Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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My Inner Saboteur

This is what I do when the saboteur grabs hold of me and I lose myself in self-doubt: I wrap myself in a thick quilt of silence and walk backward as far as I can until I find a big, dark shadow to stand in, a large, tall tree to hide behind, and I sit there, far from anyone, and listen to the volume rising on the voice within me telling me I am not enough.

It would take so little to keep me from going there, so little to mute the voice of my saboteur. All I need is the proof that I have done something meaningful, or have someone look me in the eye and tell me, with clear conviction, that there is no means to measure the enormity of my worth.

But by the time I need it, I don’t allow myself to seek this proof, I am too far gone to look anyone in the eye. Shame keeps my sight locked on the ground.

And then I inhabit the shadow, and waste away my gifts, until a miracle, a sliver of sunlight, hits me and gives me just enough strength to remember I have a tool box. And I reach in with my last ounce of strength and have to pull myself along, out of the darkness, inch by inch, using every last resource, every last tool to save myself from my own self-doubts.

And I know this is exactly what happens for my clients, although they may visualize the process differently: they retreat into themselves, where the voice of self-judgment is loudest, and spiral into depression and paralysis.

But we don’t have to do that! And, just because I have the tools doesn’t mean I should create the conditions in which I need them. I can choose another way. I can recognize the voice of my saboteur, and lower the volume on it immediately! I can take the wisdom from its message, without having to accept the self-hatred and vitriol as well. And I also teach my clients how to do that, because none of us has to live in the shadow.

A thick tree trunk creates a shadow to hide behind

We take to the shadows, with the saboteur at full volume, until sunlight hits.
Photo Credit: Andreas Krappweis

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A Gateway

There is a pain wedged beneath my ribs, radiating like heat into the rest of my body. My heart rests on it. Together, they make a formidable weight.

I want to banish the pain. Obliterate it. Erase it.

All of my energy turns towards it, intense and focused. The rest of me is left feeling tired, weak, drained.

I drag myself around. Then I remember this is also a gateway, this pain. It is a gateway into discovering, as I have so many times before, only to promptly forget anew, that there is no separation between that pain and me. There is no me versus it.

I pass through the gateway, armed with all of my “going on an adventure” gear, including my curiosity. And the pain begins softening, dissolving into my tissue.

And my heart, it is floating free.

Photo credit: Kevin Tuck at RGBstock.com

Photo credit: Kevin Tuck at RGBstock.com


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Nothing To Be Done

My friend Isabel’s marriage of 20 years is ending.  My friend Danielle’s daughter is scheduled for major surgery which she direly needs. My friend Janine needs to do another test to see if cancer has returned to her body, only this time she is a widow with a young son to care for.  I could go on and on: another friend can’t find a job, yet another can’t conceive.

I could feel despair, because I love them, every one; because I wish I could do something to give them back the sense of certainty, comfort, that they used to have, that they yearn for.  At least, I wish I could do something that would make them feel all better, the way I did for my babies when they toppled and I stood them up, dusted them off and set them loose again with a kiss.  But I can’t. There’s nothing that I could do that would come even close to that.

Except, hold loving energy for each of them, see them as their brightest, most radiant selves, and, simply, be present to them.

I know this, because, when I have been drowning, breathless and scared, I could feel them doing it for me. Their presence created a modest, but vital, space for me to be able to take a deep breath and remember my Self.

Nothing changed. And yet, somehow, it did.  I was held, and that made all the difference.

Photo Credit: Muriel M Sawicki

Photo Credit: Muriel M Sawicki


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Self-betrayal

Self-betrayal is the ways that I turn my back on my Self and refuse to honor Who I Am.

It is when I don’t wait for clarity, but jump into things because that feels easier, more comfortable. It is saying “yes” when I already know I can’t follow through or don’t want to with my full Self. It is also saying “no” because yes means peering into dark corners of my Self.

Self-betrayal is turning away from the nibbling of knowledge at the edge of my consciousness because turning towards it means seeing, right behind it, a cavernous black hole that threatens to suck me in.  It is setting a course and following it, regardless of the signs along the way that direct me to go a different direction.

Most of all, Self-betrayal is allowing my heart to be padded, protected, numbed even  to those I hold dear.

Ease, comfort, oblivion… they tempt me away from honoring my Self.

I breathe deep, I straighten my back and lift my chin. In the spirit of the Reiki Principles, I tell myself: Just for today… I will align myself with the highest energy of my Self, and look where I fear, feel what I would not risk, know what is present, and honor my Self in each moment.

Photo Credit:Lars Sundström

Photo Credit:Lars Sundström


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Clear Space

Even before I am fully awake, today I am tempted to feel blue. I want to look at the landscape of my life colored with fear and doubt, and I want to cast around for some unease to hold onto, something that will save me any efforts to pay attention, to sit with discomfort, to entertain confusion.  Today I want the easy way, just to mire.

But I have a session in a short time and I have to prepare for it. So I do, I prepare the space the way a dancer warms up for her performance, with familiar movements, stretching gently, without analysis or deep thought, just doing what I always do.

And as I do this, I find that there is no room in my energy field for all that heaviness which I was holding so dearly, as if my life depended on it anchoring me. That routine for warm-up, that careful and meticulous process of clearing the space in the room and in my energy field sweeps out everything that does not belong there, including my limiting thoughts, my straitjacket perspective, my self-involved emotions.  After clearing, I can not invoke them, even if I try.

I am so grateful that, in creating the clear and sacred space for my client, in offering her this first gift of my heart, I wind up, also, gifting my Self.

I am reminded, this is how it always is: when I gift another, I gift myself; when I bless you, I am blessed, too.

Photo by Gabriella Fabbri on RGBstock.com

Photo by Gabriella Fabbri on RGBstock.com


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Falling Apart

When I was a child and showed a tendency to pout, my father would say to me, “Pull yourself together!” or “Don’t feel sorry for yourself.” And, of course, that serves me well when I need to focus my attention on creating the experiences I choose to have.

I did not know it, initially, but it is what I have been doing for a couple of days, since I had a small traffic accident that left me shaken and scared, but grateful that the physical damage was only to the cars. I did take a moment, before driving away, to breathe and ground my scattered, rattled energy, but still, all the way home, and through the subsequent days, I battled a heavy energy of exhaustion. And a sense that my strength might momentarily fail me and I might crumple in a heap, all of a sudden. Every small sound startled me, and left me frazzled, as if my son had played his trumpet in my ear.

All this time, I had been pulling myself together, without making a conscious choice, without checking in with what my needs were. But today, that effort seemed monumental, and my energy, weak and diluted. There was a lump in my throat that felt like a fixture there, I swallowed around it.

Today, finally, I was touched by inspiration and I headed for the bathroom to run the hot water. I undressed slowly, as if my clothes were layers of experience, energies that I was shedding. I felt fragile, like I could shatter, as short fragments of the accident came back to me. I found my face damp with tears.

In the shower, sobs arose from my chest and my thoughts turned from the vehicles to my body, to my children, and all the uncertainties I hold at once. The water, my tears, the steam seemed to steep the heavy energy off of me, my muscles felt firmer, my legs reliable again, my stance more stable.

As I toweled off, I shrugged at the thought that I still have to deal with the insurance, with repairs, that nothing had really changed.  And yet, allowing myself this space of release, where I could feel the stark truth of my mortality and recognize the strain of holding myself up; gifting myself with a space to fall apart, to be with what is within me, left me with a cleansing emptiness that maybe, perhaps, could potentially become a renewed awareness of solidity and strength.

Sometimes the wisdom is not in pulling myself together, sometimes the wisdom is in allowing myself to fall apart.

Broken Glass by Brano Hudak on RGBstock.com

Photo by Brano Hudak on RGBstock.com


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Struggle, Contained

I ran into Jane today, on Clark street. She told me she’s struggling, going from a bad situation to a worse one. Later, she left me a message. Her situation turned worse.

I don’t want to think about this; I feel impotent. I can’t be the hero and pull her out on the back of a dragon. I don’t want to think about this. That energy of struggle is so contagious- there’s enough going on around me that tempts me continuously towards struggle.

My clarity wavers.

Suddenly, abruptly, I am aware in my body, in my gut, that the strong, safe container I build for coaching is not, as I have thus far believed, only for the benefit of my clients. It dawns on me that, in that container, hearing Jane’s situation would strike me differently: there would be no danger of contagion, no overwhelm.

I long for the groundedness of that container.

I relish the new recognition of it as a blessing, not just for others, but also for myself.

How to bring its gifts into other parts of my life? That’s the question I hold open in my hand now.

Photo by: Javier Gonzalez on RGBstock.com

Photo by: Javier Gonzalez on RGBstock.com