This is Me: Real and Raw
For today all I can do is write. Sometimes the weight of the world, as we call it, feels debilitatingly heavy. Today I am having a really difficult time being in a body. The ache of the sadness is so strong, I feel the pressure on my chest, in my heart. It reaches up my neck into my throat, it burns. My belly is tight as I work to breathe through the tears.
Why is life so short for some?
I constantly feel a dissonance with working “too hard” yet always feeling that I am not doing enough. There is so much I want to do, so much I’m capable of doing. Grand visions have flooded my imagination for as long as I can remember, and sometimes I am in blissful ease with them, trusting it is all going to happen.
And then there’s this thing called “time”.
This thing that limits me and has me feeling like there’s not enough of it. How it is possible to do so many things that require so much time? Is there enough total time to do all these things? How is it that I can live to my fullest expression and simultaneously be of service to others as much I desire to?
I understand that those things are one in the same. I understand that my greatest gift and treasure I can offer the world is that same thing that I yearn so deeply to express.
Where do I begin? I feel I am taking some steps, and doing my best as always to stay in the place of trust with my intuition, yet I still feel stuck in many ways too. I walked away from a metaphorical prison to be free. Yet I feel like I have built myself into my own prison once again. I created another new business so I could be “in charge” of my time and location — albeit much more aligned with my truth, and very much answering a higher calling in this choice — yet, I am beginning to feel the tension of expectation…
Yes, it has gained me loads more freedom, and in so many ways I am fulfilled in the mobility and lack of limiting structure it allows me. Yet, I absolutely know as well how it allows me to hide.
In the last 4 years, since launching Held In The Heart, I’ve put myself out there in ways I never would’ve dreamed of doing in the past. And for that I am proud. I’ve come out of hiding a great deal. And, there have been ways in which I’ve continued to nestle myself into a safe little solo corner, where nobody really sees me. Nothing I share or write or teach about is untrue, yet, it isn’t necessarily the full picture either.
I’m still hiding.
And then I have the constant internal debate of whether I need to share more, or if it’s ok that I don’t because that’s what’s true for me. Fear versus Truth. Oh, how much of life do we spend in this juggling act? Trying to discern which is driving our actions, or lack thereof…
Someone incredibly talented and gifted and BRIGHT, and too, too young passed away yesterday. I read about it just now and it struck me to the core. I have followed along a bit, in this brave woman’s journey with cancer, and even though her passing was inevitable, as per her critical diagnosis, the news still comes with feelings of tremendous sadness and loss. As I allow myself to sit here writing and crying, so many feelings are passing through my body, it is almost unbearable. I feel as though I could combust from the movement of energy.
Allowing myself to feel these feelings — allowing their motion to take place and pass through as they need to — is no small ask of this physical vessel. It pushes me into places of, sometimes extreme, physical and emotional discomfort.
Yesterday, I listened to a talk from a very wise, and very funny, spiritual coach. He discussed how one of the most important characteristics of people who achieve greatness, is their willingness to face fears and do things that make them very uncomfortable. That this is a courageous way of living. It’s not that they don’t experience the feeling of fear — courage doesn’t mean living in the absence of fear — it’s that they are willing to feel it when it shows up.
In my own coaching work I share a lot about this — that the greatest force and source of healing often lies in simply giving expression to our emotions, allowing ourselves to actually feel our feelings. I can say with confidence that in this way, I do live courageously. My life is absolutely not absent of fear, or other feelings that induce discomfort, however, when I am met with those feelings, I do not push them down. I do not run away. I do not avoid or deny. I give them space to be felt, and allow my body to process them. And in this experience, I am not “thinking” about my feelings or trying to figure out “what to do” about them. I am simply allowing them to be felt and expressed.
In fact, I am in the expression of my current discomfort at this very moment.
Writing is one of the most valuable tools for me when strong emotional energy is moving. If I need to cry, as I was until just a moment ago, then I will love myself and allow the tears to flow. Sometimes that’s all that needs to happen. Other times, as with today, the energy is bigger and louder and needs to express itself in other ways too. Sometimes that looks like playing music, sometimes that’s wailing into a pillow, sometimes it’s a brisk walk in the mountains. Sometimes — a lot of times — it’s writing.
As I write right now, I do not yet know if this is something I will share. Again, that dissonance of, “Maybe it will serve people to read this and witness my vulnerable process and truth..” or “This is very personal and I don’t need to share every little moment of my healing with others.” Both are true. Both are fair.
This inner debate process often spurs the self-doubting thoughts of “Nobody will even read this, so why share it… what I’m doing isn’t reaching people, so it doesn’t matter.”
In complete transparency, like I mentioned earlier, I am struggling to be in body today. Some of what that looks like right now in my life is: I am feeling deeply unfulfilled in a few specific areas of my life (tears begin again as I type that and imagine someone else reading and witnessing my vulnerability), I am questioning many things about what I’m doing for work and how I’m showing up in the world, and I am marinating in a little bit of shame around the ways I am hiding and holding myself back — why shame here? Because I know better.
I toggle back & forth, as a highly introverted, highly sensitive, highly independent person, between needing/desiring/enjoying lots of alone time (more than most people would ever want or can understand) and feelings of great loneliness. The ache to feel supported and surrounded by people who truly know me and care, is real. And it’s one of the things that
simultaneously scares the shit out of me.
As basic as it may sound to many, some of what those grand visions I imagine are: being in a room smiling and laughing and creating with others. Specifically this vision exists as me in a recording studio enjoying the challenge and inspiring process of collaborating with others to make songs — or musically-speaking even simply basking in the silly joy of singing karaoke, feeling carefree and having a group of friends there experiencing that joy with me.
On a more intimate scale, I also dream of a birthday dinner where I am sitting with a small group around a table — the people closest to me that want to come together to celebrate. And not because I want to be the center of attention — that’s one of the main things I’ve consistently shied away from in my life — because I just want to feel safe and worthy of receiving that kind of love.
For the majority of my life I have been in a position of others “needing” me. Before I woke up to the awareness of what this dynamic was for me as an Empath, I was in a chronic state of “over-giving”. And it wasn’t at all that it felt “good” to give that way, it was an unconscious assumption I had that it was my job to do so — to be there for others and carry their pain.
Because I have shown up immensely to healing this for myself, and therefore no longer carry others’ pain, I am in a much healthier place, of course. That said, I am also keenly aware there are some specific ways I have gone to the opposite extreme of not allowing others in to my “inner circle” self. This is because I do not trust that that dynamic isn’t going to rear it’s ugly head again.
I’ve done so much work to re-balance my relationship with Me — and Me is who is my first priority, truly the love of my life. So there is a bit of feeling protective of this precious self anymore, and especially on days when I’m struggling to be in this human suit, the thought of having someone break this trust, or take advantage, or try to “latch on”, is simply too exhausting. So what’s the “easier” thing? To keep to myself.
I know, what I’m doing is so obvious it’s practically gross. Let’s not let people in so we don’t get hurt! Talk about basic. It’s like the most obvious, textbook example of allowing your pain from the past to control your life in the present. It’s the fear of “What if that happens again?”, and instead of being willing to risk it and find out — and trust that we are strong enough not to let it — we convince ourselves that we are saving ourselves from the pain. Our ego gets us believing that we’re making a “smart move” by doing this. And ya know what doing this is not? Courageous.
It’s the opposite of feeling the fear and facing it.
So herein lies some of the shame and the guilt I am feeling today. I know exactly what’s happening, and it essentially nauseates me to watch myself doing it. Yet, the fear of that vulnerability is so strong. I will give myself the credit for the half I’m getting “right” — I do allow myself to feel the feelings about this when they come up, yet, I am also still allowing myself to remain quite hidden.
When I read about Chef Fatima’s passing earlier, my initial experience was a surge of sadness and grief. Simply feeling overwhelmed by how awful it is. That an incredibly gifted, smart, talented, 29-year-old person would have her life cut so short. To have her life taken by such an aggressive, horrendous disease — one that has affected millions, and more people than I can count on one hand in my immediate family alone. And what deepened this sadness in some sense, was how inspired I feel by how she chose to approach this last year of her life — and by how many lives of others she touched in her willingness to be courageous. What a pure act of human service. Choosing to celebrate her remaining time and offer herself as an example to others of what facing fear and truly living looks like.
On the heels of this, it feels shameful and embarrassing to admit what I’m about to write. And in the interest of not hiding, I’m going to write it anyway.
Upon the initial response I just described above, the subsequent thoughts and feelings that started to creep in after that were two-part:
1. I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I am 36, and even at this still very young age, I have already been granted 7 more years than Fatima got. And what the eff am I doing? I feel guilty that I am allowing myself to remain stuck in fear when I damn well know better that I have MAGIC to share with the world. I feel guilty, as if I am wasting time in this fear. Time and years that Fati’s bright Soul will never get to experience for herself.
2. “What if something like this happened to me? Who would be there?” Yes, I am blessed with family that I know would support if I ever had to face something so horrific. Yet, because of the fears I still carry from the past, it’s easy for my mind to wander into the territory of “Could I really trust that there is anyone that would be there for me in that BIG a way?” And, maybe what feels scarier is, “Would I allow myself to receive the support when it shows up, or would I continue the pattern of believing it’s “safer” to do it alone..?” That’s pretty scary…
to imagine this fear could be that powerful.
That even in an actual life or death circumstance I might still allow it to convince me it’s keeping me safe.
My higher self understands there is no need to feel guilt. Obviously I didn’t do anything wrong here, nor is it productive for me to feel guilty about living the life my Soul is here to live, or about the length of life another’s Soul was called here to live. The healthier and wiser thing to do is simply be in gratitude for this life I have, and more, to gather the energy of these strong feelings and fiercely funnel it into courageousness.
In JP’s presentation, he asked us to check in with the main thing that we’re hiding. He invited us to identify one thing we could do as an exact first step to start bringing this thing into the light — an action we could take today. Not-so-coincidentally enough, the thing I wrote down that I hide, is literally the same thing he chose to hone in on as an example — singing. (I laughed to myself, as the Universe always directs me to what I need to hear and be reminded of in the exact right moments.) He then offered an example action step for someone who is hiding their singing voice — simple and straightforward, he said, “Go sing karaoke.”
When we move through times of great expansion and healing, there is often the belief or assumption that when we “come out the other end of the tunnel”, or “see the light”, that the insight or relief is going to look like some profound, epic, larger-than-life, “ah-ha” moment. One where we glimpse the entire Universe and our life purpose, and we feel blissfully awake and connected to all that Is. It does in fact look like this sometimes, and those experiences are magical!
Though, other times it is quiet and simple, inward… and that piercing simplicity is maybe even more powerful and meaningful than the “fireworks show”. In these other times — which really are more of the time, if we’re deeply tuning in — the only heart-opening truth we need to arrive at, the most potent elixir for healing all the pain and the guilt and the fear, the enlightened answer we need to the millions of questions of how and why, is simply that we need to go sing karaoke.
In the closing scene of the 1991 Steven Spielberg film, Hook, Peter Pan (Robin Williams) says, “To LIVE — to live will be an awfully big adventure.” These words are passing through my field as I come to this clearer, more peaceful place, upon writing and giving expression to my feelings. It is true, no? To be ALIVE in and of itself IS the great adventure we are here to experience — IF we choose to participate in it. Which means ALL the parts.
Comfortable and uncomfortable.
So to honor the 9-year-old me, who learned she had to hide, and who dreamed of singing on a stage (and who also LOVED Hook), to honor JP Sears in living his weirdness and dedicating himself to inspiring others to do the same, and to deeply honor Chef Fatima Ali, for showing us how to actively live in the face of death itself, I am stepping forward today in my heart’s knowing of this great adventure, surrendering myself once more to the beauty of this messy, one-of-a-kind human experience, and choosing to LIVE. What this means for me in the immediate future is, I gotta go sing karaoke. I guess it also means I’m sharing this.
Whomever you are, and wherever you may be in this moment, I THANK YOU for reading this and for witnessing me in this very raw process. I wish for you today the courage to also face your fear, to know you are safe and loved, and to choose to intentionally take action by doing whatever your karaoke is — even if it scares the shit out of you. You can be scared, and you can be courageous at the same time.
And feeling scared, and doing the thing that scares you anyway, is exactly what makes you courageous. Right, JP?
Much Love, 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.