If I can change, then anyone can. And change I did. Recently, as I was looking at old photographs of when I was young, I recognized the pictures, but the Self that I was then seems a hundred years away. For, about twenty five years ago I was trapped in a prison in my mind. Limited by believing a distorted reality of myself that I had learned from those closest to me. Naturally, I till struggle with those beliefs because they are so deeply ingrained into my early childhood, emotional memory – and I needed them then – to survive. But it is becoming easier and easier to peel the old fears away. Indeed, I am beginning to recognize my Self in the mirror lately – with acceptance, and, I might add, sometimes even a little fondness.
In fact, lately, finally, I am beginning to recognize the courage I had to undertake the changes I made in the physical as well as my psychological life these past twenty five years. Taking on different cultures, academia, shakily learning to believe in my intellectual abilities, and finding my voice through writing and presenting was not easy. At times I was overwhelmed with fear and pain as I drifted in and out of confidence.
Even more challenging is breaking down the barriers of the prison in my mind. Confronting the way I feel and think about myself is excruciating at times, until I allow the light of awareness to shift those ancient shadows in my soul … to recognize the reality of who I am, and how I came to be the me of now.
About twenty five years ago, I participated in a women's support group. I had been offered the opportunity to come to America to study at the University at Buffalo, and I was thinking about the challenge of picking up my son and traveling across the oceans to a new continent. One day the facilitator gave us oil pastels and large sheets of paper. She invited us to draw anything we liked. I doodled away for awhile not knowing what I was going to draw, and not feeling particularly confident about my artistic abilities. Before I knew it I was lost in the swirling of the crayons and richness of the colors as I drew and drew and drew. At the end, we all displayed our work. When it came to my picture there was a silence from everyone. I stared at it. I had drawn a huge colorful bird flying out of a golden cage with its gate wide open. Our therapist said quietly, "So … you have decided to leave …"
Of course, flying out of prison is not as easy as it sounds. As I stumble out of the darkness of my old paradigms and habits, sometimes I have to blink and blink, and even screw up my eyes, or take a very deep breath. Because the light is so bright and brilliant it can be blinding, and the feeling of freedom is so exhilarating, it can take my breath away.
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Universal Child