Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Landmark Experience

March 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Patricia's Journey

Free to be me and scared as hell.

Who am I….really?  Am I willing to be known? Am I willing to be seen?  Am I willing to risk finding out that I may not be loved?  Am I willing to risk discovering how deeply I am loved?

In February, I participated in the Landmark Education Forum course in San Francisco.  The “fall out”, or more appropriately “fall away”, from the  Landmark Forum is a recognition of the inauthenticity in one’s life.  The inauthenticity of Patricia.  The persona I created and presented to the world to cover up the real me I was afraid would not be loved.  For most of us, at our core is the fear if you really get to know me you won’t love me.  Hence, the personas, the masks most people wear.

Landmark teaches there are three defining moments in a person’s life.  The first takes place around 3-6 yrs old.  It is a specific event from which you make a decision about yourself.  The decision from this period is “I’m not _______ enough.”  Fill in the blank.  I tried “I’m not good enough”, then “I’m not lovable enough.”  When I was around 5 years old, I was molested.  Intellectually it made sense to me I might have made a decision I wasn’t good or lovable enough, but I could feel that it was coming from my head.  There wasn’t a sense of “rightness” in my heart or my body with the words good or lovable.  When the seminar leader suggested the word “perfect”, my insides felt like a pinball machine with lights going off and pinging noises.  That word fit.  I could feel my whole body responding. “I’m not perfect enough.

Of course!  In that moment, it was as if my life flashed before my eyes.  If I had been perfect enough, that awful thing wouldn’t have happened to me.  I saw that being perfect was the driving force throughout out my life.  That was how I would compensate.    I would be perfect.

Ask me how I am?  “I’m wonderful” even when I’m scared about supporting my family, “I’m doing great” even in the face of separation and divorce. Inauthentic.  “I’m good” even faced with the fear of cancer.  This led to a way of being that was distant and reserved.  While I perceived myself as open, I was a very controlled open.  The thermostat was set on an automatic “wonderful” that delivered a consistent, comfortable atmosphere. Being real can be very messy and inconsistent and quite uncomfortable.  I would only let you see messy me in a perfect way.

Comments from men in my life telling me that I was mysterious were heard for the first time.  You knew me to be mysterious because I wouldn’t give you all the clues to solve me or know me.  If I let you know me, you might leave because of my perceived imperfection.  You could never really know me, however, because I didn’t know who I was.  The impact on me has been a loss of love and connection in my life, a loss of self-expression, vitality, satisfaction, self-fulfillment and well-being.

As I sat in the course, emotion began to well up and come out in soft, quiet sobs.  I didn’t know what the sobs were about, so I simply let them flow.  I asked Spirit “What is this about? Where is this coming from?”  Spirit answered very clearly “you’re afraid you are going to die.”  At first, it didn’t register. Then, like the tumbler on a safe, the numbers fell into place and the door opened.

The decision I made from the event at five years old took a quantum leap to the present as I sat in the chair.  From the moment I landed in Hawaii, I have been terrified I was going to get sick again, and this time I would die. WhyBecause I can’t get the healing perfect.

I sat there and let the tears flow and was bathed in the relief of being truthful. “ I am scared I’m going to die.  I’m terrified of leaving my son.  I don’t want to leave this life feeling the way I do.  It is not a good day to die.” The paradox of “yes, I have been given a new life” and “I’m afraid I’m going to lose it because I’m not perfect in my healing.”  I had been pretending all of this time that life was good and I was wonderful. “Look at me, I’ve been given a new life.  Isn’t it great, isn’t it grand?  I’m living in Hawaii!” While all that was true, I couldn’t feel joy because my energy was bound up in not feeling afraid.  I can’t be afraid and be spiritual.  I can’t talk about being healed and be afraid it won’t last.  I had buried the fear so deep I didn’t know it was there until that precise moment in the Landmark Forum.

I forgive myself for having believed for so long that…

I was never good enough to have, get, be what I wanted.

~Ceanne DeRohan

Pretending.  Everywhere I look now I see somewhere I am pretending.  I pretend in small ways and big ways.  No, it doesn’t bother me that my son and I live in a 500 sf studio condo and we don’t have privacy.  I’m living in Hawaii, for goodness sake!  Isn’t that being ungrateful to complain about lack of privacy?  No, it’s being real and truthful and authentic to say “I’m grateful and blessed to be living in a condo near the beach in Hawaii and my son and I don’t have privacy”.  I pretend it doesn’t bother me when I have to constantly remind my son to do a chore, so then I withhold my feelings, withdraw, tension builds and at some point I project anger onto him. I’ve been diligent in sourcing the anger and futile in identifying it.  The anger is the anger in me of not being perfect, not being the perfect parent.  Alexander is simply the trigger.

In the exact moment I notice that I am bothered, stop and feel the feeling.  Right now, right here.  Most emotions will pass in a matter of seconds.  Feel it, breathe into it and it will pass.   Stuff it and it will gain momentum and come out later in a big way.  An ugly way.  A not so pretty way.   It can warp your personality over time.  For me, I wouldn’t ever let the feelings come out later.  They stayed in me so long that in my opinion the environment was created for cancer to create a home.

As the feelings come out now, it still isn’t very pretty at times. I wait too long and I yell at my son.  Then I apologize and recommit to being present with my feelings.  I recommit to noticing it in the moment it appears.

Heal the past

“What you bring forth out of yourself from the inside will save you. What you do not bring forth out of yourself from the inside will destroy you.”

– Gospel of Thomas

It was laughable when the “perfect” piece presented itself.  In Landmark you being to notice we are all showing up as the decisions we have made about ourselves and about life. I was perfect at the microphone.  I knew what I was going to say.  I wrote the perfect letter to my mother and shared it with everyone.  My God, I was perfect in my timing, my manners, the way I carried myself, the way I drank water from my bottle.  We are so transparent.  So easy to see what we don’t want others to see about us.  See how perfect I am that you don’t notice I feel imperfect?  See how lovable I am so you don’t notice how unlovable I feel?  See how capable I am so you don’t see how inadequate I feel?

Bless our hearts.  Bless our hearts for the pain and the ache and the loneliness.  Bless it and release it to the Creator so that we can be who we really are, which is lovable, good and more than enough.

On this day of your life, I believe God wants you to know…

….that you are deeply loved by God.

Do you know that? I mean, do you really know that?

Because if you do, you will move through life without

fear. You will know that only Perfection can occur.

Yes, yes, I know, sometimes the things that occur don’t

look perfect…but that is only a matter of perspective.

Because you can’t see Perfection does not mean it is not

there. Give it Time. It will show itself for sure. Then you

will again smile at God’s love…and how it plays out.

For now, trust that it will. Always. And in all ways. I

would not tell you this were it not true.

Neale Donald Walsh

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