That’s me at age four, totally unconcerned about being “too awesome.”
Whew, the last few days have been intense. I’ve been getting really triggered in my interactions with someone whom I’ll call…Petunia, and that has brought up some very interesting lessons on childhood, insecurities, shining bright in the face of criticism, and synchronicity. Let’s just dive in and get witchy with it, shall we?
I want to take you along the path of synchronicities and interactions leading up to my breakthrough, road-map style:
1. Two weeks ago, I began seeing wasps everywhere: inside our apartment; in my car; inside stores; while stopped at a red light, one was crawling on the back of the car in front of me; and so forth. Every day I had multiple encounters with wasps, and I made a note of it in my journal, unsure what the message was. Perhaps something about confronting fears?
2. I had a triggering interaction with Petunia. She commented in a snarky tone, “Is there anything you’re not good at?” when she looked over to see me happily making progress on a project. I felt uncomfortable enough that I decided to voice my discomfort, and the interaction seemed to go well; she seemed receptive to my feedback that those comments were hurtful.
3. And then, I began to experience more interactions with Petunia with a common theme of snarkiness and disparaging “jokes” related to my enthusiasm, my intelligence, the number of ideas I had, my high energy, and so forth. Whether she was communicating this message or not, my interpretation was, “I feel insecure being around you when you’re displaying enthusiasm, intelligence, and energy, and I want you to tone it down so I don’t have to feel bad anymore.”
4. I spent a lot of time journaling and meditating with my Guides, asking for the lesson and a new way to approach this. My Guides offered so much wisdom, and one piece in particular that helped me change my approach is the following analogy. They said to think of Petunia’s words and actions as a library call number. When I experience that call number, it calls up a “book” in the library of my psyche.
The gift is that this gives me an opportunity to see what the book contains and whether or not it’s a book I want to keep in my library. Petunia might call up a book from when I was five, a book that I’d completely forgotten about on a conscious level but was having a direct influence on my thoughts and behavior nonetheless. The gift of her call number allowed me to see this book and make conscious choices.
Further journaling helped me see and feel the connection to these interactions and my childhood and times when I was told to change or hide who I was if I was making the adults around me uncomfortable. This was reinforced in school by teachers and peers, the latter of whom would make fun of anyone they perceived as “being a kiss ass” by paying attention in class, doing and–heaven forbid–actually enjoying the assignments, and so forth. I remember the excitement I felt when I graduated from high school that I wouldn’t have to be in an environment anymore where shining brightly was seen as a bad thing.
5. Throughout this entire two-week period, while working, I watched a pair of flickers (birds) mate and nest in a hole in the dead tree outside my home office window. I loved seeing them interact and sing and cluck to each other as they popped in and out of the nesting hole.
6. Fast forward to a couple of night ago when I had a series of interactions with Petunia that left me feeling angry as hell. (For example, while I was talking about an idea I had to someone else, from across the room she snarkily butted in and asked, “Do you really think your idea is that good?” Geez, lady–give it a rest!)
7. I had a dream that night that I was driving down the highway listening to a radio bulletin about these people who had murdered a woman, and I looked at the car driving next to me and was horrified to see a dead woman in their open trunk wearing what looked like a bloodied wedding gown and veil. Then, I was in a house and I knew that the murderers were coming to get me, to silence me before I could tell anyone that I’d seen the woman in their trunk. I couldn’t protect myself because the locks on the doors kept malfunctioning.
While there are many layers to this dream, what seems most interesting is that:
a) Someone else committed the murder, not me, yet I was in danger of being punished for their crime (aka, if I choose to take other people’s issues personally, then I allow them to become my issues and drag me down).
b) Someone else was feeling shame and insecurity–in the dream scenario, the people were worried I’d rat them out–and to fix that, they tried to tear me down (connection: sometimes when people feel insecure they lash out and tear other people down to feel better).
c) The woman was wearing a white bridal gown, which carries a lot of significance for me because I’ve been working with the philosophical/alchemical concept of the “divine marriage” quite a bit lately, and this seemed to speak to the loss of innocence, joy and trust as well as the dissolution of the divine marriage (and one interpretation of the divine marriage is a state of inner harmony that produces something much more than the sum of its parts).
8. The next morning, I watched, horrified, as starlings attacked the flickers in their nest and took over the nesting hole. This seemed like a direct reflection of my dream panic when I couldn’t get the doors of the house to lock.
Let’s recap some recurring themes:
- loss of trust and feeling violated
- feeling vulnerable and unprotected
- feeling pressure to shine less brightly so other people’s insecurities don’t get triggered
In meditation with my Guides, they reminded me that by shining brightly, I increase the brightness for everyone. My light doesn’t “steal” from anyone else’s light in order to shine; this isn’t a zero-sum game, as much as the insecure ego might interpret that way.
If Petunia thinks that my light is the reason why she’s choosing to stand in a shadow, that’s not my issue to fix, and I certainly couldn’t “fix” it regardless by turning down my light. That would merely increase the amount of shadows!
Likewise, if other people are feeling shame and insecurity, I don’t need to be complicit in this by agreeing to carry and hide their shame for them in the form of “toning down” who I am. I did that enough as a child, and I don’t need to waste anymore of my precious life doing that now. I can have compassion for them without taking on their issues.
And finally, one more round of synchronicity that unfolded this afternoon:
- I felt my anger over the situation with Petunia mounting while I worked, and I heard a loud racket coming from the tree outside my window. The starlings were kicking each other out of the nest they’d stolen from the flickers!
- An email landed in my inbox, and it was the latest post by Danielle LaPorte called “Comparison is a killer. Cut it out.” (Wow, I’m just now making the additional connection between “killer” in the title and the murderers in my dream.) LaPorte says, “Comparison is crazy-making. It stamps on potential and truth and all the good things you might already have going for you if you weren’t so busy shadow-boxing with the people who you think have it better.” This is helping me feel more compassion toward Petunia.
- I then had the urge to let out some emotions by crying to this song, and one of the joys of being my own boss is that I can take a break and do just that. So I did. As I sat on my floor bawling, one of my Guides appeared and I was suddenly filled with the urge to console my inner child who was hurt and confused, wondering why she was being asked to be less awesome. As I cried, I held myself and said to her, “Oh, honey, don’t you ever worry about being too much. You’re so smart, creative, curious, and energetic, and that’s what makes you so brilliant and beautiful. I’m an adult, and I’m more than capable of taking care of you, so you just focus on shining your little heart out and being the bright, shiny diamond that you are, and know that I’m strong enough to protect you.” With that simple statement, I felt so much of the angst over the flicker’s nest and the malfunctioning locks in my dream dissolve.
- At that moment, I looked up and saw this ad on my computer screen:
- And then I remembered something an instructor had said the night before: “Sometimes we just need to remember how to be a kid while at the same time doing the whole ‘adulting’ thing.” My inner child is so full of energy and light and joy, and as an adult, I am now strong enough to protect her from haters. She doesn’t need to be afraid of them anymore…and neither do I.
- As this insight came through, I remembered an oracle reading a friend did for me in which the wasp card popped up. Her interpretation was: “This month doors should start opening for you. You are free to fully be yourself; there is nothing holding you back. Just take the risk and reach for what you dream of, but beware of others who may be jealous; they have a poisonous sting. Don’t let others stop you from reaching for the stars.” Now that I’ve reconnected with my strength, I’m no longer seeing wasps. Coincidence? 🙂