In the last blog post, I shared how I spent the first couple weeks of my spiritual retreat angry at how at a Buddhist monastery.
I was angry because there were all these ways I felt other people, particularly my partner, were trying to make me feel something I wasn’t - and were angry that I wouldn’t shift quickly.
Granted, they wanted me to be happy - and thought they had to do all these things to get me out of my funk and feeling happy (news flash: emotions don’t work that way!)
But it was still dehumanizing to me because they weren’t respecting my right to be where I was.
Coercion in service of happiness is still coercion.
I was deep in gently noticing and patiently acknowledging the anger for days and days and days…
...Not trying to change it or make it go away
…Not making myself or them wrong for me feeling it
…Just letting the feelings arise and flow out of me
Then the Anger Suddenly Vanished
One day, I was doing sitting meditation, noticing the anger, when I felt it drop away at another thought that entered.
“I had done it again. I had silenced myself again.”
Now, I had known before that I have a default tendency to self-silence myself as a misguided attempt to keep myself safe (which sometimes is appropriate but not at all times!)
I had even talked about it with my partner right before I had left for the monastery - and how I was committing to more sharing as he was also committing to more gentle holding space for me.
However, this realization felt different.
While I had known intellectually that I was self-silencing before, this was the first time I had really energetically acknowledged and embraced the fact that I had self-silenced.
And thereby, I had been complicit in my own dehumanization.
I deeply got on a visceral level how I had co-created this dynamic.
And similar to my anger, I was able to acknowledge it without any judgement, any shame, or blame for myself.
I could just see it clearly for what it was - a way I had given up my power…
Which meant I could also reclaim my power by doing the opposite.
And so I started to do so by taking responsibility for my actions - by talking gently with the hurt one inside (kinda like an inner child).
….The one who had born the brunt of the pain of self-silencing.
….The one who had believed she needed to remain quiet to keep me safe.
….The one who didn’t trust me to protect her or myself.
I told her I was sorry and that I hadn’t realized what was happening at the time. But that I did now and I was so sorry about how much my lack of awareness had hurt her.
I told her I would do better now. That I would pay more attention and be more aware of when I started to leave my body in situations. I promised that once I realized I was leaving my body, I’d come back to take care of her.
As I gently shared my feelings and made these commitments to her, the hurt one - who I named “My Precious One” - began to trust me more. And I could feel her relaxing inside of me.
So I also took her out to play! And drew, played with the dogs, and enjoyed the sunshine together.
…Never making myself wrong for doing any of these things.
…Never trying to make myself feel a certain way
…Just letting myself be deeply in the present moment with her
…Letting arise whatever was coming up for me in my body
And Then The Compassion Turned Outward
Me sharing my feelings and taking responsibility for my actions had generated a lot of compassion for myself.
I could see how I had been ignorant of my own pain and self-silencing - and how that had caused even more pain.
One day, I thought of my partner and that compassion flowed toward him as well.
I could see how he had been doing his best too and like me, he had been doing it unskillfully some times.
His ignorance has hurt me and he too was hurt seeing me pull back when he reached out to help.
As that compassion flowed naturally toward him, I felt at peace with our relationship and open to co-creating with him.
Excited for this shift in feelings, I let him know that via text.
And then the next day, promptly regretted it because…
I Realized What I Wanted - And I Began To Grieve
I had gone to bed the night before, setting the intention of knowing what I want.
And...I woke up that morning with “I don’t want to be in a relationship.”
We had been talking about getting married and having kids and while I hadn’t been ready for it, I thought that in time, I would want that.
But I woke up with the deep energetic realization that my spiritual path did not include a romantic relationship.
And that had been precisely what I had been scared of and why I hadn’t been allowing myself to know what I wanted - despite spending months listening for it at the same time.
I had wanted to want to be in a relationship, since it was a great one in so many ways and my partner was so very loving and supportive.
And to be real, it’s what’s expected of us. It would have been easier in many ways to go down that traditional path.
But being single as a young person because of your commitment to spirituality is not conventional, supported, or looked well upon by many people (aka my family.)
…I grieved the loss of that desire for a relationship
…I grieved the hurt my realization would have on my beloved partner
…I grieved the loss of that future I thought I had wanted but didn’t
Even writing this now, I feel the grief come up in my chest and tears roll down my cheek.
I had not wanted what I had deeply wanted - a life dedicated to spiritual practice in a world designed to tear us away from our spiritual wholeness.
But it's what I deeply wanted, it's who I already was.
So I grieved - and thankfully was in a wonderfully supportive place for grieving.
Because the grief too passed…
And Then I Felt Clear - And Free
I woke up the next day feeling clear of any strong feelings.
I felt like the calm after a storm has gone through, leaving nothing of the dark clouds and stormy winds and rain.
Just a cool, calm freshness in the air and gentle rays of sunshine coming through.
I could breathe deeply - and easily.
And so I did, savoring each moment of ease and peace.
Of course that didn’t last long either!
Because then came….
In that clearing, I received a vision for what I was being called to create for the world.
Which I won’t tell you about right now - but will in the next post!
Just another cliffhanger 🙂
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Sandra’s the Founder of Re-Becoming Human and Everyday Feminism. She’s committed to living into spiritual and social liberation in each and every moment. Sandra shares her (often painfully earned) learnings from her ongoing journey of healing and co-creation so that your journey may move faster and have less pain and more joy!