Frayed minds and heavy hearts
Day 329/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
Not everyone experiences life this way, yet a good number of people do. Maybe you're trying to make something of your life. Maybe you're searching for the perfect partner. Maybe you're trying to keep yet another relationship together and it seems to be going the same way as the ones before it.
Year after year, decade after decade and you don't seem to be making any progress. You feel like giving up. You conclude that there really is something wrong with you. You begin to tell yourself that you're not cut out for this...relationships, career, business... fill in your context.
At 21 I began my search for happiness. There was definitely a dearth of joy in my life and now that I had escaped my home, I wanted to live a joyful life.
At 31 I wasn't any closer to happiness than I was a decade before.
At 41 I was beginning to despair. If there was something wrong with me why couldn't I change it? Why couldn't I figure it out. The therapists that I visited didn't resonate with me so I thought I could do it alone. Nope, that hadn't work either.
At 45 I finally decided that I wasn't cut out for relationships of any kind, and I began to carve out a life on my own, telling myself that as I wasn't going to be supported emotionally, financially nor any other way, I had better figure out how to grow old alone. My son was then 5 years old. I'd concentrate on raising him and worry about the rest when he left home.
Around that time I began to have breakthroughs. Isn't it the way when you finally stop searching, the answers show up. Well, the complete answers didn't show up however I made huge strides towards understanding myself.
Until then I didn't realise that I could write a list of things that felt good to me and do at least one every single day. There was still a belief running that I needed someone else to go out with, to have coffee with, to eat a meal or watch a movie with.
That was the beginning of questioning the beliefs that drove my behaviours. Before long I discovered that I had a lot of beliefs that weren't exactly supporting me. That lead me to questioning everything and also to being curious about my own point of view, not some view that I had inherited or adopted from someone else.
This is how my self-discovery finally began. It became an exciting pass-time to explore my thoughts, my feelings, my perspective, my way. And it was liberating.
There was enormous grief as I reflected on lost time. Grief that I had to work through and sometimes it arises in me as I reflect even today. Yet this is my life and I've made enormous shifts and changes. I'm happy.
What follows is a reflection that crossed my social media timeline this morning. It says everything about what I've discovered about those of us who simply cannot make life work and can't figure out why.
Trauma in a person, taken out of context for a period of time, looks like personality.
Trauma in a family, taken out of context for a period of time, looks like family traits.
Trauma in a people, taken out of context for a period of time, looks like culture.
by Resma Menakem
This is my experience, and if you resonate with what I've written, this will also be yours.
I didn't understand my upbringing as traumatic. What I now understand is that trauma leaves its indelible mark. Behaviours and ways of being that may range from lack of trust to isolation and over protection, that looks like a personality or a family trait and for this reason we take it for granted.
But these behaviours are evidence of trauma. And these behaviours do not support an wholistic environment in which to raise children. They stamp their mark on those children and leave them searching for they don't know what.
The good news is that we understand this now. Trauma is the next big thing that everyone is coming to terms with and that means we are becoming more knowledgable and able to treat it effectively in the current generation. Yes you can experience healing from this type of inherited or ancestral trauma.
My greatest healing came with the very last module of my Masters degree, the module on Complex Trauma. The light bulbs went off and I finally had the answers that I was searching for.
Since then I have visited my "not good enough" story, reached and experienced the existential shift that comes with the realisation that it wasn't me all along. Can you imagine that feeling fo finally getting it, not jsut cognitively, but in every cell in your body.
I am enough. I am good enough. And so are you. It wasn't about me. And it's not about you either.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.