Dear One: You haven't lost her
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Dear One: You haven’t lost her.
I hear you. Some days it feels like you’re floating around in your life: detached from your body, moving through the motions of the day, crossing off to-dos on physical or mental checklists. You count down the minutes until you can drop your body into bed.
Wake up. Be productive. Sleep. Repeat.
Wake up. Cross off checklist. Sleep. Repeat.
Day. After day. After day.
At some point you ask yourself, is this it? Has my life really boiled down to the act of completing tasks?
You recall that time in your childhood when you filled out a piece of paper at school:
My name is ________________.
I love to ____________________.
I want to be a______________.
You remember how innocent those answers were. Full of big dreams. Limitless possibilities. Curiosity.
No council of Negative Nigglers outlining all of the possible
No voice inside making you hesitate – making you question the very thing that sparked your curiosity. That’s the thing about hesitation: the moment it happens your brain wakes up and says, “Uh oh! We have a problem here! Launch the stress response!”
It feels like such a huge gap between the dreamy innocence of childhood and the present moment.
You wonder, where is she? I’ve lost her.
And then you open a magazine, or a book, or the computer and you are inundated by curated stories of success, love, and connection. You read stories about people living their dreams or “finding” themselves. The stories about magic prescriptions or recipes of what to do to change ________ are everywhere. You see 5 step programs to be a “better you”. You hear about life “hacks”: do more with your time, have greater brain-power, be more effective/efficient/productive.
We begin to keep score.
How do I score next to the rest of my world?
You begin to question why you’re not scoring as high.
You wonder if there is something wrong with you.
You question whether you’ve lost yourself.
You contemplate the idea of creating a “better you”.
Well I’m here to tell you that you are not lost.
You are right here. You’ve never left. She has never left.
You see I believe that we are born as our true selves. Perfect.
A toddler dancing to a busker’s music.
A child singing their heart out in the middle of a store.
Spontaneous. Instinctive. Curious. Joy.
And then as we grow up we begin to don cloak after cloak. Each cloak a layer of expectations, experiences, and negative self-talk. We shore up our posture, build our strength and carry on.
We carry on until one day we notice how heavy it all feels. We notice how far we’ve travelled from that curious little child. And perhaps, if we’re listening closely, we hear her inside. We feel her. She’s in there, you know. Waiting. Patient. She never left.
And so the journey through the rest of adulthood is the process of taking off the cloaks. Shedding the weight of the expectations. Witnessing the Negative Nigglers, but choosing to get quiet and listen to the curious little child.
Layer, after layer, after layer shed. Until we hear her more loudly. We feel her more strongly.
She’s there. She is not lost.
So I ask you:
How far do you feel you have travelled from her?
Can you hear her?
Do you feel her?
If you feel like she is lost somewhere in the abyss then I’m here to tell you she’s there. Right there. Beside you. In you. She has never left.