflection has been healing for her soul and she closes out her spiritual practice by opening her heart, making room for the mysterious unfolding of life.
Penelope and Billy have been friends from the time she was 3. They love to spend time together, and invite her to join them all the time. She joined in for many years until she started to realize what was really going on and began to discern some things about these two that she never realized before. So yesterday, she started to call them out. Penelope and Billy didn’t like it at all. Not one bit. But because of that reaction, she knew she was on track and is now using her voice to call them out when they show up telling her stories that scare her. She is using her voice to challenge them and they don’t like it, but the stronger the reaction of the dynamic duo, the more powerful her voice becomes. She is realizing that she can reach down into herself to draw from the Truth that lives in her already.
Andy and I went to a show the other night called Say Yes – A Liturgy of Not Giving Up On Yourself, by artist Scott Erickson. At the beginning of the show, Scott defines the word liturgy to mean story of the people. His show was created around this definition and in collaboration with others, he tells a story through visual effects, poetry, art, and the lived experiences of others both good and bad. It was a lovely show, packed full of healing messages for my soul. One thing he said that stayed with me was how he personifies his fear, calling it a name, and therefore decreasing its power significantly. So I decided to put this idea into practice for my own life and that is how Billy and Penelope came to exist. Penelope has existed for me for a little while, but she has evolved from being the voice of the critic in my head to simply being the voice of the false self, varying with degrees of intensity in the energetic stories she tells me about who I am, what I am now seeing as false stories. This story is about how I am learning that Penelope and Billy are codependent and can’t live without each other. So when they show up, I can name them for who they are and see what is really going on in me.
Penelope tells me that I have nothing of importance to contribute to the already loud and noisy environment that is the internet. Penelope thinks she is so clever. And she is. But she spews vicious, critical words at me. She must be so bitter. And for good reason. Her husband left her to go off on some life adventure into the great, vast unknown. I feel like Odysseus sometimes. I identify with him and his journey, because that’s what the journey of the soul feels like to me. I digress. I just found myself overlapping my own story with a mythical one. Oops.
Penelope. Oh, Penelope. You are a loud voice in my head. You tell me things and persuade me to believe them. And I do! I am so gullible, I believe everything you say. But every time I believe you, I discover that you are not telling me the whole truth. You are a deceptive little creature, stuck in that small section of my brain with no escape. It’s no wonder your voice is loudest to me. You are desperate to be free. That makes two of us.
The internet is so loud, you’re right about that. It feels like every time I sign in to Facebook or Twitter (that account was short lived), that I am walking into a room of a million people, viciously attacking one another, competing violently just to take the stage for a small moment of soapbox fame. And once that fame subsides, the fight begins again. There is no rest from it.
But you know what, Penelope? Even though you do speak some bits of truth to me, I decided that your voice is no longer the voice I am to listen to when it comes to decisions about who I am and what I want to speak into this loud world. I’ve decided that I no longer consult your voice. I know you will always be there, and now that I can identify you for what you are, it helps me to identify who I am, too. You are vicious, girl, but I’m over it. Your petty drama is no longer enticing. Let’s see how you react to that moving forward. Maybe if I ignore you, you will realize how small you really are. And maybe that will actually set you free.
There once was a girl who loved the woods. She discovered that the forest had a language all its own, something that drew her and connected her, but she didn’t understand it. So she spent day after day exploring, gathering sticks, sitting quietly by the small stream nestled between the layers of dirt and clay stacked together, the rich, green grass alive on the surface. She studied the blades of grass intensely. There were so many strewn together, once scattered seed, now mature grass that beckoned her to sit down and spend time there.
Each day she spent there, she fell in love over and over again. Life was so abundant, beautiful and mysterious.
That little girl spent summer after summer retreating into the woods. It happened slowly, but little by little, she found her attention being directed more and more to life beyond the forest. So she explored for a while “out there” to see if anything could capture her attention. She never really felt like she could be herself “out there”, though. She tried, but seemed to get tossed around by everyone else wanting her to grow up and be responsible and be someone else. It seemed easier to just go along with what everyone else wanted her to do, so she did that for a while. She even believed things about life that seemed to guarantee safety and security.
And then one day, she had her first experience with intense grief and pain. That was the day everything changed. And every day for the next decade, she felt like she was dying a slow and painful death. Grief gave way to intense feelings of anger, confusion, resentment, cynicism. And then one day, she realized she wasn’t literally dying, although it surely felt like it. She realized that she had to experience what it was like to die before she actually dies. And now she knows that death and darkness are part of life and light and goodness. She knew it, but she was naive. Experiencing it has changed everything for her.
And then she realized that who she is was hidden deep inside her all along. Who she is is who she will be.