Hubby and I got to talking about self-help the other morning and it opened the door to a deeper discussion than originally expected. Thought I’d share my heart feelings with you.
When we’re stuck and things feel out of sorts, a lot of us go to friends/family for answers, seek counsel or look into self-help. At least, that’s the way I thought it worked. It seemed so easy when they’d say pray or just meditate and think positive thoughts.
I looked at how it’s been working for me down through the years and often wondered, “Why is it so easy for them and not so much for me?” Maybe, if I really, really tried . . . harder ― nope! I’ve never felt more stuck than what I feel right now at this stage of my life. But this time is different and I noticed it after our talk. I’m making it harder this go-around mainly because I’m no longer doing the dance fooling myself into thinking I’ve got it all figured out. This time, I’m finally getting it and it feels good.
I’ve been stuck before and I have learned. It has taken me further down the path. Problems always worked out and I felt like I’ve changed in the process or so I thought. I didn’t realize how many layers there are to work through until it shows up again and you begin to truly understand your heart. So often, we seem to be going around in circles facing the same issues only with different scenarios. Self-help does really work but only when you take responsibility for stuff in your life and do the work yourself not looking for someone else to do it for you.
“We all sit around in a circle and suppose, while the secret sits in the center and knows.” ~~ Robert Frost
The key is in taking responsibility for your broken-heart stuff and doing the work however it finds you in your innermost being. You know ― anger, insecurities, fear, grief ― all the answers are there on how to let them go when they’re triggered. Guidance to begin the work will show up, when you ask, and will resonate with you. I’m beginning to see it in my life, when I work on these key things. Funny, how when I look within and surrender what I find, the work becomes effortless.
The issues I’ve struggled with and emotional pain I’ve held onto is leaving. It just doesn’t show up anymore and is no longer there to be triggered. It’s like chopping down a tree ― it seems to take forever. But, once it starts cracking and the weight of the tree takes it tumbling to the ground, you’re done with it. The tree can’t be put back the way it was and you’re forever changed.
What seems to be a life-long mission, in search of something I know to be true on the inside, has somewhat eluded me, mainly because I’ve tried to find it outside in the world. I can remember as far back as a child when I felt a strong presence as my constant companion. I even imagined it as my invisible friend that understood my deepest fears and comforted me when I cried.
When I was little, I didn’t understand why my parents fought, why we were hungry and cold at times, why other kids looked at me weird. I felt their emotions but I was okay, as long as I had my constant companion. It was there when I would steal away upstairs to the attic to play and pretend my world was happy like I thought it was for everyone else.
Or, I felt this presence go with me when I went up to the hill behind my elementary school where you could look out for miles and see the Philadelphia Airport in the distance. There were smoke-stacked refineries, tiny cars going back and forth and airplanes taking off or coming in for a landing. I’d wonder what they were all up to and where they were going. I’d picture myself traveling to far-away places just like them.
This presence never left me. It just got harder to feel and hear as I began to listen more to what I was being taught on the outside. My parents were teaching right from wrong, school was teaching books and learning, peers were bringing out fears and the desire to fit in. It was all jumbled up and I was so confused about the world for most of my childhood. My awareness of constant presence slowly faded in the background as my attention turned to what was calling me on the outside. I left my companion behind for another time as my journey began.
It started in my innocence, as early as preschool, when I felt a need to fix every situation I thought was broken or everyone I felt was hurting. I began with my Mom and Dad. I remember one time when I tried to help, thinking, if it worked it would make them happy again. So, I went to our next-door neighbor’s house, knocked on the door and, when she answered, I asked her to leave my Daddy alone. Well, that idea bombed and ended up with a policeman at our door and my parents in a courthouse served with a restraining order.
So, this little girl retreated and lost the courage to assert herself, fearing the worst in creating more trouble. Courage returned again and again when she made attempts to get her parents to talk with each other. The presence in me wanted to understand why she hurt and felt if she talked it out with them she could find the answers. I wanted to understand why they did what they did and how they felt. It still holds true for me today in how I want to connect with others. I’m interested in how they feel and what they think.
The teachings continued and more lessons were learned. Sunday school taught me about Jesus and love. The principles were similar to the feelings from my imaginary friend but, even then, I would see conflict in the differences of doctrines. So, I went to other churches and looked into other traditional beliefs, some not-so conventional. The closest I came to understanding the feeling I had with my presence companion was with my grandmother and her connection with the realm of spirit. It linked something real from the inside of me with the world outside and began to bridge the two.
Over the years in search of the deep answers, I’ve accumulated a library full of self-help books, tapes, etc. and I can see how I’ve changed because the subject interests vary. I’ve progressed from religious material to New Age and finally to all perspectives, especially when it communicates love. This is huge coming from a little girl who once had a pet peeve about reading.
All the years of reading and listening haven’t been for nothing. I have learned a lot. But, I still longed for the ever-present companion I once knew and loved so long ago as a child. Somehow, I knew it was still there but couldn’t hear it. On occasion, it would come to me in a dream or send me a message in a vision. Or, just the right person would show up as a messenger at a time when I needed it the most.
There’s one thing I noticed about these messengers and what they have in common. It’s an energy that comes through their words. You can feel it, like when a room lights up when a particular person enters and everyone looks in their direction. The energy shifts and you feel drawn to them. If you get a chance to meet them you’ll also notice a glow in their eyes. It’s pure love akin to what I felt from my presence companion and I knew they had experienced the same thing I felt as a child.
I could see their message came from somewhere deep in their soul ― a place where they had spent a lot of time. A genuine, pure energy oozed out of them. They learned how to keep the channel open when they moved from the place on the inside to when they moved to their business on the outside. They learned how to live in this world and not be of it and all the words and teaching can’t do it. It can only point the way to something we have to learn how to do for ourselves.
This is what I was beginning to understand in our morning discussion. The self-help messengers I learned from had bridged both worlds and learned how to bring who they are from the inside to the world outside. I know of that place within myself. I’ve experienced it ― it’s sweet and gentle ― safe, unlike any other. I love being there and, when I’m genuinely there, I don’t want to leave. Only, what I haven’t learned, yet, is how to stay there for very long. I tend to leave it to take care of what’s calling me in my life on the outside instead of bringing it with me.
There are only a handful of people who I’ve noticed know how to do that. They’ve lived it and their pure energy alone drew people to them and lit up the room with their presence. One that comes to mind is Tom Dorrance. He was a gentle soul and a horse whisperer.
What he genuinely loved on the inside were horses. So much so, it could no longer be contained on the inside and had to be expressed on the outside and the horses helped him with it. It was miraculous to see how they responded to his touch as if silently communing with one another. Witnessing this exchange between human and horse was sacred as if being on hallowed ground.
I wrote a post about him and Ray Hunt years ago while struggling with some questions of my own at the time. They were some of the same things that kept showing up. It was called “Hooking Up ― Finding that Connection”.
I keep edging a little closer to those deeper answers as I open up and have the courage to bring forward what I discover from my soul on the inside. It’s coming and I feel my presence companion is back with me again. I am beginning to hear it’s voice and, now, it seems to ask, “What will my verse be”, as in Walt Whitman’s poem “O Me!, O Life!”:
“…that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse”
I think, as we get better blending both places as one, we never leave one for the other. That’s when the room lights up and the energy shifts oozing out from within drawing life on the outside to us. No doubt that’s what the birds and animals felt in St. Francis’s presence centuries ago when he walked upon this earth.
I hope, in the end, my contributing verse will be how to feel and be real in this world and for the words I share to matter helping others along their path.
What about you? What will your verse be?
Pat from ol’ kitchen table