One of my absolute favorite movies is, “Finding Joe”. It’s a movie the pays tribute to Joseph Campbell, an American Professor of Literature who studied comparative mythology and religion. Over time he created what is now referred to as, “The Hero’s Journey” and a profound movement to follow your bliss. In the movie the various narrators discuss the story of the Golden Buddha (stick with me, I promise to not get all holy roller on ya!). If you haven’t heard it the premise is that there once was a beautiful Golden Buddha that was incredibly beloved by the people in it’s village. One day the village was going to be under attack, so the villagers covered the Golden Buddha with mud. The invaders saw no value in the mud Buddha so they left it alone. Over time the villagers had forgotten that the Buddha was covered in mud until one day a bit of the mud cracked and exposed a small piece of the gold underneath it. The take away from this story? We are all gold under our mud. Our “mud” can be anxiety, depression, abuse, intolerance, judgement, addiction...really anything that is standing in the way of you following your bliss!
Think back to a time when you were completely broken. Just absolutely mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually broken. What feelings come up? For me the first is anxiety, this is because I am automatically triggered and sent back into time mentally to what was going on at that moment when I just “broke”. I even remember the date; January 25th. It was a morning, about 5 am and I had been up for 3 hours pacing my house and trying to figure out how to commit suicide. I was bankrupt in every sense of the word and in all aspects of my life. The road to this destination was long, 40 years of a lot of bad things. My own father had taken his life when I was younger and knowing what the aftermath for the people who loved me is what ultimately stopped me. It took me about a week to finally reach out to someone for help and to then find out I had suffered, not 1 but 2, nervous breakdowns within a 2 year period. I had stopped eating for about a week at a time so I was malnourished, dehydrated (apparently wine didn’t hydrate you, who knew?!), and was suffering from PTSD and Anxiety. Besides actually following through with my plan of killing myself I cannot think of a better description of “broken”. So, what better place to start glueing my pieces back together then when I plummeted to my rockiest of rock bottoms? What was your time? It doesn’t have to been as intense as mine (and, quite frankly, I sincerely hope it wasn’t!), but what was that moment when you teetered between giving up and hanging in there just an minute longer? Do you understand the magnitude of your choice to wait that minute out? Then the next? How about the next 5 minutes? Sometimes that is all we can commit to, the next 5 minutes. I remember when I was fresh out of recovery I would tell people you can only ask me questions I can commit to for the next 30 minutes to an hour, beyond that you’ll have to check back in with me. Putting yourself first and what your needs are is not (I repeat IS NOT) selfish. It’s self preservation. You want to be “good” for everyone else, but if your not good for you then your no good for anyone.
So when your knocked down, what do you do to get back up. Sometimes I feel like I’m one of those blow up clown punching bags that gets hit but pops right back up. But what I do know is that when my life is out of whack then something inside of me isn’t doing so hot. This could be my self care, my spirituality, or my perspective. I need to do an inventory of what I keep subconsciously fighting against and figure out a different way to approach the situation. For some people this means talking to a trusted friend who has gone through with you are, or a partner who is your rock, or just journaling to yourself to gain some perspective. For me it’s a combination of journaling, meditating, reading, visualizing, exercising, positive self talk and talking to God. When I stop one or more of these practices it affects my sleep, my mood...really my overall health and well being. And the energy I surround myself with has a big impact as well. Even at 43 I still believe that you are the company you keep, so keep it positive! When I surround myself with “Doers” (you know, those people who don’t just talk about stuff, they’re out doing it!) I feel inspired to go beyond what I woke up that morning planning. When I decided to quit my teaching job it was because I had been surrounding myself with others who were following their bliss, their soul’s call, their purpose. This inspired me to look outside of my own mental prison to see all the possibilities I had in the world if I’d only pay attention.
We all have our gold we are hiding under our “mud”. Today I give you permission to start chipping away at that mud. Hell, better yet, why don’t you go outside and run through the sprinkler to get it loosened and hose it right off!Show the world, and yourself, the gold that lives in you and make the choice to honor yourself and your gifts and let my know what you find! I’d love to hear all the amazing realizations you have about the fantastic human that is you!