No More Hiding
So I've been in "hiding" for a bit. Not really, but sort of. After years of living in a way that put others before---I mean way before---myself, I needed some time just for me. I needed to go inward. Reconnect. Nourish myself. Cry, sing, dance, laugh, just be. Be in my own company, my own space, my own quiet, creative world---a place of peace and safety. One that I used to access so easily as a child.
From birth it was my natural way. My imagination was most certainly my best friend, and I could easily spend hours on my own; singing, drawing, playing piano, talking with the critters outside... I have vivid memories of being around 5 or 6 and sitting in a corner of the living room (in the house where I spent my earliest childhood years) nestled up next to the record player. I would listen to my parents' Peter, Paul, & Mary album over and over and over again. Blissfully singing along, I would lose myself in my own daydreams.
I've always been completely comfortable being alone. In fact, much of the time, I prefer it. This is not necessarily an easy thing to express, because it is not a very easy thing for most to understand. Saying something like, "I prefer to be alone" has a tendency to not be very well-received---judged even. Of course I enjoy spending time with friends and family, and gathering with my community, or in satsang as we call it in yoga---it is nothing personal toward anyone else at all. However, over the years I have come to learn that it is not just about feeling comfortable being in my own company, it is in fact, a defining trait of who and what I am. Time alone is entirely necessary for me to function in a healthy way. And for me, it goes far beyond simply being introverted.
I'm what is called an Emotional and Environmental Empath. In short, this means that I not only feel my own emotions on a very deep level, I also pick-up/transmute the feelings of everyone and everything around me. Intuition is the filter through which I experience the world and I am highly sensitive spiritually, emotionally, and energetically. Thus, I literally feel other people's energetic vibration and emotions in my own body and energy field. Given this, alone time is absolutely needed to balance, detox, cleanse and recharge my system. And though, even from a very young age, I always felt "different" than others, I didn't always have the awareness that I do now about why.
Throughout my life, I learned from the world that it is not okay to be as sensitive as I am. It was not "safe" to feel this deeply. Thus, I internalized the message that there must be something "wrong" with me. "You are TOO sensitive. You can't go through life feeling that much." People have actually said this to my face. Even not so many years ago---people I loved. And it was painful. To essentially be told your true nature is something to feel shame over, or that you need to change, rather than being celebrated, or cherished even, as an ever-so-special aspect of yourself, is pretty heartbreaking.
Over the years, this repeated labeling of "too sensitive" left many jagged scars on my heart that read: You're not good enough. You need fixing. No one understands you. No one will love you this way. You're not safe. It's not safe to express yourself... and so on. Eventually I reached a place where I believed it all. So I buried my truth. And for more than a few years, I was basically gone. I had lost my Self almost entirely. The slow build to that point had somehow rapidly taken over and I had become (what I now define my experience as) "voice-less". No more music, very little authentic creativity, or much expression of myself at all. I was energetically empty, constantly giving to those around me, and absorbing and processing everyone else's emotional "stuff". And I wasn't aware of it. I was completely overwhelmed and, especially as an artist, that lack of true creative expression was slowly deteriorating me. I was spiritually sick.
It was a heavy, heavy place to be. And though I seemed to be so stuck in it, one day it's as if all of the sudden I just stopped. Something shifted, and I knew I had to "go". When I came out of that state of being I was raw. Vulnerable. Almost a little confused. But I felt awake. For the first time in many years, and ever in some ways, I was seeing things clearly. I needed to get back to basics, back to my Self, back to my essence, back to my art. And the only way for me to do that was to go fiercely into my heart-space, and surrender to the Universe.
It's been almost three years now since that time, and since I removed myself from the public eye, so-to-speak. My life, and certainly my healing journey, has been shared only with those closest to me, and it needed to be that way for awhile. I know to a degree it will remain this way, as I am somewhat of a private person, but I also know that it is time for me to step into the Light and share what I have learned. Maybe this will resonate with some of you and you will feel called to express your own truths, and dive in to your own healing. Maybe not. That's okay too. It's not my job anymore to be attached to how I, or any of this will be received. All I know is that I am answering a call in my heart to express again, and so I am.
The layers of this "story" are practically endless. I'm sure I will share more about this facet of myself, and my past, present and foreseeable future experience with this journey as it arises in these writings. I'm positive it will come up actually, as it is a integral part of my dharma to share it. For now, I will finish with this: Thank you immensely, with the whole of my heart, to anyone reading this. I welcome you, and appreciate you for investing your time in diving in here with me. Choosing to "be seen" is no easy thing. Sharing these thoughts and truths from the depths of myself feels terrifying in one sense. In another, entirely freeing. So if these are my two choices, without a doubt I'm going with freedom.
Until next time...
With Love & Grace, B.
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For many years, writing has been one of the most integral practices for Beth in her healing & spiritual journey. Through this expression, she has uprooted some of her deepest pains, and discovered some of her most powerful insights. She shares her very personal experiences here to offer you a look into the rawness of her healing process, and to continue expanding her own capacity to be seen & heard in her vulnerability and Truth. / Beth also writes the Mantra and Recipe columns of the Journal, and shares more stories & teachings on Instagram.