“The moment we deny a difficult experience, it owns us.” – Brene Brown
As a 1/3 in Human Design, I’m that Investigative Martyr, the crash test person for life. My role is to go out and experiment, try things and then come back and report on the results. Folks like me help people like you know when there’s a dead-end with no value, so that you don’t waste your time and also direct your attention down another path that’s more promising with lots of fruity goodness. I hope in some way reading about my experience will free you up to accept any lost aspects of yourself that are ready to be integrated so that you can experience the power it can give you.
This weekend was WordCamp in our little corner of the Ozarks.
It’s a non-profit educational and social gathering of people who use, teach, develop, design, publish and run their business sites with the open-source blogging and website platform, WordPress. I love WordPress and was on the organizing committee. After we had a speaker cancel, I offered to do a presentation to fill the slot. I pulled together resources from this unofficial online business education I’ve been steeped in for the past five years.
I was okay with how the presentation turned out, but what floored me was what happened afterward…
During the after party, I had a chat with someone who attended the session and has known me through Toastmasters for a couple of years. She’s heard me practice personal development talks and inspirational messages, but until she heard the presentation at WordCamp, she had thought I was this airy fairy, “woo” to the second degree, kind of person. She had no clue that I also had a side of me that was analytical, left brained, and business minded. In her eyes, seeing that side of me increased my credibility.
I was shocked…
And then again I wasn’t. Some of us have had conversations about hiding and being visible. I’ve been trying to put the side of me she saw in the shadows for a very long time. For so long, the analytical side of me that loves technology, puts systems in place, does project management, runs help-desks, customer service teams and coordinates logistics, that side of me that ruled about 16 years of my life has been something I tried to leave behind. That part of me still leverages it with select virtual business clients, but rarely gets mentioned. I’ve been treating it as the unwanted little step-sister I use for my bridge business, which is supporting me while I develop the work I’m passionate about. I also admit I’ve felt ashamed that I need to continue to use those skills, that somehow I should be further along with my passion project turned business and not need that kind of support. I wanted to sweep this aspect under a rug and put a chair on top of it (maybe add in a cute little table with a vase of fresh flowers next to it and hope nobody noticed.)
What was most disturbing is the realization that sometimes for things to be real, they need to be seen.
For this person, an entirely huge aspect of myself simply didn’t exist. It was nowhere to be found. I had been showing up as half of who I am and I’ve been operating at half power as well. Even though I have a lot of negatives linked with that side of me, I’m seeing it with true appreciation for the very first time. During the most painful years of my life, it was the side of me other people wanted and valued. It represented what I had to do to make it in this world while the softer, more spiritual side of me was hiding out in the shadows because it wasn’t really ‘safe’ for her to be visible, especially in the corporate world. It was this side of me who took care of things when the shit hit the fan in my marriage, when I needed to find the strength to have our third baby without his father’s involvement, to raise him and his two siblings after the divorce, to muster up the strength it took to be the sole provider for so many years, the one who paid off our joint debt, the one who cooked and cleaned and fed and read and bathed and drove and pushed past my introversion needs for moments to recharge when they could not be found and kept me going on and on.
I internalized and endured so much pressure and pain during that time, but what I’m realizing in this very moment is that this left-brained side of me is what got me through it when the tender side of me said the pain was too much.
I no longer expect anyone to understand the alcoholic outbursts, mental and emotional abuse, or the prison I had created for myself in my own mind because it wasn’t visible outside of our home and what it felt like couldn’t be seen on the outside. And some of it, when made visible, wouldn’t be seen as brutally as it was received. That highly sensitive, tender part of me wells up just thinking about it. Likewise, the inner strength I found can’t be seen, but it’s there and was developed over the course of a long, hard Bootcamp of Life. I don’t share any of this as a complaint, but to grant it expression, to make it visible and to re-claim it.
Today, for the first time in 16 years, I’m feeling so proud and grateful for this geeky, linear, analytical, organizational aspect of who I am. I pray it will always be there with me. I don’t need protection from life anymore, but I do want it to be a fierce advocate for this beautiful life I ended up creating for myself. The boundaries I have now provide a sanctuary in time and space for the energy, enthusiasm and creativity that flows through me. I’ve noticed since giving that presentation I do feel more fully present and powerful than I have in a very long time. It’s reconnected me with an “can do” attitude.
The impact in the experience didn’t reside solely in showing that side of me to others and having it seen, the most moving part was in letting me see, accept and reclaim it in myself. No apology or strategy, simply me being fully me.
Now I’m seeing how having this part of me on board again, powered by my passion, can serve in making sure that the tools, experiences and assistance that I offer up are more than fuel to ignite your soul’s desires. They can be more practical, organized, on target and effective. I feel like I’ve gained a new employee and she was within me all along. 🙂
Now, I offer up a Truth and Dare challenge for you to ponder this week in case you have bits of you out there that would serve you to reclaim …
TRUTH: What aspect of who you are, do you want to hide away from the world?
DARE: From a place of gratitude, write down at least 5 ways it’s enhanced your life. Bonus imaginary points for sharing it with the rest of the world or making it visible in some way!
Note: Select someone you trust implicitly if you’re new to sharing things like this.
I’d love for you to let me know yours or if you’re feeling especially brave you could share it on Facebook.
With gratitude and my fully engaged heart and head,
Reclaiming the Bones
“If you’re always listening to the noise of the world it’s impossible to hear the whispers of your soul.”– Marie Forleo
A cozy cabin has been reserved at Devil’s Den State Park in Winslow, AR for Oct. 21st & 22nd for a small group of women to gather with me for a group experience called Reclaiming the Bones. If you’re feeling called to carve out time for yourself and tune out the noise of the world so that you can reconnect with your inner whispers, read on.
We’ll take walks in the woods to revisit our sacred inner graveyards where we buried dreams and desires. We’ll reclaim some of them and release other expectations that no longer serve us, then we’ll sing over the collected metaphorical bones to bring a brand new version of ourselves to life. You can trust my analytical side to be fully engaged in the planning and logistics of this event with you having an optimal experience in mind. Let me know if you’re interested, I’ll get you the details. (There truly are limited beds and space.) Would be honored to share this experience with you!