What I learned about myself when I disconnected, sat and faced my choices

Let me set the scene for you dear reader for what I am about to tell you is one of my biggest life transformations to date.

Eight days guided by natural light of the sunrise and sunset. Darkness is met with candlelight.

No light switching.

No automation.

No take away.

No junk food.

No escaping.

At home, in my own environment.

I sat, I meditated and I waited.

It was a mind, body and spirit renewal and it was an unraveling.

This was my final hurdle on my quest in living more authentically, in my truth, unapologetically. Owning who I am – as I am.

All of me, the good – the bad and the ugly.

Recently there was a conversation had whereby my husband had his own unraveling.  In vulnerability, heart on his sleeve and hurt shared, only to be met with deflection, ridicule and deep rejection.  It was a turning point for us as individuals, as a deeply invested couple and as a young family.  In talking and sharing with others comments were expressed along the lines of:

” because you said this, this is why this event happened… or

“because you did that, you copped this behaviour” that is the reason why x y and z.

At that moment I felt like I was having an out of body experience because all I kept hearing was blame.

I was waiting for the ‘I was mad at you and that’s why I retaliated” or “I chose to keep my distance”

All valid reasons behind the choices but what I was hearing out for never came.

There was no “I” in the “you’s”

There was blame (you) without the acknowledgement of choice (I).

This then lead me to think about my own behaviour.

Was I a blamer too? Did I blame others?  What “they” (whoever “they’ were at the time) “did” to me as an adult?

Here is what I quickly realised.

Blame is cheap.

Blame involves zero accountability, zero engagement and zero effort.  It also means that ” I am not responsible for my choices and therefore it is all on you”.

I don’t know about you, but to me that smells like a cop-out and sounds like dis-empowerment. It looks like giving who we are and placing it in the hands of other people to decide who we are.  To be honest, between you and I, I copped out….A LOT.

The turning point for me lay in a question.  Was I not responsible for who I am?

The question now was:

Why did I allow blame to happen for such a long time and what inside me believed that blame was okay? It was okay to tolerate and to accept? When did I start to believe that I had to hustle, and try to be loved, to be accepted and to be worthy?

It was at that turning point that I knew I had to dig deep.

Over time I witnessed two kids become disengaged, removed and unemotional in their feelings of neglect towards those who I allowed to be a part of our young family and a life partner reduced to tears, cut off at the knees and broken.

This was a particular trauma in a particular set of circumstances that desperately yet compassionately needed to be addressed – and it is the centrepoint of this meditation

seek to understand before seeking to be understood

That is, understand what the other is trying to convey before trying to share in what we are wanting to say.

Now before I continue, I need to acknowledge that in the choices we make, we need to decide for ourselves how we want to write our own story.  This story is my own, from what I have learned and discovered about myself. It is also a story about resilience, transformation and self discovery.

Self-awareness is something I found that has to be nurtured but it comes with self confrontation.  Self awareness holds up a mirror in a compassionate and non-judgemental way that shows us the great and the not so great aspects about ourselves.  It is a reckoning and it is one I had to have alone.

Because I am fully aware and acknowledge that I have a cognitive impairment and mood disorder that is Bipolar Type 1, I have my “give it to me straight” people, my trusted tribe who I know will help me attain a balanced view.  They are made up of a variety of relationships – personal, academic, professional and intimate.  It didn’t matter how I flipped the situations where I engaged A LOT of blame towards others, in anger, hurt and in ego – the question remained.

What part did I play in my own blame story and how was I going to be accountable to who I was and who I believe I am to be?

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I know I am about to stand in my own truth and about show up, be open and real, expressing how I truly feel in vulnerability to someone who has not only become entrenched in intentionally hurt me  / us, (reasons and choices not for me to explore or to own) moreover, does not want to seek to understand let alone engage in accountability – I feel sick.  I literally get clammy palms, sweaty face, nausea washes over in waves and my knees knock together.  This accountability and authenticity stuff is a tough gig.  Being true to myself and who I am in my truth outweighs the fear. I was ready and the time had come.  I had to show up and be seen.  It was important for me that I owned how I felt and live truthfully and not in a bunch of lies to appease others. The people pleasing had to stop.  I needed to be me.

Sticking to the facts without covert hostility and being mindful of how I am coming across, I shared our hurt and grief, loss and rejection, exclusion and loneliness in dot points, without malice and trying to be as compassionately and open as possible whilst clearly outlining our family’s new boundaries we chose to implement as we evolve and heal ourselves.  Yes, I was shaking inside but the will of self- respect and self- love was stronger.

The best word to articulate the emotional onslaught that was to follow is, brutal. With a capital B, complete with the all familiar tightening knot in the gut.

Doors were slammed in our faces, troops were rallied and with rifles aimed we were machine gunned at point blank with all the shame, vitriol, anger, victimization, blame and ferocity one could muster.

It had the potential to be a bloody massacre filled with more trauma to add to last 3 lifetimes..

But it wasn’t.

Because this time, we didn’t flinch nor did we buckle.

Those guns could never have that kind of power.

Because this time, I came from a place of accountability, for ourselves and we stood for who we are.

I owned and supported the choices that we had made.  The choice of boundaries, of self respect, of worthiness and of moving on.  We had an amour that was made from love, from honesty and from the meaning of our young family.  It was an amour forged out of direct, kind and honest communication and of compassion for self and others, including the firing squad inflicting the grief and the loss that we are still today healing from.

So during my unraveling and awakening and holding space, I meditated by candlelight and I leaned back away from my thoughts and I watched them, like television advertisements.  30 seconds and then they are gone.  There were a lot of “yeah, buts!” peppered in those thoughts along with my feisty ego putting up its dukes ready to engage in another self righteous, self absorbed, anger, the need to be right at all costs…but lets be honest, really unhelpful, mind stories.  The shoulda’s, the woulda’s and the coulda’s were demanding an audience, but I politely nodded and waved them on.

You see, I learnt that it is what we do with our trauma, however that trauma presented for me and for us –  how we choose to take its hand and walk side by side with it is what makes us unique and where the really magical stuff happens.  For me it took 14 years and perhaps longer to reach this point of self love, self worth and self acceptance.  To be accountable and to empower my own choices.

The point where I can thank for what I believe to be my universal teachers for my karmic lessons, the really tough and hard ones because I don’t know if I could have found my voice without the slamming doors, rejection and gun fire.

The phoenix needs the flames to rise from the ashes.

This, whilst also thanking the blessed and treasured folks who choose to love us in spite and despite our flaws.

There is a good possibility that over time I and we will be embarrassed in public and in absentia. That fear may creep in the form of self doubt, that I will worry about what others might think, believe, say or do in my name, in my husband’s name or in our family’s name.  But that is not for me to own.  No one can be owned nor should anyone try.

This is my story and this is the story I own, no one can own it for me.

Fear, I have also discovered is boring.  It is the record that gets stuck on repeat with nothing new to say, going on, and on, and on.  I don’t learn anything from fear.  Other than the fact that I need to embrace it and move on with it.

I want the good bits and I want the bad bits, I want all of me, light and dark. I know I am not on this beautiful earth, living this gifted life to play small or to live in fear of who I really am and what my truth may be.

So here I am writing to you today, showing up, sharing my choices and well, owing my shit – and there is not one ounce of blame in sight.  I have decided to live beyond blame, to live free and now when I engage, I actively listen – I seek to understand and if I am hearing a story of blame, I listen for accountability and if there is none then I know and acknowledge and in compassion and self worth I continue on my path – whole and open. ❤

#anxiety #truth #authenticity #bipolar #selflove #selfworth #vulnerability #family #love #transformation

 

 

 

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