When I got up I felt the stress of failing to prepare for today getting louder. I had a major grump on some rice crispies and then my friend kindly entertained bambino whilst I showered and got myself ready. Breathwork never fails to connect me back to a better mind state. Actually that’s bollocks. It often fails, but nevermind. Let’s pretend for now, because that is another blog. I used the water of the shower to imagine a better mood pouring into my crown and filling me with insight and awareness about what the fuck I was going to say today. I sang too. Not words but just sounds. Trying to find and clear my voice so I could hear my heart not my chattery brain. Eventually it all clicked and I wasn’t nervous again until I felt jelly legged when queuing outside the room before starting.
I played This Is Me from the Greatest Showman and asked people to close their eyes and connect with the song, paying attention to how it made them feel. People said empowered, strong, fierce like a warrior and emotional. This is the gist of the talk. Kinda. I can’t remember a lot of what came out!
When we are born, we are pure, emotionally unhindered and we fully embody unconditional love. We grow up to play, create, laugh, dance and forcefully lunge ourselves from our bellies to our feet with determination. We are always moving forward, but only as a byproduct of wanting to enjoy more, reach more and to evolve more. We are never trying to be better, we are just trying to participate in life more fully. Our eyes are bright, our hearts are open and our bellies shake with laughter, because we are completely free and authentic.
Ego forms when we become shocked, scared, hurt, or any other thing that makes us feel unsafe and vulnerable. It happens whether the experience is small and simple or huge and deeply traumatic. Ego becomes a small warrior that stands in front of us to protect us. As we grow older and go through life, ego collects feelings and experiences, cataloguing them and learning behaviours to action should we ever experience vulnerability again. Ego can respond healthily or unhealthily, but its primary function is to protect us. It is our sense of self, it does everything in its power to protect us and is a beautiful servant when mastered, but can be a destructive leader when left to run riot. Behind this ego, we remain pure and child like. Our sense of wonder, our unconditionally loving source, our freedom and creativity… our truth… it is always there underneath. We don’t actually need protection for this element of our self. It is infinite and limitless.
Life gives us painful experiences of disconnection and separation nonetheless. We start to fall apart. We crack and we feel broken. Sometimes we attribute this to allowing love in, or hope, happiness and excitement. We attribute the painfulness to allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, for letting the wall down, for letting ego rest. The pain actually comes from the sudden slamming shut we experience when ego gets scared.
We also unconsciously recognise the feeling of home in the freedom we experienced whilst our walls were down. Every time we crack, we feel more of our infinite worth subconsciously. In this way, over years, every painful experience brings us closer to our truth and we fight harder to protect ourselves. Ego later obliges us by changing tact and working with us to start defending our worth, allowing us to speak our truth, fight for our value, work hard to defend our rights, our well being and our place in the world. We acknowledge we are valid and strong and powerful and worthy. Our warrior self is the strongest its ever been, because it recognises the hard work we have endured, the struggle and the suffering we have overcome to finally…. finally…. believe that we matter.
That is what that song above represents to so many. Look out, here we come. We are worthy, we are glorious. We are bruised and broken, like we are meant to be. It is fierce and powerful and liberating. I love the song. I love it so very much, and I chose to play it at the beginning for two reasons. Firstly, i’d have to talk for five less minutes! Secondly, because I knew it would help me connect to my centre and speak more freely. The song is fighting talk. And that’s what warriors do. They fight.
But aren’t we all done fighting? Haven’t we had enough?
We are in an age where personal responsibility is needed if change is to come. We have to start owning our worth, but we also have to start owning our shit, too. When we bound through life saying THIS IS ME, I am worthy, I have suffered, and I am not taking any more shit… when we identify as warriors… we are only going to create more suffering. Our ego stands in front of us, tooled up to the max. Swords, nun chucks, daggers, axes, maybe some bombs and fire and fuck knows what else. And don’t anyone DARE try and tell us we are not worthy, or treat us in any way less than we desire to be treated.
Thats ok…its a really important and necessary stage, but we’re only meant to stay there for a while. For however long it takes to realise that it’s not self-worth. Its fear. It is so far from self worth that it causes more and more suffering. Like anger and resentment at people who don’t behave perfectly around us. I referred to Brené Brown in my talk and her TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. She talks about how we cannot protect ourselves from one feeling without cutting off others. We cannot selectively numb emotion, she says. If we want to keep out sad and angry, we are going to numb happy and joyful too. What if our fighting to maintain our worth keeps it away? This is the path of the unhealed warrior. It is ego fighting to survive and it keeps us from our truth. It keeps us suffering, it keeps us in our painful pasts. It forces us to seek out external validation to confirm what we believe about ourselves. We are unable to maintain calm, peace, happiness and consistent well being unless people behave exactly as we want them to. Of course there are behaviours and actions we should never, ever accept and that rightly we should fight against, but self worth, enoughness and well-being are more about an internal equilibrium that we must try to maintain regardless of external forces.
And it’s bloody hard!!!
I asked the group near the beginning what ego was. Some people thought it was negative, others more motivating, but one lady said it causes separation. I told her she’d finished my talk for me, because that’s where I was heading. The more we fight for our worth and well being, the less important we make that of others. It separates us further, and the more we are disconnected, the more all of us suffer. The more we prioritise overcoming our suffering, the greater the suffering of those around us increases.
So, Ego is our catalogue of suffering and it protects us from our truth because its scared. It is absolutely terrified of pain and vulnerability and it protects us by keeping us closed off from the beauty it wants to protect. It is full of shame and sadness and unworthiness, even when it is defending our enoughness, because it was born when we first ever realised we were separate from all other things, and we never wanted to feel that disconnected again. It is almost comical that ego is the disconnector. But what a loyal warrior! Imagine if we could empower it to act in our best interests instead of for preserving and maintaining our smallest sense of self. Imagine if we could programme it to motivate and inspire us, instead of to shrink or react explosively to criticism. To retrain ego, we first have to heal our warriors.
When considering the above, it also isn’t our responsibility to heal and fix all other beings. What we are personally accountable for is our healing and the damage we do to others with our suffering. We are not living our truth if we beat others up with our worthiness. It is our responsibility to remove barriers to recognising our inseparableness. If there are injustices we must fight, they should be fought for change and not for recovery. When we are healed warriors, we move mountains instead of carry them and try and throw them onto the shoulders of others. The more healed we are the more capable we feel of effecting change around us in the wider world. That quote from my home page comes to mind!
It is painful to imagine ego as a terrified child, desperate for the connection it cuts us off from. And whenever we argue with someone, or see someone behaving badly, angrily, someone shitting on our worth… imagine if we could see them as a terrified three year old absolutely shaking and quivering and crying, pleading for our love. Imagine zooming out and viewing all beings on this planet just crying out, whatever way they are behaving, begging for love and acceptance. For connection, for help, for peace and for inclusion. So few of us could look at a deeply unhappy child and refuse to love it. Our job is not to save the child or protect it from pain and struggle, but it is to hold space for them to retain their sense of freedom to become themselves. Change is really hard when you don’t feel nurtured!
I told the room that our work here on earth is not done until everyone’s suffering has ceased. In a bigger picture kind of way. I told them that when we are carrying our suffering around, as a badge of survival or unconsciously because we are yet to heal, that we will never live our happiest truth. If we can let go of our suffering, we can’t skip blissfully into the sunset and think we are done, because what of our loved ones? What of the other people? How can we be happy when there is suffering all around, when we’re disconnected from eachother?
I hope I don’t need to point out that an important part of healing is knowing that out suffering is valid, that it matters, that we matter. I’ll write much more about the actual processes of healing I’ve encountered to get to this mindset and how I’d have stabbed my future self in the throat if she had said all this shit to my past self. (Sometimes present me kicks present self’s ass too). Depending on how much we are hurting and how deep our wounds are, this work feels like toxic poison. It sucks. It really fucking sucks and I totally get it. So if you want to punch me, I’m right there with you!
Ego creates a battle of Us and Them. This mentality of victim and perpetrator, it is prevalent in all issues everywhere, whether internally or externally, locally or internationally. If we can perceive two or more sides of war and disconnection outside, it exists inside of us too. In reality there are no winners and losers. When there is any fighting anywhere, everyone is suffering somehow. Hurt people hurt people, as they say.
Our sole job here on this earth, I believe, is to heal that war inside of ourselves, to allow the space where we are truest, purest and inseparably connected to each other and all things, to shine through.
Our deepest suffering is our disconnection. It is in seeing others as more or less than us. It is in seeing our suffering as separate to the suffering of others, or more or less worthy. It is in not recognising that we come from and return to the same vastness, or emptiness, or timelessness. Our suffering is duality and our healing is in oneness. Being at one with our self means to integrate our egos into our truth, and that is one hell of a fucking task, I tell you!! Ego doesn’t integrate without a fight, because fighting is all it knows. But we can retrain it to lay down its weapons for all of us to know less suffering.
If self worth is not fighting for our worth to be recognised, then what is it? It is a strong connection to that self that stands behind the ego. The playful, free spirited, kind, warm, creative, excited, joyful, liberated and loving being that we were all born as. That is our aim… for all beings. When we can listen to that song above and have the same sense of passion and empowerment for the worth and value of ALL beings, including non human and including the earth and all our natural resources, then we are getting somewhere.
There’s so much more to say about all of this some other time, including how wrong it can feel sometimes! What I’m not sure I got across was that this work is hard and that there is no ‘wrong’ way to heal… There is only oneness and however long it takes. We are our only judge.
We’ve been living for eons trying to get there and we will live for many more. It takes a lot of soul searching and healing and labour and time and patience and tantrums to start seeing how laden we are by carrying our suffering around to protect us. When we’re done… when we let it go.. when we are unaffected…
…take a deep breath and imagine there is absolutely NOTHING in the way of infinite love, happiness and well-being… For all…
Breathe that in…
What could we build? It would be amazing.
We are all worthy. We all matter. Equally. When we are ‘bad’, when others are ‘bad’, its our acting from our deepest pain with our most engrained patterns and what is really needed is love. And if we can’t love, we step away so we don’t cause more hurt and then we heal and start again. There are many, many, MANY stages to this work and we all come at it on different levels. There is no hierarchy of worthiness or ability or success… anyone who thinks so is in an ego trap! We are all just living how we live and if it resonates, stick with it, and if it doesn’t, you will find your way to healing and happiness, because all routes lead back to our source.
As a final add on- on the way home from the talk I saw a huge flock of Geese fly over head. I decided to look it up and it seemed very apt.
Ramble over for today!