Happy (almost) New Year loves,
Hope you've been taking care the last while. It's been quite some time! I've been writing predominantly for Elephant Journal lately and so haven't blogged on here, but with the year coming to an end I've been feeling super reflective, and there's no where to get as personal as one's own blog. So, here we are.
Like many of you, I tend to end my year with a review—at times writing it down, at other times via meditation. And so I was thinking a lot about specific prompts, one being about the biggest risks I took this year.
This stuck out to me as 2021 was, for me, a year of massive shifts, which only came about through the "risks" I took.
I put these in air quotes because in retrospect, they don't feel risky at all. It feels riskier not to have pursued change. Because, the thing is, the changes I made had only to do with moving into deeper alignment.
Still, when you shed skin and shift into a truer version of yourself, it can feel scary. It can feel risky.
What I was mostly scared of was judgement, I realize now.
The path I'm taking—leaning into the healing arts as I am with Reiki and spiritually minded coaching—is not typical, nor "accepted" in many circles. And for a long time I feared what others would think.
I come from a very conservative family after all, and I've met many people who have said outright that they find this all to be some sort of voodoo. Cue: me throwing my desires to pursue this path, my rightful path, into my shadow. And getting so stuck.
In 2020, I tried to throw myself off the cliff and pursue this work, but it didn't stick. Why: I'd shocked my nervous system. (This was when I pulled myself off social media and hermitted for a month.)
But eventually I came back to this work, as we do when our souls are really calling out for a certain path. This time, I took it slower. I think this is important for so many of us sensitive folk. We need to give ourselves time to make change, especially if that involves bearing your heart, your soul to the world.
What also helped me stay loyal to my path this time was realizing how to cope with those I perceived to be judging me.
Since, again, this was a huge portion of what was making up my shadow.
What I found...
Some were judging me. And I let them go. Or else draw boundaries and keep my commitment to myself to continue to show up as I truly am in spite of their acceptance.
Some others though weren't judging me at all, and I had to realize that not only was a lot of that my fearful projection onto them, but also, though I thought I was hiding a lot of my true self from these people, I wasn't. In other words: they already saw me for who I am, and they had already accepted me—before I had even accepted myself. That was a beautiful shock.
Ultimately, to get here, of course, I had to stop judging myself and fully embrace who I am.
This is a work in progress, and I feel it's one that lasts a lifetime—in the sense that we can always accept ourselves on a deeper level. But still, I had to get to a certain level of embrace with my true self in order to let people go, draw boundaries, and show up as myself no matter what.
Some ways I did this was by testing myself. If I met a new person, I told them what I was doing, where I was going, what I was studying, etc. Versus, in the past, I'd hide a lot of it out of shame-fuelled embarassment.
I also made a point of speaking to those I was previously nervous around (people I'd put on a pedestal) about all of the work I was diving into.
And while the strength to do all of this has to come from within, I will add that what helped this process was, as always, community. In the past 2 years, I really worked on bolstering my spiritual community.
Having conversations with kindred spirits on the regular works wonders when it comes to centering yourself in your true essence.
The good news is that while a lot of this can be uncomfortable in the beginning, it gets easier, and becomes, ultimately, joyful, liberating.
The more you experience life as your true self, the more of this unencumbered existence you crave. You find that it really is possible to lead a life of more ease, less resistance, and that you have been designed for that. It is a misconception that struggle = morally superior. As Lao Tzu said, "Force only causes resistance."
And finally, what always helps me when I find it hard to work on myself is the reminder that this isn't just about me/you. This about the global collective. It's true that when we heal, we are able to help others heal, be that through direct service or through inspiration.
So, my loves, this has been what 2021 was taught me. I hope you have a moment to reflect for yourself on what this year has brought you, and, if you so need the gentle nudge toward accepting yourself more fully, I hope this has brought you any degree of aide and/or encouragement.