In my first post, I targeted a few of my personal barriers, such as pride, fear and finding my voice. This reminds me of old wisdom.
A Wise Perspective
In shamanic societies, when you came to a medicine man or woman unhappy, demotivated or depressed, they would ask you the following: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? They would explore these with you and empower you by seeing where your soul lies and what makes it smile. I danced most of my life. I have loved dance in some form or another for as long as I can remember. Thankfully, I was never self-conscious about my dancing; not in the sense that it became debilitating.
Stolen Joy and Burn Out
I was very sad when I thought I couldn’t make a career out of my love for dance, and I suspended it for my university years. Those were some of the flattest years of my life. I studied, I planned my career, I partied a little. I did not dance. My heart did not beat to a song in 5 years. When I realized that the emptiness was because I missed dance, I signed up to belly dancing, contemporary and swing. When I commit, I go all out!
I eventually settled on swing, but soon fell into my competitive patterns. My heart broke when it hit me all over again that I couldn’t possibly ever be the best; there’s always new blood!
Through all the busy-ness, the self-abnegation, the denial, the negative self-talk, the restraint, the impossible standards, I hadn’t realized how my health had been affected. I was so controlled and composed that I have a hard time letting loose. I tried so hard for years (and still do sometimes) to keep it together; for work, for my loved ones, for the sake of success, that I fell ill. In 2012, I burnt out. The flood gates opened and years of tears have been catching up with me since. I mourn how much of mySelf I’ve lost.
People wonder how one burns out. The answer is, too much of anything, even restraint, can lead you to the end of your rope. I suppose that’s the spirit of the expression “enough rope to hang yourself” came from. When I told people I burned out, I often got a surprised reaction. “How could a twenty-some year old burn out”? Was my job that demanding? Probably. But those who know me I’m very strong. The issue was that I’d been strong too long, for the wrong reasons and hurt myself in the process. Striving to be perfect, seems like an obvious way to fail. Striving to satisfy other people seems like a recipe for disappointment. Working to fit a mold, meet expectations, better yourself to other people’s standards or simply, their idea of you, is absolutely, undeniably exhausting. Imagine upwards of twenty years of “living up to XYZ”. Anyone would agree that continuing this, in full awareness, must be self-destructive: Self-destructive.
In the process of repressing one trait, one emotion, one habit, one idea or one value to benefit another that does not honour us or that is so foreign to us we do not recognize any part of ourselves in it, we then deny who we are. In that moment, with that decision, we’re destroying that part of ourselves. Hope isn’t lost on one decision. We’re in constant evolution and we reinvent ourselves every day. The deeper constant is who we are beyond the face we present to the world; the true Self. This self is recognizable in our awareness, in being. This being said, through decisions that go against our true Selves by means of selling ourselves out is an act that taxes our energy like no other thing. Denying who we are deep inside is a hypocritical form of negative energy. It’s counterproductive, but we think of it as an effort toward the collective, or toward compromise, or to be “reasonable”. The only reason I need is to BE.
Today, I show up for mySelf as often as I can and practice intention through yoga, dance, writing, photography or daily tasks. I practice forgiving myself. I ask for help. I listen from my heart. I try to show others glimpses of my Self (Bright Star). Most of all, my Wolf totem helps me howl to the Moon, to soothe my soul.
What have you overcome to find yourself? How have you recovered from a hurtful situation?