If you think your work is done, you’re probably just getting to the deepest part.
I recently realized that I wanted my life to include the ability to be and feel resilient. That may seem like an odd goal to some, but it quickly became important to me. I made the decision to reinstate my work with my shadow work coach in order to start moving toward that.
It took me fourteen months in relationship with an amazing human to be able to tell her that I needed more from our relationship than what she’s currently able to give. It took me so long because I was afraid that if I voiced this out loud, she would understand and ultimately leave. That was not what I wanted because every other aspect of our relationship brought so much pure love and joy to my life.
After agreeing to an experiment in opening our relationship, I jumped at the first opportunity to engage with someone else. I was so blinded by the mere idea of being able to have it all, I wasn’t even able to see how this abrupt change in my steady behavior — without giving either of us any time to process, design communication guidelines, etc. — impacted her, or me, for that matter.
Afterwards I wondered, how could I have done so much healing work only to have repeated an original pattern?: When I don’t feel chosen by my partner, I run to a place where I’m guaranteed to feel chosen, and that protects me from the trauma-incited feelings that I am inherently unworthy, unlovable and not valuable.
The reason why resilience is my new goal is because the life I want to live doesn’t include repeating this wounded pattern. What I truly desire is to be in relationships where I can feel free to express my true emotions without judgement or abandonment, to communicate effectively, and to be able to live fully expressed — emotionally, intellectually, creatively, sexually and spiritually.
Have you ever paused long enough to think, what kind of life do I want to live?
I used to focus that question on my work and my relationship, but I continued to leave myself out of the equation. I wonder how many of us think about how we can best serve others through purpose-centric endeavors or how we can become the best partner, without any real intentional thought about what kind of relationship we want with ourselves, or who we want to become as individuals.
My contention, as is that of many others, is that who we want to become is actually who we were at birth, our True Nature. That all of the external factors we encountered in our young lives served to program us away from that truth. None of that programming came from a malicious place, but was the manifestation of unhealed trauma on the part of our caretakers. And the cycle goes on.
What I wanted at birth was no different from anyone else: I wanted to live. I wanted my biological needs met so that I could thrive and grow, so I communicated by crying, which was the only way I knew how. I wanted to feel connection, love and a sense of belonging. My sense of worth and value was being formed for me, but intuitively, my soul knew that it was good, pure, kind, loving, giving and limitless.
At this point in my life, at 41 years old, I find that healing and resilience are my top priorities. All these years later, I’m playing with the fluidity of my gender expression and identity. I’m interested in finding the path back to my True Nature because it keeps calling me home: Secure attachment, healthy boundaries, conscious leadership and love of self, other humans and the natural world.
I feel quite optimistic about this next layer of healing work. I’m grateful to have a shadow work coach who is equally ready to engage in this process with me, along with my Buddhist psychology coach whom I’ve been working with for several years. While I could certainly keep living my life and let fear contain me in a repetitive loop, I feel wiser somehow. I am finally ready to embark on this journey to heal a very deep wound that has since become an obvious scar.
Sure, I probably thought that this part of my healing work was pretty much done. Maybe that was the tell-tale sign. Maybe it’s never done. Maybe done isn’t a thing. Maybe resilience is the muscle that needs to be built so that when wounds get triggered (because they always will), we can recognize them for what they are and consciously choose a healthier next step.
Cutting this scar back open is on my terms this time. It will be messy and emotional and sad and confronting, but that’s what we’re here to learn: how to willingly walk into the darkness, knowing deep down, that the light we’ll discover is our emotional freedom and an invitation to live and love fully.