Hint: you probably are.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
Sometimes you may feel lost. Overshadowed by COVID-19, kids, work, relationships, or disability. I'll let you in on a little secret: you are not lost. It may feel you are, though.
The threads that held your life together are still there but you’ve only lost sight of them. Or hidden them for your protection.
The special part of you kept invisible from crisis and conflict is now crying out to be found and transformed. For your future.
She is strong enough, I think, to guide you back to your original self and the treasures concealed within. But how?
I'll tell you a story.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful, innocent child. This little girl had many qualities. She was nurturing, funny, and loved to read. In fact, she had an insatiable hunger for words. She wanted to know the meanings, loved the way they looked and sounded as she rolled the words around on her tongue.
But often, because of belittling words flung against her heart from her mother, the girl buried parts of herself in a treasure chest deep in her spirit. Over time, she forgot where she hid her treasures because life destroyed her map.
Sometimes the little girl unearthed a piece of the road that led to her treasure chest, but people and events pounded the dirt so compact the path became obliterated.
She grew up and forgot her talent for making others smile and lost time for reading. She put her head down and forged through life, moving from one crisis to another, losing more of herself behind each time.
Then one day, the woman looked back at her life and cried. She shed tears for that little girl she knew long ago.
I know because I am her.
Everything in my life has brought me back to this space, this place, here and now. A deep awareness to reconnect with my original self — my talents and aspirations — is revealing itself.
A crisis can be a single event or a prolonged series of circumstances that cause intense difficulty. It seems that is the story of my life. I don't want any sympathy or empathy, for that matter.
But, crisis was always happening to me. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. Even from childhood. My last crisis was a protracted decade of depression, disability, and hopelessness. I’d raised a family and worked for non-profits, helping others in need until I retired only to face years of illness.
The culminating effect of my crisis caused me to pause and consider the future. But I could not see further than the nose on my face. Always, always someone needed my attention, right then, right now.
I couldn't escape long enough to look down the road of my life.
That is when I realized to go forward, I had to reach down, down, down past the years of hurt, pain, betrayal, and unworthiness to find my treasure chest.
This was not easy. It took ten years to pick up the strands to form a rope strong enough to pull my chest up to the surface when I finally found it. Upon prying open the rusty lid, I fell to my knees, my heart bursting with wonder.
There she was, beautiful, untouched by fear and loathing, surrounded by a bed of diamonds glittering like a field of snowflakes. I embraced her until she dissolved into my heart.
My inner child is now my guide.
When I started listening to the cry of my inner child, I realized the only way healing could take place was to interact with her. I invited her to sit with me and soak in rays of sunshine sifting through the branches of my sycamore tree.
I learned to recognize her nudges to learn how to establish new boundaries. Before, I had only a few. My career took precedence because I had to work to provide for the needs of my family, which stole time that my children desperately craved.
My youngest son once made the comment he often cried at night, where’s Mama? I had no clue this happened, and it broke my heart. The decisions I made early in his life affected him decades later.
As I wrote these words, my stomach tightened in knots. However, today I can accept his feelings and ask for forgiveness and then forgive myself. Even though forgiving me is the hardest forgiveness to offer, I must do so to keep myself from hiding again.
However, the rubble left standing from my crisis are the building blocks my original self needs to build a flourishing and authentic new life. Back to my story. Remember the qualities of that little girl? She was intelligent, put others first, and had a wanderlust with words.
Think of all the qualities you have hidden and make a list. These are the seeds of your future. Embrace your gifts. Sit back and imagine the things you can accomplish with your treasure and add them to your list.
Take those seeds and plant them in your heart. Give them a name and nurture the fruit. They will empower you to take action.
After you have decided your plan of action and established your boundaries, the way will open up and you will have a clear vision about what to do.
For example, I combined my love of words and caring for others to create a publication that encourages, inspires, and empowers women to lead fulfilled lives. A dream birthed in calamity. You’re reading it!
Finding your original self may be painful. You may have a crisis that precipitates the need to search for and unearth that precious part of your spirit. However, she is there, waiting, to help you.
Today, I can move about a little easier in my mind and emotions. The mountains that stood before are beginning to crumble and I can see daylight at the end of the tunnel.
Don’t be afraid, pick up a shovel, and dig.