Notice what they are really giving you and respond from that.
This is the best thing I learned in acting class over the past year–to really see what people are saying and doing rather than projecting my own wishes and desires on them. What has come of this new awareness are some big surprises: I feel like Neo in The Matrix swallowing the red pill. The truth of life is that it’s tragic and heartbreaking. It’s also beautiful. People are shattered and often driven by self-interest. They can also be kind and selfless. People will take whatever they can get and turn on you when they are no longer getting it. They can also show up in a real way but this is more rare. I played my part in the game of denial and illusion with my blinders on by giving and listening and giving some more. People were happy to take the goodies without giving anything back and walk away to find the next person who would do the same.
I was incredibly blind to how much I did this until my inner well ran dry and I had nothing to give. When I began to express the slightest need to people who proclaimed love for me and said I was like family to them–I was shunned, ignored and sometimes judged. It is at a time of one’s greatest need that we find out who and what is real in the world and in our own hearts.
It is both terrifying and a tremendous gift.
It might sound like I feel like a victim but I don’t. I see how complicit I was. The wounded, abandoned little girl inside of me–the archetypal Orphaned Child–has been walking around my entire life saying, “Will you love me? If I do this for you, will you love me? “If I open my body to you, will you love me?” “If I am nice to you, will you like me and never leave?” and so on. I was giving my power away over and over again by saying,
I would take the crumbs on the floor rather than risk rejection or risk standing alone with the terror of truly seeing how incredibly small-minded, mean-spirited and selfish people (including myself) can be. I didn’t want to see. I wanted to pretend that it was okay so I could live in that cocoon of false security. I wanted to be loved so badly, I forgot to love myself along the way and, like a dog who knows nothing but to be kicked, kept coming back to the ones who kicked me for the small pat they would give me on the head. I did it. Me. But not anymore.
I see now that nobody was doing anything TO me, I was doing it to myself to have some shred of belonging. I see how often I allowed bad, callous behavior and was “forgiving” (not truly) and went back to the same hurts over and over again. I see how I allowed people to be careless with my heart, how careless I was with my own heart and subsequently, how careless I was with the hearts of others. For all of that,
I am truly sorry.
Beyond the wounded child behaviors, I also attribute this to having been raised with the Christian values of “turn the other cheek”, “love thy neighbor” and “service” (yes, those quotes are there for a reason). I have considered these things to be important because that’s how I was acculturated. I was brainwashed into believing that serving others and sacrifice are what life is about–that if I did that I would be a “good” person. What I have experienced both within myself and others I have encountered is that this way of being makes a resentful and rather fractured person. People think they are doing the “right” thing and then go around doing a lot of wrong things secretly because, at the end of the day, we have a need for liberty and joy that comes swelling up and needs and outlet.
Denying that part of us only leads to needless suffering.
I recently saw a little online meme that someone did that made it very clear that the person is miserable, hates their life and is clearly trying to call out for attention. To the question, “Who are you most curious about their responses to this?” his answer was “My wife.”
So why doesn’t he just tell her how sad he is, how angry he is and how trapped he feels? Why doesn’t he find his way to more joy? Only he knows the answers to these questions but I’m guessing it has something to do with fear of loss, with fear that if he rocks the boat, his tidy little life will come crashing down. Maybe it’s supposed to. Maybe he secretly wishes it would. Or maybe he’s bought into the idea that life is all about sacrifice and duty. I have personally discovered that living life from this place leads to bitterness.
A bitter person isn’t truly serving anyone,
they are just breeding more suffering in the world. They might believe they are “good” but it’s false. As Morpheus says in the Matrix, “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” They want to believe they are “good” so they keep living a lie. I don’t know what level of hell that is, but it’s one I’ve lived and don’t ever want to return to.
So here’s what I’ve learned: Take the red pill. Take it every day. Now that I’m doing this and seeing my life and my projections with new eyes, I see really clearly when there is something false in my life. I actually notice the people who walk in the room with the words “I” and “me” dripping out of their mouth and who want to consume everything in sight. I notice when people are wanting something from me and who are willing to do anything to get it. I feel what they mean and notice what they really do, not just what they say. I know when people are lying and call it out rather than accepting it and burying that awareness. Taking the red pill means that I trust my intuition/Higher Self. I am letting myself FEEL what is real. I feel lighter and more free with the layers of denial burned away. I experience more sorrow but also much more joy.
People who are slaves to a system that is killing them are not living. They are existing. People who stay in jobs that crush them, marriages that are empty and tied to duty for the false sense of belonging it brings are not doing anybody any favors. I hear underneath their words how fragile it all is. I hear how afraid they are to mess up and have it all come crashing down. The good news is that when it crashes and burns, new growth comes that is shimmeringly beautiful. Raw, tender shoots emerge in the new dawn of awareness that want to grow and be protected and nourished.
Those tender shoots are worth finding and allowing.
Becoming aware of what’s real has helped me not only see the raw truth of the small mind, I also see the luscious goodness of Consciousness as expressed through life. The animal part of us wants what it wants. The Higher Self or Source energy that we can tap into when we leave our small mind behind wants to GIVE in an authentic way. It sees what is needed and gives it freely. It listens deeply with great compassion and, makes sure that the self is factored into the equation. My Higher Self makes sure I am safe by alerting me to what is false. I have a new found sense of belonging because I’m not walking around feeling empty and hollow. I don’t need to get filled up because I am full with life force and Divine Love. I really love and enjoy myself and my life even in the hard moments. It’s a miracle to me and something I never thought was possible back when I was trying to control everything and everyone.
Letting go of control and embracing surrender has brought so much clarity.
I’ve learned that the values of service and love that I was raised with are good as long as they are expressed authentically. I have reached a place where I realize that it’s not me, Kymberlee, my ego, my small personality that needs to serve. That part of me needs a short leash and my Spirit needs to be the one holding it. There is no need for manipulation and no way to be be manipulated when one lives with the freedom of surrender.
Taking the red pill and seeing what’s real is grace. I am steered toward what is good and true and have genuine compassion, love and forgiveness in my heart for the parts of myself and others that are greedy and shallow. I suppose perhaps I always did see these aspect of life, I just didn’t have faith that I would be okay if I walked away from that way of being. Turns out I’m not only okay but actually much better off. What a gift awareness is.
What a gift it is to just notice.
Here’s a poem from Rumi as translated by Coleman Barks that reminds me of the gift of awakening by walking through darkness to emerge in the light:
How does a part of the world leave the world?
How does wetness leave water?
Don’t try to put out a fire
by throwing on more fire!
Don’t wash a wound with blood.
No matter how fast you run,
your shadow keeps up.
Sometimes it’s in front!
Only full overhead sun
diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
I could explain this, but it will break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there’s no fixing that.
You must have shadow and light-source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
When from that tree feathers and wings sprout
on you, be quieter than a dove.
Don’t open your mouth for even a coooooo.