About a week ago I had a series of realisations. Like a mini power point presentation in my soul, every couple of hours ponderings in my heart, snippets of discussions with Jesus or pages I had read or written would coalesce and God would download another whopping ‘Truth Slide’ for my soul to tremble at.
Below is the list of my ‘Truth Slides’. I can’t programme html to save myself so they appear as numbered points but if you can imagine God gave them to me in this really cool cascading flow chart, every couple of hours the next slide would appear and I could feel how it snugly related to the previous one.
1. I have never really loved anyone. I have always been in addictions in close relationships.
(Do you sort of get to feel why I needed a couple of hours before the next slide?)
2. I am in almost complete denial of my true self. I have squashed my true self and all of my feelings into a tiny ball in a dark corner of my soul. Every now and then when she tries to appear I (judge) stamp on her to make her more squished and tiny. My true self is full of sorrow
3. My inauthentic self, created to get approval and avoid my sadness is not content, confident or able to love authentically because she is created through addiction. She is needy by nature.
4. If I want to know and accept my true self I must be willing to accept her sorrow. She is full of pain. I want to reject pain but now I realise that pain is a large part of the real me. I can’t know me unless I let my grief be present and tell its story. In order to know myself I must open my arms and welcome pain.
5. Allowing my sorrow will not only connect me with my true self but it will bring about my healing. Even in my sorrow I will be able to love and give authentically because I will have reached an authentic place within myself.
6. My authentic self knows and desires her Soulmate (my inauthentic self stresses about not desiring or knowing – this is just an effect emotion) My authentic self knows what she wants and what is good for her.
In the wake of the God engineered slide show in my soul I have this to say.
We tell ourselves that the adult, invented self is strong and the protector, that the child within is weak and needs protection. In fact it is the child within that holds the wisdom, she is the one connected with her emotions, the emotions that make us sensitive to what is good, safe and wise for our well-being and happiness. Our denial of the painful feelings, created when we were harmed, suppressed, bullied or disrespected as children, desensitises us to the passion, creativity, surety, desire and heart-trust that is innate to our fully feeling selves.
We must welcome our pains in order to know our desires. We have been taught to trust our minds and rationality (and look where it’s got us: sick, divorced, overweight, discontented, dissatisfied, unsure, cynical and mistrusting). If we can find the scrunched up part inside that holds our true self, full of pain; if we can sit with it and ask it to expand, to stretch out into the fullness of our being we will feel its pain and loneliness. We will feel its fears and losses but we also will for the first time in so long be feeling our true selves and there is so much power in a person connected to themselves. This feeling creature that we were created to be, is also aware and connected to everything around it. It feels nature, it feels others, it allows its own feelings and as a result it knows what it wants! If we desire Love and God from this space the potentials for peace, joy and fulfilment are no longer even potentials – they become realities.
The key for me is to begin to view my pain as something different to ‘bad’, ‘the unpleasant part’, the ‘please can I get it over and done with’ thing that I have to do. I want to love me and that means loving my pain because it is a part of me right now. In fact it tells my story, by allowing my pain I am honouring my story, I am coming to know the complete me. By judging and avoiding my pain I am judging the largest part of me (largest for now). I am saying to the real me ‘you are unpleasant’, ‘I wish you weren’t there’, ‘you make my life hard and miserable’.
The starker truth I have come to face is that I, the manufactured me, have made my life unpleasant and miserable and the more I fight the real me, the more miserable I become. I have blamed ‘real me – full of pain’ for unhappiness only to realise now that allowing ‘real me – full of pain’ unlocks my joy and even during the feeling of my pain she, the real me, has the capacity to love, to make decisions, to create and connect with others.
We must change our attitudes to pain. We must desire not only God but ourselves – and if our true selves come clad in pain, abuse, loss or fear we must welcome them and let their grief tell our story, for ultimately they will become our greatest teachers, they will instruct us in love. They have lived so long without it, they have felt the absence of it so acutely that, when we allow them, our darker feelings will give us knowing and make us hyper-aware of what it loving and what is not.
God, of course, will be our constant companion but at present so many of us invite Him from our inauthentic selves. We say “God, come sit for a while, come for tea and I’ll show you my best self, we won’t talk about that scrunched up part of me in the distant, dark corner down the hall because, frankly, she bothers me. I wish you would just clear her out of here, take her off my hands.”
And all God can do is smile gently and try to have us hear His response “But my beloved, this part is you and I love her so much. My Arms of Love long to embrace her – if only you would embrace her yourself.”