Updated: Sep 10
“Owning our inner core of goodness is a quantum leap in the spiritual journey.” Father Keating
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.” Brene’ Brown
I went HOME this past weekend, although not to my beloved home state of Michigan. HOME is retreat center tucked away in the North Georgia mountains (this picture is the magnificent sunrise on Sunday morning!)
In recent days, HOME has also been a metaphor of my true self. A place where I feel welcome to explore parts of me that have been hidden or lost. A set aside, centered space to care for my feelings and desires, to compassionately nurture my body and heart.
You see, my other self (some call it the false self or separated self) has often pushed hard and over-compensated with its desire to be accepted, accomplish, accumulate. My false self was gravitating to what culture says is most valuable…with my Enneagram Type 1 shadow cheering me on: look important, be productive, feel obligated to be better, cover up what I really want and need. Emotionally exhausting!
Thankfully, at HOME, I encountered a more human part of me that has always been there, but I had moved away from. I found that stillness and silence opened up space to gently explore my story, my feelings, the deeper and truer parts of me.
Where did we Iearn that to be loved we need to work to the bone, push through the pain and avoid emotion?
Many of us have been taught that our stories and our experiences don’t matter. Some of us feel deep pain and shame and resist the very idea of going there….and understandably so! Aundi Kolber in her fantastic book, Try Softer encourages us to “escape the allure of the ‘try harder’ gospel—the message that if we just keep going, keep hustling, keep pretending everything is great, we will find success and happiness. This white-knuckling path leaves us overworked and overwhelmed, exhausted and numb”.
Here is what I discovered a little more this weekend with Silence and Solitude on this ever-expanding journey Home to the true self:
The true self is smaller---It doesn’t have to be big to prove itself to the world. It doesn’t have to be right or perfect. It is content to be as it is. Identity and motivation of the true self comes from the center of being loved with a very compassionate and nurturing Gaze.
The true self is softer---It is unhurried and not rushed. The false self is always trying harder and ends up being harsh. Hard people are harsh people because they don’t feel safe in the world and don’t have safe places to express their needs. The true self has found a secure and comfortable place to express their needs without judgement, displeasure, shame or fear of being accepted.
The true self is more honest---It is not afraid to open up to a Love that never changes. And this Love is welcoming and accepting regardless of how the self comes. Some days it comes discouraged, fearful, at odds with the world. This Love is happily with us, no matter what.
The true self is more aware--- It is able to name what it needs and wants. It gently accepts imperfection and is aware of God in the mess. While the false self tends to get stuck in “one way or the other”, the true self is un-offendable, secure in the world, and able to hold tension well. .