When that happens, you have three choices. One is to dismiss the uninvited nonsensical thought…two is to abandon the original thought and chase the second…or three, step back and allow a little space for the two to coexist and see if you can find the connection between them.
I’ve had that happen a couple times today…where I’ll be thinking a thought and another from left field will pop in. At first blush there’s no connection between the two, but with a little breathing and some restraint…low and behold…a connection forms.
For example, I was thinking about my blog this morning. Playing around with a couple of topics to write about when into my mind popped the thought of how lucky I am. Lucky to have this blog as an outlet for my thoughts and emotions. A place to air out my secrets. The ones that carry weight…hold me back…kept me trapped in a cycle of repetition…guilt…shame.
By no means was that the original intention of the blog or my writing. It just sort of naturally evolved as I started to get real with myself. As I started to peel off all the masks I’d been wearing for so long. As I started to dig into who “I” really am. With each removal of a mask, I found I’d let go of one or two secrets. Usually it was something that anchored that mask to a particular point in time. That kept me emotionally stunted. That kept a cycle of actions in play.
It was a complete accident but that may have been the biggest present I could ever gift myself. Freedom to become who I’m meant to be. Freedom to step into who I am. Freedom to remove the masks and see my real beauty.
Other people don’t have that…a place to bare witness to their deepest secrets. A place where little by little they can pull off the masks that no longer serve them and expose their wounds. Wounds they’ve probably been carrying around for years…for a lifetime. I mean, we all know that a wound won’t heal without oxygen. Why would a wound to the soul or heart be any different?
With that train of thought, the image of a friend popped into my head. Initially I thought it was just time to change topics but I paused and let the two thoughts sit together. And I realized that my friend has trapped himself behind layers and layers of masks. Carrying around with him years of secrets…guilt…shame. That it’s no wonder he’s always so angry. He’s probably tired…and a little confused. I’m guessing he probably doesn’t really know who he is or who he wants to be. He’s just constantly reacting from a place of fear. What if a mask falls off? What if I’m exposed? What if someone really sees me and doesn’t like what they see? What if I really see me and don’t like what I see?
People. I know there’s a saying that we are the sum total of our parts, which includes all the good, bad, and ugly of our life. And to a certain extent I believe that to be true. But what I also believe is that we have the choice to continue to play that same, old, tired record…complete with the scratches and skips…or we can decide to play a new record. Each day we have the choice to stay stuck in the past…or at least strongly anchored to it…or we can say enough and start to shed the ties that bind us.
I know it’s not easy to decide to take that first step forward. I also know that everything doesn’t change overnight. But as I thought about my friend, I saw so clearly how he has a choice to make. He can continue to repeat the cycle of anger…self sabotage…abuse. Or he can start to admit that he used to be angry and dig in to figure out why so he can let it go. Admit that he used to self sabotage in certain situations and dig in to figure out why so he can let it go. Admit that he has had a tendency to lash out verbally, hurting those he loves…and dig in to figure out why so he can let it go.
The hardest part after you decide enough is enough is what to do next. Well….there’s bearing your soul in a blog (that may or may not be your cup of tea)…maybe writing in a journal is a better option. Somewhere where you can be brutally honest with and about yourself. There’s talking to trusted friends, again honesty is key. There’s therapy. Or my personal favorite, talking to shamans.
Whatever or however, the point is to let someone…the Universe…yourself witness all those secrets. To see — I mean actually see — the ugly parts. And to let all that go. You don’t need to hang onto who you were…or what you did. Know that it might have been you at one point, but there was a reason you behaved as you did. It was so you could get to this moment right now…this moment when you are finally going to make a change.
I don’t know if my friend will ever feel comfortable enough to own his story. I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to let go of who he was to step into the amazing person that’s hidden behind those masks. That’s for him to decide.
What I realized is how blessed I am to have been given this opportunity to take care of myself like I have. What I realized is how deeply I wish the same for those carrying secrets…guilt…shame. That ain’t no way to live, folks. Let.that.shit.go!