I guess it would be more than obvious for me to say I’ve had writers block for a while now. I started writing about five different blogs but never could find that special oomph to finish them. It feels like I’ve had a “life block” I suppose you could say. I’ve hit a stump. A big, fat, giant, five hundred pound rock that I’m pushing up against a huge mountain. A wall. A wall so big it feels like a personalized Great Wall of China just for me. Yet, each step has been etched with a challenge for change.
And I’m staring at the steps asking myself, am I ready to move forward? More fearfully, am I ready to look back? Because in order to charge forward, we must find the strength to make peace with our pasts that confine us.
I found this wall about two months ago after acknowledging that it was time to release a long-life relationship with someone who knew ALL the itty bitty pieces that make me, me. Breakups have a way of knocking you on your bum, especially when you didn’t see it coming. Someone I’ve held very close to my heart for eighteen years attacked my character and made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for them. Like I wasn’t good enough for God. They could no longer love the mold that made me, me. I needed to fit into their mold. Their idea of what is “right.” Maybe this person thought they were “helping” by pointing out my wounds, shortcomings, and things I needed to change…it wasn’t. I had to sit there and find the courage to realize this person whom I had fully accepted and unconditionally loved for 18 years didn’t accept (maybe never had) who I really was our entire friendship. Still swallowing that one. I had to find the courage to forgive. Even harder, I had to find the courage to walk away.
This break up led to the stupid and insecure feelings we sometimes have after someone’s hurt us. I began to question my life, my uniqueness, my choices. I was by far extremely hard on myself. However, I slowly came to terms there were cycles and patterns I have created and all they led to was this ongoing circle of yuckiness. I was not where I wanted to be, or more importantly needed to be for my wellbeing. I was taking steps backwards instead of forwards. I needed to break them. I needed to change.
I’ve been aware of this wall I need to tackle for much longer than two months. I’ve slowly chipped away at it with a fairy sized chisel because I’ve been lacking the strength and courage to run full force with a sledge hammer screaming, “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!” Moving forward is scary, yes, but looking back is crazy acorn nuts scarier. Opening old wounds and finally facing them is terrifying because, in essence, you remember how much they stung the first time around. You have to ask yourself, am I strong enough to fight through this? Can we find the strength to forgive? Can we give up our fears, our thoughts, our feelings of shame, abandonment, anger?
I slowly began to shut the world out. I was hurt, depressed, and lost, partly because of the lost relationship, but more because I knew I’ve stared at this wall once before, except it was two years ago. I was younger, naive, and not fully aware of what exactly needed to be healed. I was so frustrated with myself. Why couldn’t I get past this? Why was I not able to let go of parts of my past? And I realized if it ain’t healed, it’ll haunt your asssana.
My personal practice diminished. I stopped writing. I hardened. I stopped singing in the shower. Slept way too much. Cried often (which needed to happen, obviously.) I basically shut out everything I mindfully knew would help me heal. I tried to change my mold. I let myself become this version of someone I was not familiar with. Why? Well, why a lot of people allow themselves to do it. We get so comfortable with just being mediocre. We try to numb out the pain and put off the process of healing for another day. There’s only so long a human soul can hold hurt. There’s only so long your light can burn until your pain has extinguished it’s flame.
So with myself in a funk I decided it was time to change the scenery externally. I had the urge to examine my life in a place beyond what I knew. Plus my brother was homesick and I needed to finally make a decision on school. So… I headed for the Windy City of sweet Chicago. I prayed that something would spark my thirst to write again. And this time it wasn’t for my readers, it was for me.
Let me tell you… Chicago gave me that life surging feeling back. Five days spent with my best friend and brother, Paul, taking on all the best restaurants and sky scrappers with freezing noses and cheeks put me right back. It was a week of Mrs. Doubtfire quoting, The Barefoot Contessa, way too many episodes of Criminal Minds before bed… terrible nightmares. Heart to heart talks, lots of walking and lots of singing, window shopping, pretending to be super classy at super classy places. What a city that place is! I fell in love with the many yoga loving addicts, midwestern sweethearts, and a city that shined oh so bright. I can’t tell you how good it felt to laugh. And not just giggle but have tears rolling down your face, belly aching from laughing so hard. Paul has a way of always making people laugh.
I realized how good it felt to just BE in the moment when we were sitting at the top of Chicago in the Hancock building. We could NOT stop laughing. Maybe it was the wine and horrible dessert, but I believe it was more of the fact we were so happy to be in the same city as each other. It was one of those times when you forget there’s a restaurant filled with 50+ more people. Realizing there were people around, I noticed a mother sitting at the table next to us smiling and softly laughing at how much we were laughing!
I loved it! Funny how happiness is contagious?
The weekend came to an end, so with a heavy heart I said bye to my two little four- legged nephews and my twinkie and boarded the plane back to big ‘ole DFW. And surely, that little message I had been praying for came to me. I looked around and saw another pilot along for the flight heading home maybe to his family or maybe not. I had a moment of sonder. If you don’t know what that means… look it up. And I wondered, what things he had done to get to where he was in this moment. What was his story? And in that moment I realized just how unique we all are. Every thought, decision, dream, hope, love, mistake, triumph makes us so diversely organic. You are fearfully and wonderfully made- Psalm 139:14. What a waste it would be to try and fit into someones mold for you. Your life has a sole purpose no one else can fulfill.
As I watched the man with my new revelations I was taken back to the summer of 2011. I have no idea why it prompted this memory but I believe I finally grasped the message my Poppa was trying to relay when he had me help gut an 1800’s house. And here it is: Something can seem so broken, so useless, sometimes it can look as if there is no hope or reason to “fix” it, to re-create. Unexpectedly, you find a tiny piece hidden, deep within the house- deep within your soul. It sparks you to forge forward. It brings you hope to accept the past, all of it’s cracks, cobwebs, rusty nails, bumps, and breakdowns. You decide to use history as a building block for the new stronger house, for the new stronger you.
I’m writing this because I want you to know, you can. I can. We all have a past. And you have to be the one that’s going to decide if you’re going to allow it to make you stronger. You are not your parents, your friends, your brothers or sisters. You are not your mistakes. You are not your fears. You are not the shame that binds you. You may have had people abandon you but you have not abandoned yourself. And I promise you, there is someone special that hasn’t either. God, Great Spirit, Mother Nature, the Divine, the Universe, whatever you believe them to be- I promise you, they have been holding your hand even when you didn’t feel it.
In the words of Frances Mayes, “Life offers you a thousand chances… all you have to do is take one.” I’m ready to run with that sledge hammer and I hope you find the courage to as well. Because the truth is at some point you have to make peace with your past and realize it’s time to release the load that God never meant for you to carry.