Many of us experience having an inner reality and an outer reality. We navigate through our days, going to work, driving, finding food, all that stuff, with our outer selves.
Then we come home, and if we are fortunate, can drop all pretense. We can take off binding clothing, let any professional or social mask drop away, and relax. We say what we really mean, and we express our inner knowing. Sometimes that means venting, sometimes it means giving and getting hugs. We take care of our bodies and minds.
All of us do this to some extent. It's how society functions, and how we all manage to stay in the lines on the road and not go bonkers when we are stressed out.
But what if those two parts of you were more integrated? What if your outer self and your inner knowing were BFFs and supported each other?
What if the person you were when you were out in the world was the same person you were when you were relaxing at home?
What if you didn't ignore part of yourself when you needed to get things done? What if when you were resting you didn't feel an inner pressure to keep doing?
It's a fine thing to want to be part of the world and have success and get things done. But remember what lights you up. Remember what you loved when you were 9, 10, 11, and 12. That marvelous time when your mind was unfolding to all the possibilities, and before peer pressure became a big player.
Check in and see what lights you up now. Does what you are doing in your life have any hint of those past dreams? If yes, congratulations, If no, is there any way you can add a little? I know, it's unreasonable to think I can become an oceanographer-dog-rescuer-artist-psychologist (my girlhood aspirations) now that I'm in my late 40s, but I can love the ocean, be an excellent dog owner, help people through my work, and do creative projects.
Here's the thing- if you let your outer face and your inner knowing get too far apart, it doesn't feel good. At all. That's when you get into depression, dark nights of the soul, and having to suddenly change-every-single-thing-in-your-life territory. I know this because it happened to me, except it was my home life that was wrong and my outer life that was right. That was a long time ago, but I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. The holy-shit-I-just-can't-go-on-this-way-any-more knowing deep in my core. I said then that it felt like the tectonic plates of my soul were shifting. And they did. I made a new ground inside myself and committed to a new, different type of integrity.
I committed to not leaving myself behind ever again. I committed to living for my own growth and right action first, and then my care for others.
And yet I still slip up. I sublimate my own needs when people around me need and want things. I take responsibility for too many tasks and don't give myself enough recovery time. I make up stories about what is important and let those stories have power over my days. I keep trying. I try by stopping, sinking in, and noticing what I am doing and why. When I am skillful enough to catch a pause, I remind myself of the deep calm place that rests inside me that I can drop into any time. The stillness beneath the surface where I can rest in my heart. And I do my best to act from that space when I am out in the world, doing all the things.
Change is this way. You make a choice, you try, get it a little right, then you fail. And try again at a slightly different angle. You notice what helps and what hinders, and change your direction again. And somehow we muddle through time as it piles up on itself, with days of great beauty and days of great pain slipped in between the everyday.
I don't have a proclamation to end this post with. Just an acknowledgment that we are all here, together, and yet separate within our own lives, and I see that. I see all of you doing the best you know how.