Have you internalized the message that you have to stuff down your greatest joy? Have you somehow learned to avoid doing the things you most yearn to do while spending hours on things that feel like a drain of energy, or worse, just a filler while you avoid doing those things which deeply nourish your heart?
I was looking at Kimber Simpkins’ website, and in her video, “Magical Food”, she asked the question, “What really feeds your heart?” As I journaled about that, I came up with many things that feed my heart. Some of these I do regularly, like hiking with my dog, or attending inspiring yoga classes. Others, like writing, I avoid. I just never seem to get around to writing, or making collages, or coloring, or knitting, or needlepointing, or…or…or…ad infinitum.
Hmmm, why not? Am I too busy with work? Kids? Circus school? Nope. I spend a great deal of time doing things like watching traumatic shows on Netflix, or wasting time on Facebook, all the while feeling like a hostage, being held captive by these compulsive obsessions and others, when what my heart and soul long to do is ignored.
In writing about what I love to do, and looking at what I have replaced it with, I asked myself, “What happened? Where did the girl I remember go? The girl who spent hours in the woods or on the beach, investigating moss covered branches, rocks and shellfish. The girl who read for hours, made beautiful art and collage cards for her family, painted watercolors while her big sister made oil paintings. The girl who made up stories and wrote prolifically in her diary. The girl who endlessly danced, did headstands and summersaults in her room. What am I doing instead?”
The realization hit me! Somehow my interests had been hijacked by the obsessions of the adults around me. I went from nature, art and gymnastics to TV, overeating and obsessive, dramatic rumination. Somehow, I took on the obsessions and compulsive behaviors of my parents, while I learned to ignore, neglect and stuff down my own heart’s deepest longing. I have been living a half life, surviving as if life is a series of beatings to be endured. The baffling part of this is, I had no idea it was happening. It crept in sometime between 10 and 44 years old. The slow and steady loss of connection to the wisdom of my own inner compass was so insidious that I did not notice it.
So here I am, sitting in a hotel room in Wickenburg, AZ, having just completed a workshop at The Meadows, learning how to reconnect with myself. My own, true self. This week, at the suggestion of the therapist running the group, I have unplugged from my usual distractions of TV, Facebook, talking on the phone all day, texting and emailing. In the absence of those distractions, I have found something truly precious and worthy of my attention. I have found me. I have reconnected with my own deeply felt sense of what is right for me. Now my task is to move forward into my life and continue to honor that in the context of my daily existence.
I make the commitment to myself today to allow myself to Thrive! With a capital T! I don’t have to live the old way anymore. I give myself full permission to Thrive!
What are the ways that you don’t allow yourself to Thrive? And, as Kimber Simpkins so wisely asks, “What really feeds your heart”