Now is the time for us to be our true selves.
This phrase might come as a bit of a shock to some; those of us who have no idea that we’re not being our true selves in the first place, as well as those who are coming to realise that all they thought was them has been handed to them from outside. The notion that we have our opinions given to us by outside forces, our tastes, fashion sense, morals, all of it, is a disturbing one.
The moment of seeing through that what we once thought was me, you, us is a deeply significant moment, one which can literally pull a person and communities apart. For what are we really, when we realise we’re not what we once were convinced we were, as we realise that our job is making us sick, our faith is based on fear and manipulation, or the relationship we thought we should have is in fact toxic and damaged. What about our shame? And our sense of right and wrong? Our self-awareness, even our very sense of self is untrue. What if even the truths we thought were true turn out not to be? What if we are not the ‘victim’, or the ‘boss’, nor are we the ‘party animal’ or ‘cynic’, perhaps we’re not even the ‘hard bastard’, ‘earth mother’, ‘teacher’….. Whatever category we put ourselves in can apply here. When our assumptions that once kept us safe and so secure disintegrate, then where do we turn for solid ground?
And all the friends that you once knew are left behind
They kept you safe and so secure
Amongst the books and all the records of your lifetime
For this shedding of the self with a small ‘s’ is the beginning of the Quest. People who have begun the questing have my deep respect and compassion, for I went through it myself. Old friends will tell me how opinionated I was, how sure I was of so much. I was well content in the walls, hangings, and furniture in the home I had made that I called Me.
Yet one day, long ago, when I had begun to sober up from the years-long party of my youth, a voice within began to clear its throat, ready to speak. When it did begin to speak it was so low and quiet I mistook it for a dull pulse of sound in my gut, like a hum of a large, distant bell. It said know thyself.
It wasn’t until a decade later that I left my lower-case self behind and began searching for the Self; that eternal part of the being that was me, which would be manifested in the outer world by actions that were authentic to this Me, the inner Self. I went, or rather, I was sent unceremoniously on, a Quest. The quest took me on a long journey. Through motherhood and a mismatched relationship I went, through the heffalump traps that Education lay down for my ego to fall headlong into. I fell in and crawled back out, wounded and humbled. Through deep grief at the shattering understanding of environmental crises; I am better at managing the grief I feel for Mother as she cries in her own grief at our species’ stupidity. I bow my head and I shoulder my share of the work in the Great Undoing. Of the loss of friends, the great visitation of Death of friends and companions. Of learning how to write, words that come out of me from somewhere deep in my gut. The same distant low bell that was struck, that called me from the lost world that I was in, now chimes its sound. I have learned to listen to its message, not with my ears, but with the sense of intuition that I have honed over these long, growing years and put it on the page in words.
Now I am over 40. I have become a writer, mother, lover, communicator and healer. I have learned how to teach yoga and heal; people know they can come to me for those things in their lives that are unfathomable, unseen, mysterious and deeply, deeply significant. My Self calls out to the world and those who have ears to listen know that I have done the work and this Self is a safe haven. I cast Runes and Oracle cards. Even my cynical husband has been quietly impressed by the simple messages that ring like their own bells, which only his Intuition can hear. And my stone circle is always there for your sanctuary in turbulent times.
(The next time you see me, talk to my Self, bypass all the nonsense of both of our undoing and let’s have soul-to-soul connection.)
More recently I have become a Board member for the charity Radical Joy for Hard Times. It means that I am able to dedicate more time to creating workshops and facilitating real support for those who are experiencing their own loss of self and an awakening to the deep crises of our times, both within themselves and in the world. Through RadJoy we can look straight and true at this new world, and at our new selves as they have been birthed in their new realities. To hold the grief and to still love this world, this is what I can help us see.
I am becoming my true self, small ‘s’. Through learning to shed all that which I thought I was, in order to connect to the Self, my self is much more authentic and I’m happier with inhabiting this being. Not that the work ever ends, of course it doesn’t. I have recently got a new paid job, so this is throwing up all kinds of new tasks on the Quest. I still get giddy, I swear way too much, I feel my ego bubbling over like an unwatched pot on a stove, and I don’t listen nearly enough. I am still highly opinionated and I occasionally sway like an aspen in a hurricane as my cycle dictates.
We’re in this together and I don’t suppose many people think they’re the finished article. And by the way, if they do, then tell them to go on a Quest. Politely, of course.
Words of the quote from Nick Drake Hazy Jane II https://youtu.be/512dfE03-DI
For more information about Radical Joy for Hard Times visit http://www.radicaljoyforhardtimes.org