The Book of Awakening
It arrived today: the book I ordered on Amazon. I was really looking forward to it and it finally got here. (Truth be told, it only took a few days but don’t you feel like time slows when you are so desperately looking forward to something?)
I couldn’t wait to flip open the cover and dive right in. And it was no surprise to find him delightful and inspiring – so much so, that I feel like I need to hold myself back from devouring it all in one day 🙂
September 11th: The Discomfort of Newness
The book is a daily inspirational reader and I love the fistfuls of positive energy that he packs into such tiny little morsels of prose. Today’s paragraphs brought a cascade of feelings and thoughts beginning with: beginnings.
Mark’s thoughts were on the feeling of discomfort that likely comes with our first few unaided steps as babies, and the discomfort of each new experience in our lives. My mind immediately ran to a different series of new steps…
For the past four or five years, I have begun the process of breaking out of the shell of personal protected-ness that had me imprisoned in a well-guarded fortress. I did not realize that my fortress had two effects:
- It protected me as I had designed it to do
- It held my beautiful soul trapped inside such that only the most discerning ever got a view of my authentic self. Even I seldom felt the joy of freeing my soul to sail in the wind, openly and unabashedly for all to see.
Iraq as a beginning?
I learned many things while I was deployed in Iraq but none greater than learning to see myself again after decades of having allowed myself to be invisible under the roles I played: mother, wife, Captain, boss, sister, daughter, friend, subordinate, neighbor. I filled roles and did what I was supposed to do, what was expected of me in relation to each of those roles. In Iraq, I was denied the ability to fulfill many roles as fully as when I had been at home (mother, wife, daughter, sister). This left me with time to figure out what I genuinely enjoyed when roles didn’t demand my time and attention. I had time to really delight in being Heather sometimes.
My return from Iraq was eye opening in a way that shattered my previous status quo and revealed my self-erasing, self-sabotaging co-dependent way of life. I couldn’t have defined it that way back then – and even two years later in marriage counseling, I argued with my therapist about those monikers; but I did know that I didn’t like this life for myself or for my children and I was aghast that I had somehow allowed it to come to this.
Out of the shell
And so, the shell was cracked and the woman inside caught her first rays of light and fresh air. I was confused and afraid, but I still pushed and poked at the crack in that shell. Gradually my fortress walls began to crumble and I began a journey to authenticity. And I feel as if each step taken to break away more of the outer walls of my fortress is one taken with the trembling heart of trepidation.
“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” Kierkegaard
That quote began Mark Nepo’s passage today and it is precisely how I feel. I feel anxiety and fear; there is a trembling, breath-stealing, heart-stopping, edge-of-a-precipice feeling that accompanies stepping away from that fortress I spent most of my life building and then hiding inside. And yet the anticipation of freedom from it coupled with the tiny glimpses of soul-flying freedom that I’ve already stolen – together feel like raw joy and relief … in a soul-satisfying way.
I look forward to continuing to find my voice, to discovering and then dusting off each of my peacock feathers, to becoming what I set out to be when I wrote “what is an Exalted Peacock“ and when I started this LLC in the first place. The thought of being in an attic and finding gems of hidden beauty (long since “stored for safe keeping”), cleaning those gems, and bringing them back out into the light of day — that thought alone delights me.