The other day, I had a business conversation and it ended with an agreement. Later, I felt unsettled, panicky and had difficulty calming myself down. I realized, I didn’t assert my wants and needs; I mainly focused on how this business transaction could benefit the other person. After talking to a friend, I realized what I needed, which was completely different from the original agreement.
How many times as a child, teen and as an adult have I had that internal guidance system go off within me... anxiousness, overwhelm, unsettledness... but yet, just believing the problem is me, I’m wrong, I’m perverted, I need to change... because ultimately, those uncomfortable feelings are "from the devil anyway." I was always told that emotions and feelings are the devil's playground. I am thankful that i no longer believe "the devil made me do it" or "the devil has been hounding me."
How many times have I abandoned myself.. who I am and what i intrinsically believe? I know now that my emotional guidance system is a gift yet i was brainwashed to disregard it, downplay it, ignore it and berate it.
It's no wonder I developed IBS. It's no wonder I stayed in the religious circles. It's no wonder I attended and STAYED in the "pray away the gay" Exodus International program for so long.... and all the while, dying on the inside.
Why do I continue to work and do things I don’t like to do... or continue to hang around friends who don’t feed me... or why do I keep trying to save the world at my own expense?
It's no wonder I am so tired... and need to eat to have energy... need eat to reward myself or placate myself!
Time for many changes.
I am grateful for my emotions because if I feel anything other than peace, I know that my life is out of balance in some way (relationships, work, how I am spending my time, etc etc.). I choose peace.
“Choosing to step into the light sounds like an easy choice. I mean who wouldn't want to play in the sun opposed to stay in the dark. Right? Uh, right. And yet many of us can recall times, perhaps even now, when the darkness felt, if not comfortable, familiar and safe…Stepping into the light, while ultimately rewarding, is also scary. No longer can you hide who you are or what you want. When you move into the light, you are seen, not so much by others, but rather by yourself. No more subterfuge, no more camouflage. You see you…This conscious choice to recognize yourself, includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Stepping into the light is honoring the parts of us that we buried to make other people comfortable.” Buried Treasure, Shakti in the Mountains Newsletter, May 2014
I wrote this in 2014 but it still applies. :)
There is such a thing as law of reflection when it comes to light and mirrors. I never understood physics so I can’t explain it scientifically. I was a psych major so I will analyze this in terms that make sense to me.
When I was a kid, I loved passing out “gospel” tracks, especially putting them on car windows. It was my mission to save “the lost” by sharing the “way of salvation.” I put these words/phrases in quotations because I was taught everyone without Jesus was going to hell and my legalistic religion provided the only way to heaven. (I question how this mindset can be considered Good News since it is contrary to what the angels declared as recorded in Luke 2:9-11.)
More recently, when I see tracts lying around grocery stores or on my car window, I have gotten angry and disgusted. At work, a customer handed me a tract after I helped her. “The nerve,” I thought. She may have been acting out of love, but my internal reaction was, “How arrogant of her to think that I don’t have a relationship with Spirit of love.”
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Isn’t this woman reflecting the arrogance in me that proclaims to know truth for others? The light that bounced off of her exposed the shadow within me.
I find it very interesting that I have worked closely with "religious fundamentalist" women. Even though these ladies are wonderful, hard working ladies who have made my job easier in many ways, their religious mindset, one I once had, induces a fierce reaction deep within me. Again, I perceive they are mirroring my unhealed layers of belief systems associated with religion. As I heal and forgive myself, I can love and accept them for who they are and what they believe.
But why was it that one of my co workers bothered me so? At first, I thought it was just because she "rubbed me the wrong way."
One night, I went to dinner with this co-worker. The food was tasty but I had difficulty swallowing her opinions. She explained how being gay is against Scripture and that there is a program (Exodus – oh my yes, I am very familiar with this organization) to help people who are gay. I was furious. I shared that I lived, experienced, cried, pleaded and begged God to make me straight. I voiced that after I had invested many years in the mentioned program, it folded because the founder admitted that therapy and prayer never changed ones sexual orientation 99.9% of the time.
I struggled for years to adhere to her way of thinking and it about killed me. She had an agenda, which may have come from a loving and pure heart, but I believed she couldn’t hear me.
This experience reminded me of when my brother “took me out for coffee” (even though I probably paid my own way and I hate coffee) when I was 33 and living with a girlfriend. Did he really think that his persuasion and warning was going to fix me and set me on the “straight and narrow?” Again, I can't judge his motive, but I perceived boldness and arrogance! (Gratefully, my brother and I have worked through some of these hard issues having a greater compassion for each other.)
Mirror, mirror on the wall. The sad thing is, I have had similar conversations with others. I thought my answers were right for anyone and everyone I met. I now realize that this exterior self righteous crutch hides my beautiful vulnerable essence lurking in the shadows.
Robert Farrar Capon said, "Grace cannot prevail...until our lifelong certainty that someone is keeping score has run out of steam and collapsed."
I had been keeping score on a big note pad of my mind and I have a long list of others’ opinions, judgments, errors, mistakes, bad judgments, vengeful actions scribbled in anger and tears. I realized I have a longer register of my personal blunders. Hmmm, so if I am to show grace to myself and others, I have to continue to crumple up those note pads and let them go. Keeping score and choosing to continue to be around judgmental people are two different concepts. I can love myself enough to confront and/or walk away from those who are willfully hurtful.
It takes a lot of energy and strength to be willing to step into the light and take a good look at what is revealed. I am thankful for Spirit gifting me with these incidents of learning and healing. Now I can love these newly exposed aspects of me, forgive and release the energy they once held, and shift… make adjustments to live in love and peace.