June 4, 2013
Beyond the Masks: More Than a Label
This week, I bring you the conclusion of Kylie's series in which she tells how she overcame the labels and identities that kept her locked in the past. It has been so wonderful having her on. If you've been helped or inspired by something she's shared, be sure to leave a comment for her!
And then the true beauty of our rich inner life is revealed.
Beyond images. Beyond identities. Beyond labels.
This is where the truth, the real beauty, and the core of our being lies.
As a result of abuse and trauma in my childhood, I formed a fear-based reaction which became my “personality,” or the external aspect of myself that I was willing to share with the world.
I shared with you in the first two posts how this identity metamorphosized from “the rebel” to “the ‘looking good’ conformist,” and how I defined my inner worth and beauty based on these. I revealed to you the consequences, internally and externally, to creating a false self to project into the world.
Now I want to share with you how I broke through.
Once I decided to leave my new, popular, cool group and venture out into the world of recovery and healing alone, I had to come to terms with how alone I really was. How alone I am. How aloneness inescapably penetrates the human condition. This was the most painful realization of my entire life, and oftentimes still is. This is not to say that we cannot connect deeply and share intimately, because we can. Interdependence and relating to others is a beautiful, life enriching experience. It does imply, however, that we are 100% responsible for our journey, process and healing. No one else can do this work for us. No one else can truly understand or feel what we are feeling, or know what we need to do.
Deeply sitting with the pain of feeling alone, and not trying to cover it over with any image, reaction, or distraction, was the gateway to freedom and understanding the true self for my particular journey.
I realized through this deep contemplation of what Buddhists call emptiness, that any time I say “I am (fill in the blank with a noun or adjective)” then I am limiting the experience of my true self. So to say “I am a victim,” “I am a survivor,” “I am a rebel…” had some meaning and some importance, but eventually it becomes vital to let all of that go and sit deeply with the emotions underneath the charge of the story, to release myself from any need for identity or label.
True beauty gives birth to itself in spontaneous expression in the moment. From the bare naked soul interacting with self, others, and the world.
The false ego or false identity stems from a desire to avoid something, usually a feeling. I learned a few methods that I return to again and again, on a daily basis, when something inside of me is generating discomfort and I want to spin out into the lies again.
The first is to let go of the story. If I am feeling anger towards the people who abused me, then I can let go of the “I was abused, I was attacked, it wasn’t fair, I couldn’t defend myself” story. I can just sink into the emotion of anger. I allow the energy of anger to move throughout my body, to rip and burn … to do whatever it needs or wants to do. If I just sit through the experience without repressing or expressing the anger, the energy dissipates, as well as the story. The “I am angry because I was victimized” story has less power over me as a result of allowing the authentic feeling in the moment to run its course.
Another way to achieve a similar result is to ask myself “Where am I feeling this story, thought, or emotion in my body?” I do this when anger arises, or if I start thinking about something traumatic. Typically I can locate where it is in my body within just a few seconds. Then I can focus in on that body part. If it is my stomach or abdominal region, I focus there. I tune into the sensation deeply. This usually leads to some memory of trauma that occurred there, which is another story. When I tune into it, I can do a few things. I can send love to that area of the body, I can let myself know that I am going to keep myself safe and take care of myself. I can give that part of me a voice, express through sound, movement, or art. Whichever path I choose in the moment, it serves to provide true relief, and restores integrity to a part of my past that is painful.
When we create any sense of story or identity, we are no longer living fully. Identity is stale, stagnant and exists in the past. Life is fresh, energizing, and exists only in the present moment. Unless you are experiencing victimization in some way in this precise moment, trauma exists in the past. We bring it into the present moment by continuing to hold onto the story, in our bodies, minds and emotional bodies. I have to commit to releasing all of this, every single day.
And as I do, the truth of who I really am begins to be expressed.
Healing is only possible in the present.
We can all make that choice, to heal fully … right now.
Kylie Devi is the author of Recovering the Spirit from Sexual Trauma: From the Traumatic to the Ecstatic, a 21st Century guide to healing the body, mind and spirit in the aftermath of rape. Her healing process took her through an incredible journey of intensive study with teachers and guides in the Tibetan Buddhist, Maori, Cherokee, Hindu, Yogic, Sufi and Christian traditions. She has created over 100 healing based live events, retreats and workshops. You can check out her work and availability at www.recoveringthespirit.com.
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