I’ve become interested lately in how our idea of healing can be a subtle form of self-hatred.
The orientation of transformation being to finally become enough. OK- in the eyes of myself, other, god. Whatever our particular yard stick is, today.
We are all tender, delicate creatures deep inside. We are also mighty and endlessly powerful.
We are deeply special, and completely unspecial – all at once.
We contain everything, and we are all the same.
We want desperately to know, that we are okay, lovable, safe – not messing everything up completely.
We try so hard – to be okay.
But this is where healing, transforming, spiritual growth, meeting goals (however it’s packaged), the perfect asana, the perfect body, the perfect career, the perfect transcendent state, the perfect embodied scream – whatever – can be just self-loathing, dressed up.
When it’s not coming from an energy of loving ourselves so much we want to treat ourselves well. To expand into our deepest potential. Which is powerful.
But instead coming from an energy of discontent and wound.
The energy and intention behind our actions informs the outcome and the way it all feels in our body.
I had a call with a woman in America a few months ago. Out of the blue she said “you have so many attainments.”
To be honest I wasn’t sure what she meant. I had a sense, but I thought it might be some fancy Zen language I didn’t understand.
So I googled it after our call.
And I wanted to call back and say “No! No! No!”
There is no trophy cabinet.
Imagine all the energy you’d have to spend just to dust the fucking things, polish the trophies, guard the trophies- point people in their direction for admiration. (Hey? You noticed the big, shiny one, just sayin?)
Healing, growth, transformation- in my experience- is not about adding. It’s often about subtracting, to reveal the wholeness we already are.
It isn’t about adorning ourselves, like Christmas tree’s.
It’s not about adding artificial light.
Feeling we have to fix – or fix-up – ourselves and others, is exactly the fear that leaves us separate from ourselves and others.
And whatever we’re afraid of, owns us.
Transformation – healing – doesn’t come from cutting and pasting our personalities and lives into some idealised version of self.
This is where our neurosis come from.
The trick is not adding artificial light, but removing the blocks to reveal our inherent light.
Throughout our lives we build walls, protection around our hearts, beings, bodies – when we’re afraid or hurt.
Someone breaks our heart – up goes a wall, we’re criticised by our parents – we erect a fort.
Culture tells us to be more.
Ads tell us to add more.
Even spiritual teachers can tell us to be nothing or everything, depending on their flavour.
We fear we’re not enough so we start to contort what is true for us, into what we think is expected of us instead
We create barriers and blocks between what we truly are, and life – not because we are bad, but in an effort to keep us safe and accepted.
And these attempts at staying safe, actually keep us separate.
The walls we build to keep others out, end up keeping life out. Out of our bodies, out of our hearts, out of our experience.
Then we wonder why we secretly feel lonely, despairing, anxious.
Because all the light that we inherently are, is blocked by things we ourselves erected.
So we start adding to, and adorning ourselves to try to be enough, or feel good enough.
Because maybe this will be the trophy in my cabinet that finally makes me whole…gets me recognition…brings peace.
And we look at everyone else’s carefully curated and projected decorations and think they have their shit together.
Here’s a secret: they don’t. No one does.
Healing isn’t building a perfect self.
It’s about seeing, shifting or dissolving the walls and blocks to revealing our true self.
This is a different expression for everyone. There is no prescription. Only what is deeply true for me and can I let it shine?
So let’s burn the trophy cabinet!
Nobody’s looking anyway. They’re too concerned with their own reflection in its door.
Burn it, and then dance around it. Not for performance but for the pleasure of granting ourselves the permission to write the playbook for our lives.
Healing, transformation – is an inside job.
There’s no bikini shot for Instagram that could ever trump it. No “public figure” job description. No business card. No trophy. And certainly no state or spiritual experience.
We cannot control our way to peace.
We cannot lasso freedom.
But we can come in to such deep inner rest, such deep acceptance of all the things that we are, and that are here, now, our utter magnificence, and complete ordinariness. Nothing desperately sought, and nothing avoided either.
In this place, the “shoulds” fall away. And this is what is meant by liberation.
We allow ourselves our hilarious, beautiful humanity. To be flawed, completely clumsy and imperfect.
From this base of deep acceptance- transformation and healing can’t be stopped. It simply unfolds.
We are all in the same human bodies. We can breathe, and allow our humanity. We can see it is a portal to the divinity we already are.
We can see the most exquisite sameness (and simultaneous uniqueness) – everywhere, in everyone.
From this place, trophies, accolades and additions are no more than heavy things to be carried.
It feels so damn good, to put them down.