For most of my life I struggled to fit in and belong. I worried A LOT about what others thought about me and how I was perceived. I spent a lot of time conforming, pleasing and appeasing, trying to “fix” things, and trying to make others happy. Yet the more I tried to fit in and belong the more I felt unhappy, small, and undeserving.
Fortunately, several challenges over the last couple of years (of which cancer was one) served as helpful catalysts for me to care a little bit less about pleasing others and care a little bit more about my own needs, wants, and desires. They propelled me on a journey of self discovery and growth that has been terrifying and painful, while simultaneously enlightening, rewarding, and excruciatingly beautiful. In fact, despite the hardships and challenges, I would choose this journey again and again because it enabled me to give myself permission to care for, tend, and nurture me.
Along this journey nature has been an important source of medicine, and as I deepen my connection with nature — both the nature within me and the nature that surrounds me — I discover a more intimate relationship with my Self and others. This past week served as no exception, travelling to northern California to participate in a Soul Craft Intensive with Animas Valley Institute and Generation Waking Up to delve deeper into my Self and Soul.
Over the week I immersed myself in nature and grappled with being exposed, vulnerable, and seen. I put my “loyal soldiers”, “inner critics”, and “wounded children” safely to rest and and got curious with discomfort and dis-ease. Rather than trying to “hold it together” I let the tears fall, I asked questions without fear of looking stupid, and I danced my heart out as if no one was watching. I didn’t worry about getting it “right”, instead I stepped into being vulnerable, exposed, and seen. I felt exhilarated, alive, and more “me” than ever before! I wanted to bottle those feelings up and bring them home!
As the retreat neared its close I yearned for a way to hold on to the feelings, rather than hiding or suppressing them upon my return home. What could I do to let go of old patterns and walk a little differently? As a reminder of the experience, and to celebrate the journey I’ve been on, I chose to ceremoniously shave my head. Now as I walk through the world I can feel the air on my head; I feel vulnerable, exposed, and fully seen. I’m walking with my head a little higher and it feels terrifyingly beautiful!
Wild blessings for this journey!