‘encloses an area, protects, divides, confines’
I’ve built many walls. I’m busy building one right now, could you step aside? I can’t let you inside it.
Sometimes when I feel scared, vulnerable, open, raw, I build walls. You can’t tell they’re walls. Sometimes I can’t either. Sometimes it’s me being cold, defensive, sarcastic, sensitive. And at other times it’s me being ‘Zen’, one with the world and its workings, confident, secure.
I sometimes tell myself that those who love me will know how to break my walls down. That’s the romantic notion isn’t it? Oh, my family, my friends, my partner, they know me so well, they will see the ‘real’ me and love me anyway.
But this is our usual habit of relying on others to do the work, to provide love and validation.
It’s time to pick up the hammer, break down the walls myself. But do I have the courage? To see what’s back there? The insecurities? The imperfections? What if I’m human?
And then what? I see all my stuff, the junk, the garbage, then what? Who is going to sort through all this? Oh, still me? Ok, right.
There are so many layers. I see disappointment in others. I see that I’m better than others. I see that I’m not good enough. I see judgement, of others and of myself. I see a lot of fear.
What do I do with all this stuff?
Start with a smile.
Have you ever finished prepping a big meal only to drop the entire pot onto the floor? Just finished a big project only to have your computer crash and realize you never hit save? Most of these times we panic, we cry, we freak. But every now and then, we just stare at the floor, at the screen, and smile…maybe even laugh. We realize how life is completely out of our control, despite our desperate attempt to put each puzzle piece neatly into place. In those tiny moments, others may thing we’re hysterical, senile, ready to lose it. But this is the moment we connect with being human. This is the moment where we stop taking ourselves so seriously.
Smile at all these layers.
We think the layers of the wall will insulate us, protect us. We feel safer with these blocks of cement around us. And too often we don’t dig deep enough. We get a few layers in, and hang out there.
We speak out and blame others for our disappointment, for not meeting our expectations. We shy away from new experiences that could propel growth, bring joy and happiness, because they’re not a sure thing – we are afraid to get hurt, afraid to feel, afraid of rejection, afraid of pain. We are constantly using these layers to evaluate risk and determine if the possible return is worth it.
Who built these layers? It was not our best self. The builder was not the one that truly cares about our growth and our happiness, it was not the one that brings a field of possibilities, creativity and personal power. The layers are built by the ego, created through labels, masks, and judgments. We have to get underneath these layers to see our true self.
Our true self is love, a personal power so strong that fear is not a part of its language – our true self sees every experience as an opportunity for growth. An opportunity created specifically, uniquely, handcrafted, just for you. This can be hard to believe because some experiences feel so ugly, so painful, so much suffering. But there is a lesson here.
To get to the lesson, to get to the growth, we have to work through the strongest layer, it lies between living our truth and getting caught up in the thoughts and emotions of the ego; that layer is fear.
Fear of failure, rejection, being alone, disapproval, death.
Face the fear.
Our thought patterns are addictive. The ego will strongly resist our attempt to come out of our usual habits and stories. There will be withdrawal. It’s fear of what we’ll find. Fear of the comforts we’ll have to give up. Fear of the work involved, the discipline it takes to think differently, to be intentional with our actions.
So why do it?
Because doing what scares you is how we get to our true self. Facing our fear is where growth lies, it’s where opportunity is, it’s where you discover who you are, it’s where you discover you can fall, really fall, and get back up again. It’s where you surprise yourself in all that you can do, achieve, and overcome. It’s where you let go of things you thought you needed, you thought you couldn’t live without, and you realize that in releasing the dependence, you feel stronger, better, free.
When you start to face your fears, it won’t be easy. It won’t be free flowing. You won’t have a serene smile like all those people you see in the photos meditating.
It’s hard but it’s worth it. You’ve got the fight in you, I know it.
Don’t get stuck in all the chatter.
There is a real light bulb moment once you start to see the layers, start to discover your deep rooted fears, where they come from, who they come from. This where we start to share all these discoveries with friends, family, sometimes anyone who will listen! And this is where it’s easiest to get stuck.
Empathy is a beautiful thing. Feeling like you’re finally being heard, understood, seen, it’s a great feeling and it’s a relief. After feeling stifled behind all these walls, feeling heavy and exhausted from carrying so many layers for so many years – you finally feel free. Sharing this with other people who can relate, who have shared similar struggles, is an important step in our journey. But it is just that, a step, that needs to be followed by another.
It’s easy to get stuck talking about your wounds, stuck in constant processing. This is meant to be a place of transition, keep moving.
What will you DO?
Knowing what to do, learning about it, talking about it, it’s not enough. You have to do it. No one can tell you what your truth is, you have to begin your journey to find it. You have to put in the work, the discipline, to master your mind. To create stillness so that you can see and hear without all the noise. It’s a daily discipline, a challenging one that requires you to re-commit every minute (sometimes every second.).
Start by learning to sit still. When you’re with others, when you’re on your own. Notice what’s moving – Is your foot tapping? Your hands fidgeting? Your eyes wandering? Your thoughts racing? Are you analyzing, judging, waiting to talk, waiting to move? Come back to where you are, the person you’re with, your breath. Start here.
It’s an iterative process, the walls, layers, fears, they’re not going anywhere – but what you do with them will change profoundly.
Practice, commit, I’m right here with you, in fact I’m working on breaking through a layer right now.