I recently had a dear family loss, and found myself in a place of humility…asking for help to be able to make the trip to the funeral services. I’m truly grateful for everyone who prayed for me and my family, and for those who loved on us financially and made it even possible for me and my mom to get home to say our goodbyes AND to reconnect with family and friends we hadn’t seen in decades. I hate that it took death for this kind of reconnection to happen, but am grateful for the reconnections that took place.
Two seemingly random and unrelated lessons (although I know they’re less “random” than I’m able to articulate right now) came up for me during the trip, and I intend to nurture and implement them more consistently…
1. It’s okay to take up space. I’ve shared some aspect of this in one way or another before, but it bears repeating for those who struggle with this notion…and the MYTH of needing to shrink in order to “politely” fit into ANY scheme or landscape. One of the generous offerings that made the trip possible was one of shelter while we were there. It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL home in a more remote area outside of Chicago, that was offered to us exclusively for the time that we were there, with the very clear welcome “You’re welcome to ANYTHING that’s there; please make yourself at home and ENJOY!” I knew this person was sincere and wasn’t just saying one thing while really meaning “you can stay, but don’t stretch out ‘too much’ and don’t get ‘too comfortable’!” AND YET, I found myself trying to “remember” how things were set up, so I could leave the space EXACTLY as I found it, and not be an inconvenience in ANY way. I spent half the time trying to tread lightly and not leave any real evidence of our presence, so as to not inconvenience the homeowner in any way by way of having to do ANYTHING to resume inhabiting the home. And on the surface, this is the polite and respectful thing to do…leave a space the way you find it. It’s just courtesy, right? Except it wasn’t courtesy so much as it was feeling like this place was something I never would have been able to afford on my own, and I didn’t feel fully deserving of being in such a beautiful space AND FULLY ENJOYING all of its amenities “just because” it was offered. It revealed a glaring flaw in my true belief of every affirmation of abundance, favor, and increase that I’ve ever “claimed”…but when it actually presented itself, I didn’t believe I was actually worthy or deserving of experiencing it in all of its fullness. I actually broke down in the shower the second morning once I realized what was happening…then I felt a reassuring sensation that–if it were words, would have said, “You’re worthy of this gift of beauty. You deserve to live in this energy. Take it all in, and become familiar with what this feels like; if you want it, you CAN walk in it. The only thing stopping you is your belief.” HEAR ME. This was NOT about the “stuff”; this was about the experience and how I saw myself [not] fitting into MY OWN DREAMS! There’s much more I could say about this, but I want to move on to the next lesson…
2. Honor what you need to thrive. Because I’ve lived in a constant state of working to shrink, not bring unnecessary attention to myself, and not inconveniencing others with my being or presence, I’ve often ignored my needs and instead worked myself to exhaustion to rise to whatever environment I’ve found myself in…where best case scenario means I’m simply “ineffective” but seen as a “team player” who’s at least “trying”, but more often these efforts are to my detriment in some way, at least psychologically (perpetuating the myth of not being “enough” and needing to “work harder” to “rise to the occasion”). Again, on the surface, these latter common ideas seem noble and feed the notion of having a “good work ethic”, or being “adaptable”. In and of themselves, these things are not necessarily bad, but when they come out of a need to “appear” to be something other than who I am and at the expense of tending to legitimate needs and accommodations that would make my efforts more effective and accomplish the true goals (rather than constantly feeling the need to apologize for what doesn’t work for me), it’s toxic and ultimately debilitating. I’ve encouraged countless people to stretch out into their fullness unapologetically…while USUALLY diminishing myself, and apologetically mousing out a request for myself BARELY, and ONLY when I don’t see myself being able to realistically overcome whatever hurdle I “should” be able to jump over in order to produce an acceptable result. THIS IS INSANITY.
And while it makes for a really cute movie ending to say that I’m over it, and I’m now fully aware of how ludicrous this thinking is and I’m going to be completely different…I know better. Awareness does NOT equal transformation. Awareness does NOT change habitual behavior. Awareness does NOT lead to better choices. All awareness does is bring into my consciousness what a lifetime of subconscious activity has created. It’s up to me to challenge this programming and internalized messages of inadequacy and perpetual apologetic living. People will treat us however we teach them to… If we teach them that we’re always going to find a way to fit or “make it work”, they’ll expect us to do just that. If we teach them that there are certain things that are needed in order for us to do/be our best, they’ll either be able to accommodate us or not…but we get to honor ourselves in the process.
I know adopting these ways of thinking AND BEING will be a challenge for me, but I’ve seen what NOT doing these things yields…and I’m ready to shoot a different shot. So I’m challenging myself to aim higher and honor myself as I create what I TRULY want, rather than settle for whatever will “fit” what I’ve blindly taught others to unrealistically expect of me. I AM FULLY WORTHY OF THIS.
PHEW!!! Chile, this whole healing journey is SOMETHING ELSE!