When I was a child I was ferocious. I was wildly loving with a temper to match and a huge propensity for tears (not unlike my five year old daughter). I was brave and tender (like my seven year old son), and I always, always leapt before I looked. Because I trusted. I was lucky enough to have parents who held me and an internal compass that guided me into believing that whatever was there to catch me would do it willingly. And that even if the landing hurt a little (and it did) I’d be okay.
My feelings were always the thing. I wrestled with them, grasped at them, stuffed them away, hated myself for having so many of them. I was told that I was too sensitive…I was too much. I was un-contained. Intense and wild, tearful, stubborn, connective. And, my God, the love. So much overflowing, expressive love. There is no room for that here, I was told over and over again. Not in the confines of this world. And yet all of this bigness in me found a way to persist. To be.
My way of being? It’s sensitive. And receptive. And ferociously loving with a temper to match. What I know now is that though I experience an expansive range of feelings moment-to-moment, some mine, and some not mine, I am none of them. The feelings are part of the rich human experience I’m having. But I am not my feelings. And I am certainly not my often-ridiculous thoughts.
Over time, I became conditioned to believe that it wasn’t okay to move through the world as a tidal wave of sensitivity and intensity. So along the way I forgot that I operate as this tender and untamed thing with an appetite for believing, a deep need to create, a huge propensity for tears and loud laughter, and a heart that could explode at any moment simply because it’s alive.
But there are flecks of gold in the forgetting. Because there is something to be had in the remembering. Yes, there is something sweet in the stripping away of selves I’ve embodied over the years to uncover the essence of who I am and how I move. Me? I move like water. I honor the raging water way I flow and rage and calm here in this world where I once mistakenly wondered if there was room for all that. And I am so deeply grateful for those who move like fire and wind, and those who move like the faultiness of the earth. I’m remembering that it’s okay to leap and trust what’s on the other side, despite the fact that the landing might (no, will) hurt a little (and sometimes a lot).
And the essence of who I am? Well, that’s easy. Love.
So who were you told not to be? What pieces of yourself have you buried? And are you doing the work to uncover the beautiful essence of who you are (hint:love) and how you move in the world?