Part of any process of transformation is letting go of pieces of who we have been in order to make room to grow into who we are becoming. They challenge so often is that it is necessary to let go of who we were before we have clarity about who it is we are becoming. At least, that is the way it works for me.
It is easy to say that I want to become more authentically me, but it often feels like “me” is more of a committee than a single identity. My strengths and my weaknesses, my light and my shadow, all my dreams and interests and patterns and wounds and talents all mixed up together competing for the ability to direct my life. As I let go of the pieces of me that are no longer serving me, I find myself making choices among all of these competing voices to determine who it is that I will become.
The links that I am sharing this week include a couple that I’ve been saving for a while. They all highlight for me some part of who it is that I want to become. Each one reminded me of pieces of myself that I have neglected or thought I had lost until I felt the resonance with these writers words bring those parts of me back to life. All three are absolutely amazing pieces of writing that are well worth your time to read in their entirety!
The most recent of the three is by Denise Casey and appeared on The Divine Feminine section of the Patheos blog. It’s entitled Stepping Stones on the Journey: The Hunger that Guides Me. It’s a fantastic post that talks about how she is guided by her hunger. Tuning into where this hunger is leading her at any given time has led her to make the choices—some of which were not necessarily ones that common sense would approve of—that have led her along the path she needed to travel.
I know this hunger well. For me, it’s a hunger for meaning, for the divine, for wisdom, for self-knowledge, for more authenticity, more realness, more beauty. But I have been well trained to believe that this hunger is dangerous and not at all lady-like. It’s something to be kept hidden and under control and ignored. Of course, that hasn’t worked so well for me, which is why I am on the path I’m currently on to begin with. That hunger is too insistent to ignore. Her words encourage me to set that hunger free and to follow its leading. It comes from the part of me that knows what I need, and I would be well served by paying more attention to it.
Jenn LeBow of the blog Hang On, Baby, We’re Almost … Somewhere wrote a beautiful piece last month called Mercy Is My New Little Black Dress. As she explored the many traits she admired in those closer to her, the one that stood out for her the most was mercy. She decided that, like a little black dress, this one trait was one that was suitable for all occasions and at all times. I tend to make lists of the traits that I would like to cultivate in my own life, and then I get overwhelmed by how far I am from where I want to be. However, a focus on mercy—truly embodying mercy in every moment and every interaction—would do more to help me be the person that I want to be than any other single trait that I can imagine. I have found that continually coming back to mercy as my measuring stick is proving incredibly fruitful.
Andrea Scher of Superhero Journal wrote a particularly powerful piece called We think we move through the world unseen. In this post, she talks about a time when she was struggling as a mother of young children and encountered strangers who were willing to show her an unexpected amount of mercy and compassion. The story itself is encouraging and touching, but what really caught my eye was when she talked about how we are drawn to one another’s vulnerability, yet we’ve so often been trained that we should not respond to it. It’s not polite. I have always been one that is strongly pulled to the vulnerability of others because as an empath, I feel their pain so strongly. It draws out a flood of compassion in me.
But over the last few years, I have so often had encounters where I did reach out only to be told that my attempts to help were not welcome or were not helpful, so I am finding myself more and more afraid to reach out when I see people hurting out of fear that I will do more harm than good. This is a very painful place for me to be in. This post reminded me of who I am and how I am made. I obviously need to learn better skills in this area so that I can reach out in ways that are healing and supportive to those who are feeling so vulnerable, but denying this part of me altogether is not authentic to me, and it leaves too many wounded people alone in their vulnerable moments when the presence of someone who has compassion for them might be just what they need. It’s time to reclaim this part of me and do what I need to do to make it more effective.
When I follow my hunger, it keeps leading me back to expressing mercy and to seeing and reaching out to those who are hurting in their vulnerable moments. I am going to trust that my hunger is telling me which members of my internal “me” committee are worth following in order to become the person I want to be. I am grateful to these three bloggers for the nudges they provided in this direction.
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.