A woman reminiscent to Mother Hubbard sits at the front of class. I watch every move she makes toward her next task. My Kindergarten teacher. Always hoping for a glance my way. I want her to see me. Maybe she would drop the chalk on the floor or perhaps she would ask me to help pass out papers. I don’t want to miss the opportunity. Her appreciation was always the best. I don’t want to let her down like the time I accidentally brought my milk carton back to class and forgot to throw it away. How could I have messed up such a simple task. That day I wiped my snotty nose into my navy paisley dress and cried so hard on the bus ride home that other kids looked at me with worry. Mrs. Pabst. She knew everything. She was so smart and always right. I could never let her down again. I would remember her forever. Even into my fiftieth birthday when I would realize how my people pleasing patterns had became so strong that the world around me would begin to collapse. A burden so heavy to bear that it had began to betray me.
Rushing around grabbing ten different things, some were favors to others. Servants serve and the list is always endless but I don’t drop so much as a feather. At times it may seem similar to bumping my head into a door and moving awkwardly yet quickly forward. These patterns are endless. I allow myself to catch my breathe, left fist clenched tight against my heart. I forgot why I was doing this anyway, yet maybe I never had a good reason? This sudden shift caught me off guard for a moment. Allow me to share something. I am in my trauma and in this moment a few months ago, I was about to awaken in a huge way. A deeply hidden shadow inside myself had presented itself forth. One that has been the most difficult to shine the light upon. This shadow does not show itself on a hillside in the day, but hides inside my deepest closet at night. This shadow has been the one that has kept me imprisoned the longest. This shadow has a fierce hold on me, so tight, and so large, that I began to realize that it was wrapped, like a jacket around the largest part of my personality. And when I read a quote recently that said, “Where your suffering lies, is also your place of power,” I realized that I could hold on no longer to these swirling carousels that kept me bound. A punishment that I had brought on myself from my own shame. Every reason that I did anything good, unknowingly, I had an ulterior motive. I did not want to admit this. But the five year old girl in me was still looking for her place to belong. To feel safe. She never felt safe actually. The only time she felt held was when she was alone in the woods with nature and God. And even those moments were short lived. Everything in my life I did for approval. That same little girl who could catch on odd look from across the room and go into panic had not changed so much. It took everything. How much had I grown in my adulthood when I began to realize how many codependent relationships I had attracted in my “doing, pleasing, helping, and pandering.” How much an innocent snub sat on my heart. Even so the same pain was felt when I was concerned that a friend was upset with me or that their meme in someway was related to me or something I possibly did wrong. That little girl in me did not like to be disliked. The funny thing, I’m realizing that underlying it all the joke is on me. I was not the center of anyone’s world but my own.
This little girl always kept such a tidy bedroom. So perfect in fact, that my sister was not allowed to step one foot into my space. My sister and I always shared a room. To keep peace, my mother put a rope down the middle because I was such a neat freak. My sister could not so much as lay a towel over that line or I would go into an excited fit on to how that was not the way it was supposed to be. Lines were meant to be there for a reason after all! This boundary was the only one I have kept well and when it comes to healthy boundaries I was clueless. My family always thought I was a bit wound too tight the way I liked to have things in their place. It gave me comfort to know exactly where everything was. A yearning for some sort of control. Something felt okay when everything was in place. This eased me in some way. As a child, I had control of nothing. Suddenly moving to another school after violent blowups between my parents. Losing my friends hurt the most. Over and over again being forced to once again find my place in the world. A disheveled schedule I despised the most, craving a routine. I loved my friend’s mother so much. I loved the way dinner time was at six and then an hour for homework and how her house was always so clean and organized and pretty. I admire Captains who run well run ships. Every child needs to be aware of what is going to happen next. An unaware little mind does not learn well by unpredictability. Chill bumps writing this shows me why I am so extreme in my routine, or the organization that I feel that I must have in my home. This became even fiercer in my sobriety. When drinking, I only had time for the fanaticism of trying to control that one big thing. My addiction to alcohol. And wow was I good at that, managing that beast, until I realized that the more it appeared that I managed, the more destructive my drinking became. It was a monster in the end.
Perhaps I had ulterior motives in my pleasing after all. Who am I now as I realize that I can work my way into my own panic. Pressing so hard to carry everyone’s baggage around while still trying to work and organize my own shit. Who am I at the core of it, as I realize it has all been about control. It has become time for serious change. The most difficult lesson finally makes it way to the front door. It is time to let go. To let go of the pain of others so that I can focus on my own. To sit with and realize that I must put myself first and let others take care as well. Surrender Tina. Surrender to they way you want things to be. Let go.
A seed planted in the earth grows and blooms. We should watch the seeds we plant into patterns carefully and consciously. As children, we are unaware of our patterns so we begin an imprint into the nervous system from trauma. As difficult as it is for a child to experience trauma, there is opportunity for learning in our experiences. Those experiences set the tone for our life as an early adult. In a society full of escapism, we have a variety of opportunities to get out of our pain and distract ourselves. Until a raindrop of wisdom shows us that we are not living for our wholeness.
Recently I have began therapy. She was a teacher of mine in my 500 level Yoga Training. I felt a deep connection to her. She taught me recently that “wholeness” is a kinder word to use to explain how I can feel in my practices. This shows me that my driving force for Yoga is not my spiritual practice, but to feel whole. We are all spiritual warriors whether we are present or not. Spirit is always watching. I am realizing that I have buzzed into my life chasing my tail for many years now. As aware as I have become, I began to notice that I was still staying so busy that I was back into a cycle of perfectionism and righteousness. I was not liking how hard I was working. I was not taking time for myself anymore. I rarely sat in stillness and even in my meditations my mind was pressing further and further to the end so that I could jump back into the race again. Self care is the unfolding of the moment. Allowing things to be as they are without a want to the next thing. Although I am strong in my sobriety I found myself back in a distracted design. Clearly codependent with taking care of the messes of other people. Avoidance of feeling pain for a long time. It was time for me to deal. It was time for me to heal.
Acknowledging that my shadow self had a judgmental side was essential. I wanted to bring that darkness to the light for render. How could I pick apart others so much. After all this work, to not see the beauty in every human, in every being, was sacrilege to who I wanted to become. I had said for years, that I didn’t like judgmental people, but the truth is, I was quite judgmental myself. I walked heavy in my opinions. Self righteousness had weaved its ugly way deep into my bones, fascia and joints. I felt it manifest itself into arthritis.
I felt it the heaviest in the mornings. I had not made the connection until a deep and powerful meditation. I put a name on it. Arthur Righteous. I realized that the pain inside of me was from the holding on. The inability to let go of my judgement was deeply connected on a deep level to guilt and shame. Trauma from my childhood was extending itself outward into a disgust of others. I was beginning to understand myself. We softly put bandaids on top of our wounds without just allowing healing. It had become time for crucial change. I could not be more ready than I was. My issues were affecting me on cellular levels.
I reminisce of the one place in my life that I have always strived to stay the most busy in. My work. From the time that I was a sixteen year old ice cream server to my ten years at a local chiropractic clinic. Both jobs had one thing in common. An intense drive, ran by fire to do everything the best. To be seen as strong and appreciated. Although I was never sure what pushed this fire, I began to realize it was to feel complete and whole. To gain acceptance by my peers and to be loved. Recently I was struck to the core when my therapist guided me through a session. She let me know that children learn to please through trauma. They aren’t born with this quality. It is learned so that we may feel safe. I was so tired after this particular session that I slept twelve hours that night. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I identified hard as a helper. I prided myself as being so good at serving. I have even written a blog titled the Servant. This hurt my heart a little when I realized my serving had ulterior motives. I was in my own trauma of wanting appreciation and love. True service is without exception. And that when we step aside and allow others to help us, we are serving highest source. That I was depleted, panicky and anxious because I had been tail winding myself for so long that another reckoning had appeared before me. Forefront and center. I had to deal with myself once again. An awakening always calls for inward work.
I am intrigued by archetypal behaviors lately. I bought Robert Ohotto’s Master Class on archetypes and synchronicity for myself for Christmas last year. Robert is one of the most powerful teachers on this planet. Understanding myself more of how we can begin to heal. In Ayurveda, we are always in search of root cause. Switching herbs, or lifestyle choices, or practices up to see what is dissolved in the study of oneself. Nothing is rendered without root cause being uncovered. Unable to let anyone help with anything because underlying it all, I didn’t think anyone could do it as well as me. Both of my children at one time or another have voiced to me that they have never felt that they could live up to my expectations of them. That they felt that they always disappointed me. I will never be able to imagine how I have made them feel. It hurts me deeply, but I understand why they feel this way. Their truth is a strong light onto my shadow self. I have weighed them down with my own trauma. How heavy it must be for them to feel this way. I am the one person that should have been raising them and lifting them. Allowing them to do things on their own regardless of what way it was done. Instead I have fixed and guided my way into their entire lives. Taking our relationship to an ultimate mountain of depletion on my end and disrespect for me on theirs. I understand how we all ended up here. Sometimes disfunction calls for space. So that we can break patterns and all find out way to higher ground. I am hopeful that someday we can love each other with healthy boundaries.
Archetypes are patterned behaviors that remain sometimes so strong that they do not allow for growth. Much like a bird caged singing, we can not grow out of ourselves and begin to see that even the higher realms sometimes call for us to break ourselves open once again. Full surrender for what the world is asking of us. A people pleaser can become warrior strong. Letting go of addictions and toxic relationships. There is never an end to our journey. We always have higher ground to reach and even that accomplishment becomes stagnant when we hold on to our identifications. As a sober person. As a wounded healer. As a healed person and leader. Always raising our awareness. The infinite collective energy will draw us toward the light and our community. Full completion and wholeness. Bringing the people around you up instead of standing in front of them. Becoming one with the world around you. You have completed a round of the hero’s journey but have you applauded yourself for too long. Self righteousness will set in to those bones and show you fiercely that you must begin to move again. Not only forward but all the way around. It is time. It is serious ego check time. You have set the standard and you have changed your game. Yes, good. Good job. Now , keep going.
i was recently speaking to a client of mine and was compelled to ask her a questions about her upbringing. She, like me, runs fiercely in fire and routine. She is fit, powerful and strong in so many ways. But she also is always speaking of how her daughter should be living her life. I understand her. I began to ask her about her childhood. I sensed her own trauma surrounding control. I softened myself into her personal space. I began to see her become vulnerable to me. I was grateful that I had enough insight to ease into this conversation a little. Frankly, this is something that is happening recently into my work. I am finding myself being asked to work into breathe and trauma more. Reiki and meditations, Yoga stretching and breathe work. Holding space. It is a beautiful time in my business and as I feel myself grow and transcend my traumas, I am finding that the world is bringing me more of this work to do for others. I know even more so that I must stay strong in my practices. And check myself continuously.
The question and work becomes, “What am I holding on to.” Convictions and feelings create obstinate beliefs that manifest theirselves into our lives. They create their own design. A pattern from childhood trauma can literally run the show for years. Even to the point that we find ourselves pointing fingers of blame on our parents, circumstances or experiences. The truth is, we all have the power to dissolve these patterns by processing them. Of course we should look at root cause, and where the patterns came from. But holding on to experiences unconsciously can create disease, addictions, and codependent relationships. Allowing time for myself to look at my own childhood openly and honestly. To look at what I was not able to look at before with objectivity and honesty. This practice has been a true awakening for me. It brought me to understanding of myself. Why I had anxiety as a child. Why my anxiety led me to an addiction to alcohol. Why I walked in eating disorders throughout my life. Without identifying as to what happened to me, I began to be grateful for the lessons. If I was able to look at my childhood with honesty, it was a strong design that has given me self will. I am an independent person because of struggles. I see my parents differently now. Realizing that they truly gave me the perfect experience for me to grow from. I love my mom and dad so much and I ultimately realize that we all experience learning in our lives. This is the human experience. I only wish I could have realized more before my age now. But maybe this is how life is. We begin to gain a different perspective later, through wisdom.
Some lessons that call to us are so fierce that we distract ourselves repeatedly to avoid. But the lesson is there for a reason. Lessons take attention, and they patiently wait for that attention. Plans are laid out for us by a magnificent design. Our destiny urges us softly to lessons for our passage to becoming. If we can truly let go, we can see what the world holds in store for us. I pray to be softer, kinder, and to let go, over and over again.
Growth comes in the stillness. Self study is a powerful practice because we can unlock hidden passages that show us to take responsibility for our lives. I realize that I have always been held and protected. Regardless of anything. I have never been alone. That I can hold something in my heart and feel. That a well wishing or prayer matters. That thoughts are powerful.
Betrayal. My discovery lately has brought a hard truth to my plate. It is true that what we detest the most in others, lives inside of us. I never truly realized that I have betrayed people closest to me with the same patterns that I have not cared for in others. I have betrayed friends by speaking ill of them to closest allies. I have betrayed them by judging their own shadow self with my shadow self. I have betrayed my children by not allowing them to grow into adults. I have been called a control freak by my kids a hundred times. I see a fierceness in my sons face when I softly suggest things. I took offense when I couldn’t give advice but who was asking for it. Why did I feel that urge in the first place. My controlling tendencies extended itself into my functional alcoholism as much as it did in my work space. A ten year job I left after realizing I was doing it all. But the truth is that i didn’t allow anyone else to do things. I didn't want our patients tended to by anyone but me. I even began cleaning the bathrooms because no-one did that right. But the truth is, I helped my way into this design and found my way backwards in a deep dark hole. At this time, I was not aware yet that I orchestrated the whole thing. Years into this job, I began to resent my coworkers, and the fact that I felt disconnected to them. Almost shunned. But I played a big part in this. Although this was a tough lesson into my own behaviors, at this time, i was not open to seeing myself in this way. I was still blaming others for my own experiences. This did certainly allow me to realize that I wanted to work for myself. And that I felt differently about service than others. Work is my most important thing and probably always will be considering it always has been. I have a driving force to serve, but i serve differently now. And I work differently now. I will never criticize or judge the way other people do things. It is not for me to say. Or think.
The loss of my cat recently was a profound experience for me. As I held her in my arms and her spirit left this world, i was deeply touched. This felt like the end of an era for me. For the last two years I have been holding on to her. She was confused, sometimes she didn’t seem to recognize me. Her allergies and pain had become intense for her and it showed in her personality. Letting her go shifted something in me. For the last two years it seemed that my relationship to her had been one of only service. She had lost her desire to be affectionate. She hid most of the time behind the book case and only came out to eat. She hissed and growled for two months straight last winter and I wasn’t sure how to help her. My anxiety heightened during the equinox because this is when her behavior became extreme in her unhappiness. When I let her go, I felt lighter somehow. Looking back to her rescue, she was always aloof. Fiercely independent. And she whipped me into shape quickly when she found me. Forcing me to to tend to her demands. She forced me to be present when I mercifully let her go. I have surrendered a lot since her departure. My busyness has changed. I am walking slower and stronger. My extreme perfectionism is softening. Expectations of my kids have dissolved. My desire to control and orchestrate things around me has lifted. I do not feel the need to explain myself. I do not concern myself with people who may not like me. An inner knowing has given me clarity. I must make serious change in my life if I want healthier relationships with the people I love the most. To bring function to the dysfunction. I wish for my beloved kids to heal for themselves. And to become whole one day. Maybe one day they will truly understand. What I didn’t know then, I am beginning to understand now.
In my mind, I carry an image of myself. In that navy blue paisley dress. Standing on a chair up to the stove to help Mamaw cook. I speak back to this little girl. The Helper. Maybe I can give myself a break by sending her love. The truth is, if she had no trauma, things would have been different. But her trauma has also been such a huge part of her growth. I am grateful for the understanding. If I can truly see why I wanted to please to begin with, it lends for more awareness. At the heart of it all, I know that my intentions always come from the heart. My deepest wish is to continue to be a sanctuary for others in their healing. To hold space, without a plan, opinion, or judgement. To love unconditionally and to allow.
I promise to stay on the path.
So that I may always be an honesty and open sanctuary.
I promise to the people around me.
I will continue to work on myself.
With humility, transparency, and love.
e-RYT 500 of The Yoga Deck LLC
Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist
Ayurvedic Wellness Coach
Ayurvedic Health Counselor
Tina Chabot School of Yoga