Hiding in Plain Sight

Have you ever had the painful realization that you have once again been hiding ? Not that someone has broken into your house and might harm you type of hiding. I mean the unconscious decision to one again live small type of hiding. Something I do so well because I have been doing it most of my life. Living behind bravado, my loud voice, intellect, humor and so on and so on.

Hiding because of fear of being hurt, being found out, falling short, not being loved or being good enough. Hiding in my house with my dogs, depressed and unhappy finding reasons to stay put. Afraid of what will happen if I stay here and if I leave the house.

Suffering through not having what I need, being empty and confused. Sick of putting up a false front and looking for relief from food or tv Feeling my psyche beginning to crumble and my spirit dampen.

What am I hiding from ? Myself is the easy answer. My power, gifts, talents and what I have to bring to the table and give to the world. Once again choosing to live small.

In 2009 I was down sized on a very good job as a Grounds Superintendent for a resort and casino. Taking the job was a big risk for me, something I wouldn’t normally do. I was leaving a steady job in NC to move back to NY. My life was good and safe, just how I liked it. I has spent many years recovering, healing, growing, becoming empowered and felt ready for a challenge.

So on faith I applied for and was hired in this new position. Not that I felt as though I had arrived but getting this job was the culmination of a great deal of hard work. I was very proud of myself and felt this was a great achievement.

So I took the down- sizing very hard even though I was told it had nothing to do with my performance. That it was a numbers game and I was one of 5 middle managers being let go. But I didn’t look at it that way. I saw it as a failure and a risk I should not of taken. What was I thinking ? Why did I stick my neck out of the safety of my turtle shell ?

I was unemployed for 18 months and suffered from depression to the point I signed myself into the psyche ward  twice in one month. The first time after not sleeping for 6 days. Also during this time my female Doberman was diagnosed with bone cancer in her shoulder and eventually had to be put down.

I really believed that this was one of the lowest points in my life. Today I know that it was partially life being life but most importantly it was about me not listening. What do I mean by that ?

On some levels I knew that I didn’t want to continue working in the landscape and grounds maintenance field. That my soul and spirit were aching to be the healer and teacher that I knew myself to be. But I chose to once again find a grounds maintenance supervisors position because it was safe, I was good at it and it was a safe choice.

But the powers that work in my life were going to allow me to continue on the wrong path. I suffered a devastating knee injury and ended having surgery and a long recovery process. Two important things happened during my recovery. The first being that I didn’t lose my job with the company but could no longer perform the work needed to be the supervisor.

The second and more important thing that happened was I was immobile for  a while and had time to think and be with myself. I realized that all the wonderful people from the 12 step fellowship that showed up to help and visit me ended up seeking my counsel on their lives and recovery. It open my eyes to what I ma really here to do.

Now I wish that this was the fairy tale ending to the story. Really it was just the beginning of another chapter. Knowing what I am here to do has brought its own set of challenge. The biggest challenge has been how to use my gifts as a healer and teacher to help others ?

I have taken the training and become a Certified Life Coach. Becoming certified was a great accomplishment, but it didn’t answer the question how to reach people that I could help. I have tried starting groups, having workshops and retreats but so far without success.

Today my struggle is to continue to hold on to my heart and souls desire to be that healer and teacher. To spend time everyday to write on the book I have started, posts for my own blog and submitting guest posts to bigger blogs. Plus not sliding back into hiding because I believe the message and teachings I have to bring  to the world are too Important. Those of love, compassion, acceptance and unity.

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The Healing Power of Love

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I remember when my first spiritual teacher told me that love was the most important thing there was, that it could transcend and heal all things. I thought he was crazy, not the love I was familiar with. The love that I knew was learned from those perfect families on TV and any of that I received from my family came at too high a cost. So if that was what I needed to heal I’d rather stay broken. Little did I know how wrong that I was!

My difficulty with love growing up was that I really didn’t know much about it. It was so rarely mirrored for me in my family so that my perception of what it was became skewed. I remember as a little boy waking up early in the morning and running into my parent’s room and jumping under the covers to snuggle with my father. I felt safe, special and wanted.  Even today, fifty years later I can still remember the how he smelled. But as my family life changed drastically behind my mother’s alcoholism and its effects on my parent’s relationship and our family, those type of interactions with my father stopped. As a child with limited understanding, I thought that the fact that the nurturing ended was because I had done something wrong. This sparked behaviors of seeking for love and acceptance that were very detrimental to my well being.

Addictive Behavior pioneer and lecturer Earnie Larson describes these behaviors changes so simply “What we live with we learn, what we learn we practice, what we practice we become and what we become has consequences.”

Love became something that I thought had to earn. My life became a game of cause and effect. The game was that I had to determine who I needed to be for you to love me and become that person. That who I really was did not deserve love. How painful and tiring it was to realize that I spent most of my time tap dancing as fast as I could and jumping through hoops to get the love was mine because I was a child of god.

It has been a difficult, long and sometimes painful journey back to love and it has been worth every minute of it. I have learned that the feelings of love can sooth us, bring you to tears and warm your heart. But more importantly that the actions of love can and will heal the world. It is the courage that comes from self love that allows us to act.  It is true that in order to heal we will need healing acts from others but, it must start with us. This will allow us learn to act in a loving way towards others. My father is one of the gentlest souls that I know. But growing up he rarely acted from that place with me. He was overly critical; nothing was good enough for him. I understand today that he could only give me what he had received growing up. Having love in our heart is not the end, it is the beginning. A feeling of love unexpressed in action is wasted.

Love can be expressed in so many ways: compassion, giving of your time, showing up, understanding, empathy, listening not just hearing (there is a difference), patience, gentleness, teaching, encouragement and speaking the truth, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, a hug,  support and speaking the truth.

I have spent a great deal of time over the years seeking spiritual enlightenment through prayer, meditation, contemplation, reading, personal growth and workshops to relearn an old lesson. Simplicity is the highest form of intelligence. Walking and living in love is the highest spiritual plane. Living in love allows us to make decisions based in love. Love based decisions take into account all those that are concerned with and effected by the decision. Not making decisions from a place of love is one of reasons that even though the US is considered the riches nation in the world, we have children going to bed hungry and citizens that are homeless

Living love is available to us all and it is as simple as making a choice.