Guest Post: Journey to Rescue My Voice

by Sarah on February 25, 2015

On the blog today, one of my courageous clients is sharing her story.  It’s an epic, for sure.  A modern-day “Hero’s journey.”  I encourage you to take the time to experience her journey of transformation.  I believe you’ll see glimpses of your own struggles, and triumphs, in it, as well.

This last year has been a whirlwind of mini discoveries and journeys that have accumulated to big moments. But to know where I am now, I must go back to what I have experienced throughout this journey. Struggles and triumphs. Times I did not know if I could make it through and always did. For as long as I can remember, I used the external as the most important source of nourishment, fulfillment, strength, validation, protection, and the list goes on. Though, these external things would never satisfy that deeper yearning for healing and fulfillment. The inherent nature of these things (such as: food, people, technology, ect.) are beautiful, but once that is the only thing that I relied on in times of joy and pain, it became dissatisfying and never enough. I felt empty over, over, and over again. I even had feelings of resentment towards these things that are here for us to enjoy and learn from. I would blame myself or others for the hopeless situation that I was in. Nobody could understand me and my struggles. I did not even understand me and my struggles because I was only looking surface deep. I thought, “if only I was thinner, I would be happier.” If I “fixed” this problem, then I would have true fulfillment and obtain perfection.

On a deeper level, I knew there was more to this than just food and weight loss. I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to understand my defenses, my strengths, and my struggles. Deeper than that, what I really wanted…was to be my own best friend, have an intimate relationship with God, and live from the place of my true, authentic self. To stop the negative self-talk and lies that I was hearing in my head constantly. I viewed myself as this broken, traumatized girl. I could only see the brokenness and that is how I identified myself much of the time. What I could not put into words before, but now can, looking back — I wanted a new lens to view through. I wanted to change the concept of who I was and feel that on an experiential level in all areas of my being. I wanted to feel the change in my heart, mind, body, and soul. One word, integration.

I jumped right into the healing process. It was a challenge, there were defenses, distractions, shame, and other difficult feelings that I perceived as diversions that got in the way. What I didn’t know then, was that I needed to face those “diversions” and understand them from a curious, non-judgemental perspective. That these defenses and painful feelings that I had repressed for many years was the wall around the castle to protect me that no longer protected me as an adult. I needed to climb the castle’s wall, brick by brick, and feel each indention and curve. But I needed resources to face this challenge and move through it. I stuck with it. These defenses, distractions, shame, and other hard feelings was the direction that I had to take in order to understand the beliefs, feelings and thoughts that surrounded them. They had been there to help me when I could not get out of the situation or defend myself. The child in me needed them at the time. These defenses and feelings were leaving me frozen over and over again, trapped in the trauma cycle. But the little girl was in the castle and had no idea that I was out there trying rescue her.

I needed an update to the “present” me as an adult with choices, which is grounded in the ability to take care of myself in healthy ways that are in line with my values. At the core, who I wanted to be. I began to understand that I would “freeze” and dissociate in times of fear, change, struggles, and emotional pain. This first experiential awareness through the support and catalyst of Somatic Experiencing, brought understanding on a deeper level than I have ever had before. With this embodied self-awareness, brought raw feelings and new movement. It was scary at first because I was unable to rationalize or analyze what was happening on a conceptual level. I would engage in these old and familiar patterns of being stuck in my head. I felt anxiety because I was trying to force something to happen. Luckily, I had a companion on this journey. Not only a companion, but a wise guide, who understood where I was and met at that place with unconditional love and acceptance. She provided the safe space to speak the darkness and light that was within me. Each meeting with her brought a wonderful gift of having a voice when I thought I had lost it. I had a few tools to get over the wall of defense. This wise guide had with her a sidekick, named “Shi-clunk”. This creature had the tendency to fall. When it did fall, magic cascaded out of it into me. With it brought new strategies and skills to make the challenging climb. I recognized that it was not easy, as nothing is easy when it is a person’s identity at stake.

Now that I had a few, powerful resources from within and outside of me. Understanding of the inherent nature of feelings came baby step by baby step. I began to wrap my mind around the conceptual and embodiment level that emotions were simply emotions. If I allow them to pass through me, I would develop the capacity to able to connect with myself, while changing my perception (unconscious or conscious) of emotions from being something that has power over me. Before this understanding, emotions were the enemy shooting arrows at me while I attempted to get over the wall. As I walked with emotions, it transformed into another companion helping me along the journey.  The fog of emotions rolled away and I discovered the clarity of choice. I realized that life did not have to just “happen to me,” but that I could happen to life.

Through the ability to recognize choice, I was empowered beyond words. I felt ready to climb over the wall. I can choose to view myself through a particular lens. This lens does not have to be limited to only others around me. This reorientation provided a new place from which to connect with myself. I made a few attempts at climbing the wall. It was further than I had ever gotten before, but I had this urge to make sure I had enough water for the journey. I had plenty of water, but there was this fear that it would run out once I got to the castle. I climbed back down from the wall and obtain more water from the nearby stream. I realized that I do not need to be fearful. A sweet, encouraging thought popped into my head, “I will have enough as my journey goes on. I am enough” I needed to go through the frustration of experiencing these attempts multiple times in order to understand it on a deeper level. The wise guide would pop up every now and then to ask me questions about my journey. In this scarcity water situation, she asked, “is it really about the water, what obstacles are getting in your way from reaching the castle?” I would reply, “huhphm, it is a distraction from where I want to move towards. It is scary, but this is what I want for my journey. I need to get back to my true self and this is the only way to get there.” I knew that these distractions were diverting me from the unknown and uncertainty of life beyond the wall. It was a way for me to avoid the discomfort of the unknown and the fear of the possible emptiness inside of the castle. I recognized that the view that I had of these core things was an unhealthy, negative projection from my past experiences. This did not have to be the sequence of the present or future events. I needed to redefine the unknown and uncertain, while choosing intentionally how I would perceive it.

One of the results of this newfound awareness was the development of a plan to finally get inside the castle to rescue the little girl. I had developed and found parts of my true self in the adult version along the way, but I was missing the essential child self that needed to understand this, as well. I needed to integrate all parts of myself in order to see and appreciate my whole being. Along this journey, I was able to tap into the ultimate source of love, wisdom, acceptance, and healing. I was grounded in this source even when I felt the opposite. This foundation provided me with the confidence to reach the castle. It was uncertain what I would face once I crossed the wall, but my focus was not the fear or anxiety. My focus was on the beautiful possibilities and what I would experience along the way by being intentionally present. I climbed up, over, and down the other side of the wall. As I traversed my way onto the ground, my attention was locked on the beautiful garden around me. It was full of hummingbirds sucking nectar out of multi-color flowers. My view went towards the castle. Viewing it from this perspective was very different. Before I saw it as this impossible yet mystical thing that I doubted that I could ever reach or experience. As I walked closer, I experienced it has this very inviting and exciting place to be. I reached in my pocket and found a gem that I have been holding onto for this very moment. “Did it fit in the lock?” I spoke out loud. It was uncertain, but I walked up to the lock and placed the gem inside. Boom! It fit wonderfully. Spontaneously, I did a little dance. I was in shock that I made it inside.

The uncertain was not as scary as it was before. I began to experiences it as exciting and transformative. As I walk inside, a hallway came into view. The shining light came from a room at the end of the long hallway. As I walked towards the room, I thought, she must be in there. I opened the door. She was frozen in her chair. All of the sudden, she jumps up and it was as if she had been unable to move in a very long time. She had a curious look on her face and then she spoke. Initially, her voice was hoarse and she turned to me asked, “Who are you?” I was in awe of this little girl, this courageous and curious girl. She was beautiful. She was pure light. I brought myself back to the moment and replied, “I am YOU. I am the grown up YOU. I have come to rescue you and tell you that you no longer are trapped in this castle alone.” She was shocked. But there was a knowing without knowing in her eyes. She replied, “I have been waiting a long time to see you. I knew that your were out there, but I didn’t know how to get back to you. I’ve been wanting to share all of these secrets with you.” I asked curiously, “What secrets?” She looked at me right in the eye and said, “the secrets of who you truly are and have always been.” With tears in my eyes, I told her, “I want to hear about all of these secrets. You have been waiting such a long time to tell me and I have been waiting such a long time to hear them.”

As this little girl was explaining these secrets, it confirmed all of the things that I learned through the journey of attempts at climbing the wall and the success at making it over. She said, “you are a brave warrior with a gentleness of a mother caring for her cubs. You are curious and loving. Your deep calls to His deep in the roar of His waterfall. You can see into the past and future in intricate and self-healing ways. You are a rebel against being small or messages of lies that try to attack you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You voice is important and will impact many.” As I stood there taking this all in, these TRUTHS, I was able to receive them from the depth of my soul. The little girl finished, and said with enthusiasm, “I am ready for the next journey!” I replied, “I am so happy to be able to finally have new experiences with you moving forward into another adventure. We no longer have to be stuck or frozen because of past pains. These pains have been honored and we have released them from holding our being back. We can move forward into the beauty and unknown that life offers as the gift it deeply is.” She had a big smile on her face and said, “I am ready for the adventure. Bring it on!” Both of us, hand in hand, dancing out of the castle with exciting anticipation in what the future holds.

I had to walk through this journey to experience the purpose that it had towards reaching myself again. It was hard. It was draining and fulfilling. I knew that I had to stick with myself and be the person that I was for others FOR MYSELF. I am coming from a place of who I truly am, my identity within God instead of perfectionism that is driven by fear. How I perceive myself, others, and life has changed my world in very exciting ways. My perception of my thoughts, beliefs, and feelings have changed in the process, as well. Truly changing from the inside out has impacted my perception of myself and perception of God. This has allowed me to have clarity with my identity and my values. The result of this internal shift has transformed the external practice in my daily life. It is not about the end result. It is about the journey. The growth that I have experienced on an embodiment and conceptual level provides connection and empathy to myself and others. Since, I was able to deeply connect with myself, it is not scary to connect with others in a similar way. Also, to tap into my own inner wisdom, this has given me the clarity and language to communicate. This is the beginning of choosing to live authentically Elise.

Love, Elise


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