taking my life's seat

It isn’t so much about achieving self-love, as about, in every single day of our lives, striving towards self-love.
— Jan Shepherd

I spent most of my life thinking "what's wrong with me". Anytime someone expressed a criticism, a disapproval, a disappointment in my direction, I fell into the dark pit of "what's wrong with me" pattern which is a learned, habitual response to difficult emotions, particularly coming from another. This is what I inherited from my mother, the universal story of mother-wound and having been devoured by the death mother in my early childhood and teens. I often mistook her as my flesh-and-blood mother but no, in fact my mother was a victim of this dangerous feminine archetype too. One is an utter, powerless, miserable victim unless one learns to see through this energy, to work with it, and to transmute it. It takes time, it's painstakingly debilitating and it's invisible to the one suffering from it. To have a fundamental belief of "something is wrong with me" is like having an internal bleeding without knowing about it: something is eating away at you, something is consistently draining your energy, something is constantly sucking your life force without you noticing it.

It's difficult to live with the belief "something is wrong with me". I lived with it for so long like it was being in a fog through which I couldn't see clearly. It made me susceptible to people's unconscious projections - including criticism, attacks, blaming - and my very fine, permeable energetic field full of holes sucked everything in, unconsciously. I learned to numb myself and swallow the difficult emotions. I filled me with delicious food - and sometimes junk food in my youth - to sustain the hunger, the famine of the wild soul Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls it. My heart shot down, and the juicy, vulnerable, wild soul got stuck behind the walls, in a tiny room tucked away, afraid to be seen, and protected from pain and aggression.

Thankfully, I had a sane, strong, sovereign and creative side to me too (as we all do) which was not only a survivor but a warrior and thriver too. I always lived through the wonder of embodying these seemingly contradictory life forces - one so creative and life-affirming, the other destructive and death-mongering. I often felt the tug of war inside me, not knowing how to reconcile these energies.

It was like waking up from a long dream when I finally was able to detach myself from the identification with "something is wrong with me". After 40 years I had a glimpse of self-compassion and chose to befriend myself, and I can't tell you what exactly helped me cross a threshold. It didn't happen in one miraculous moment, it happened in many laborious moments, falling to my knees, after many ceremonies, dozens of journals, anger fits, deep sinking into my grief, heartfelt prayers...and one day, I found myself at the shores of self-love. That mysterious territory to which there's no map but everyone has to find their own path through grace...

"This is the foundation of my work - to take the seat of my life. Without compromise, sacrifice, excuse, to fully take the seat of my life.
Without saturating my need to be solely responsible for my own, to take as much space and time I need, to be the queen of my queendom, this would not be possible.
I need to follow my need, guidance, impulses, inspiration, creativity, bliss with 100% commitment,
to honor the sacred mornings 100%,
to hear my Soul, to hear the birdsong,
to delight in my morning coffee.
Just to sit in slowness, without any hurry and greet the new day..." I wrote in my journal one morning towards the end of my winter retreat.

If these aren't the first lines of a love letter, I don't know what is. Acknowledging and honoring my need of space and to be in relationship with myself, opening space for the wild soul to find her full expression...to take the seat of my life.

I have just arrived here and took my first steps. And I assure you that it's a daily practice to remind myself "to be at Home and stay with myself no matter what". Then to move my body and say my gratitude. Every day. And when the "something is wrong with me" pattern shows up, I need to remember to slow down, to take myself to a quiet place, hold my heart tenderly and whisper again:

"I am here, I am home, I stay with, no matter what".