In order to get from where I am, to where I want to be, I must go THERE. You may ask, where is THERE? Please let me explain.
For much of my life, I ran from myself. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted, but I knew what others needed and wanted. My focus was on pleasing others because I didn’t have any self worth or self-love. My thinking was distorted because I thought that if I loved you, then you would have to love me back. Here are some of the ways I ran from myself: staying busy, eating, shopping, controlling others, people-pleasing and rushing. These behaviors kept me from knowing my true self and loving myself.
Have you ever felt down or depressed and then went shopping or had a big piece of chocolate cake, and your mood shifted and you were blissful? There are numerous ways people run from themselves through addictions. As an addiction therapist for over 20 years, I know a lot about addictions. Regardless of whether you ingest something like food, alcohol, nicotine or drugs, or have a process addiction like workaholism, gambling, religiosity, hoarding, shopping, rushing, perfectionism, spending hours on the internet or just staying busy, the same thing happens as a result. You medicate your feelings and push them down, so you don’t have to feel them, and so that you don’t have to go THERE.
Today, rather than running from myself, I am running to myself. In the quiet of doing nothing with myself, by myself, I find myself. I am loving myself by allowing myself to go THERE. I am allowing all of my feelings to come up so I can feel them and then let them go. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always like to go THERE (especially when I am feeling anger, fear, grief or sadness), but I have learned from experience, that in order to get from where I am to where I want to be, I must allow myself to go through this process and it is crucial to my spiritual and emotional health.
It used to be a way of life for me to pretend everything was OK and push my feelings down, but not anymore. Today, I welcome my feelings in and am honest with others, and myself, about what I am feeling.
I have spent the last few weeks, letting go of my “stuff” so that I can move to Maui full time. As I was doing that I kept hearing the message “You must let go of the old, so the new can come.” One day as I sat in my living room and looked around my house, I felt incredible peace and what I realized in that moment is that I loved the old. I loved my home and everything in it. I had created a sacred sanctuary where I felt safe and comfortable.
I’m not selling my home because I don’t like it, I have loved living in it. As I realized that, feelings of sadness and loss welled up inside of me and I sat and cried. I know what the “old” is and it feels comfortable, but I don’t know what the new is and that can feel scary. This is where the trust comes in. Even though I love my home, I know I will love my NEW home in Maui even more and I will create the same sacred sanctuary there.
Earlier this week, I did a huge cleaning out in my basement and the next morning when I woke up, I felt wiped out and like I had been hit by a truck. It almost felt like I was in withdrawal from letting go of my “stuff.” I even questioned if I was doing the right thing by moving to Maui. I hadn’t realized that letting go was going to be so emotionally draining. I said to God, “I need a big dose of you today.” I went to brunch at a friend’s house and then went home and took a hot bath and slept for several hours. I allowed myself to bask in God’s presence and rest. I meditated and prayed, knowing my strength would come back as I allowed myself to go THERE and feel all of my feelings. It was like I emptied myself so I could be filled again.
In the evening, as a way of nurturing myself, I re-read 62 letters that college students had sent me after I spoke to their business class last fall about the importance of spirituality in their lives. I truly got my “dose of God” through reading their heartfelt sentiments and how I impacted their lives. I knew I was living my passion and doing God’s will.
The next day I attended the spiritual center I belong to. The feelings had moved through me and I was feeling more like myself. I didn’t notice it at first and then was shocked when I saw what was written on the man’s shirt right in front of me. It read MAUI and ALOHA! I said, “Thank you God for the confirmation I am on the right track and following you!” I was reminded once again that we get what we need when we need it and are open to receiving it.
This week I was also reminded that we can help others get what they need too! A couple of weeks ago, a woman called me from the Center for Women and Enterprise in Providence, asking if she could interview me for a “business success” story in their newsletter. Of course, I was honored and said, “Yes.” After the initial questions of how CWE helped me in my business, I talked about my own definition of success. I said, “I used to think success only meant making a lot of money and if you weren’t making a lot of money, your business wasn’t successful.” Of course, we need and want to make money so we can serve more, have fun and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
What I later realized is that true success is being free to do whatever you want to do and whenever you want to do it. It is living in love and joy. It is using your gifts to serve the community. It is being passionate and doing what you love to do. It is experiencing abundance in all areas of your life. It is living your life to the fullest in gratitude for all the good in your life.
As our interview continued, the young woman interviewing me appeared open to discussing spirituality and what it meant to her. She said, “I have been thinking about meditating lately because I want to know myself better.” She looked around my house and said, “It feels like a church here (I have nothing spiritual on the walls), there is so much peace in this room.” I was thrilled because I am visualizing the person who buys my house will walk in the house and feel the energy of love and peace and feel compelled to buy the house.
Then, I heard God say, “Give her your book” so I did. What appeared to be just an ordinary interview, turned out to be extraordinary. We never know when God is going to use us to share our faith and help someone grow on the spiritual path.
I encourage you to go deeper with God and stop running from yourself. Be still, rest, trust and know that God is in control and wants only your best. I like to think that God has me covered.
Heart Steps – Julia Cameron
My Soul Has Patience and Containment
I am patient. I am able to live with ambiguity. I am able to allow situations to evolve and alter. I am able to await outcomes. I tolerate quiet periods of non-knowing while solutions emerge and present themselves. I do not force solutions. I expect the successful working-out of difficulties and differences. My heart is wise. It knows when to act and when non-action is the action to take. I trust my patient heart. I trust the power of my containment.
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- It’s all been planned in the mind of God
- I feel the peace that passes all understanding
- To know the truth of who I am
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