Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a Magical Medicine Man asked me a psychoactive question.
“If you knew you would not fail, what would you do or be ?”
Some while later, as I was walking in the forest, among the Grand Master Trees, an answer came in as gently as the waves lapping up on the lake beside me.
I would be myself.
My funny, sweet, fierce, sensitive, weird, wild, lovable self. Yes...
At first blush, this seemed too simple an answer, but as I let it soak into my being, it unfolded in a wondrous way. I would move like myself, sleep and rest like myself, eat, work & live…. Like myself. As my imagination began to illuminate how my life would be different, something in me began to feel effervescent, alive and awake as my awareness expanded. To be myself, without tension, fear, guilt or shame. Without planning or strategy. Just Be Myself. It may sound silly, but I actually felt giddy at the prospect.
As I rested in the sweet field of this “possibility”, I noticed my nervous system down regulating, my breath was easy and soft, I felt, well, happier. I even laughed out loud to myself at the wildish notion, that I could, with unfettered abandon, simply be myself. The child in me came alive and was delighted at this prospect. She’d been waiting a long while for me to catch this little note that she sent up with a sparkly balloon, hoping the invitation would make it to me.
Haven't we all had the fantasy that if we could, we would just “do what we want’? If we were independently wealthy and not tied to work, constrained by family obligations, cultural norms, relational commitments, roles in community, & so on, we would be free to be ourselves.
So how do we get so far from ourselves in the first place? I, like so many others, know something about the experience of being deeply forged through being raised, culture, religion, inter generational trauma, school, community, family, and friends to be anything but myself. And at such a deep and heartbreaking cost. Little by little we experience loss of our true self, soul fragmentation, the splitting or dampening of the authentic self. Sometimes this happens through the mundane moments of not being seen, discouragement, subtle neglect or lack of attuned reflection from our caregivers. Sometimes it is through acute relational trauma, like adoption or foster care experiences.
In these environments, a child unconsciously and intuitively knows that they need to “stay in line” in order to stay in place. And their survival depends on staying in place. Even the tiniest of beings has an innate sense of needing the “other” for survival. This is an incredibly nuanced experience, and would be hard to spot if you didn’t know what you are looking for. Adopted children don’t want to “cause trouble” or stand out, so they will adapt with the skill of high level ninjas to the family/group/social terrain they find themselves in. This is an incredibly innate survival strategy that comes at a massive cost to the child’s authenticity.
The developmental stage of individuation in adolescence is also often truncated for adoptees, as they don’t dare separate from their family, go their own way or rock the boat, delve deeply into becoming an individual, as it could (deep in the unconscious) risk the attachment. This attachment was forged in trauma, so remains fused with a life or death charge. Sometime down the road, what once was a brilliant & necessary adaption becomes troublesome & dysfunctional. Through a therapeutic or shamanic process, we can bring gentle awareness to this deeply wired pathway. It is through awareness & the presence of Grace, that change is possible. Until it becomes conscious, it will run the show from behind the scenes. As Carl Jung said, “Until the unconscious becomes conscious, it will rule us and we will call it fate”.
This disconnect from self can show up in so many ways, like anxiety, depression, addiction, suicidality, being vulnerable to abuse, debilitating indecision, lack of direction, or people pleasing. Sometimes the adoptee arrives at a place where they are dissatisfied with their lives in a general way, and don’t know quite why. Loss of connection with our authentic self leaves a gap inside that can’t be filled with anything or anyone else. This leaves us wanting, and searching, forever unsettled.
The good news is, there are ways of repairing and mending ourselves back into good realtionship with our authenticity! The essence that is our truest nature is untouchable, un-tarnishable, and enduring. It’s never to late to be who you came here to be, love, never <3 .
Check out my offerings page and connect with me for a session that can help you along the way to reuniting with the enduring, sparkling, uniquely beautiful You.