One of my talents and ways of making a living is being an editor and it’s work I love to do—I love words and working with languages. But there is another kind of editing I do that I don’t like—editing myself, holding myself back, not being fully myself.
Recently, I was in New Mexico and I spent time with many of my favorite people. I was fortunate to spend many hours with Jake and Hannah along with others and I thoroughly enjoyed being “home” for two weeks. There is something in New Mexico that is deeply healing and wonderful for me and I relished being there with the people I love most.
I’m not present when I’m editing myself
And yet, I blew many of my chances to be completely present. As my departure date drew closer, I found myself sad and weepy—over the top sad and weepy, not just mildly unhappy that I was leaving so many loved ones. I was really upsetting myself and feeling deeply disappointed. When I dug into myself and my feelings of disappointment I awared myself that I was sad because I had wasted precious time, with Jake in particular.
I love Jake Eagle and appreciate him deeply. The work I have done with him is nothing short of phenomenal. I came to him less than five years ago and in the time we have worked together I have radically and remarkably changed my life. I am extremely grateful for his wisdom, support, and clarity in helping me explore, accept, understand, and ultimately love myself. Something no other therapist, teacher, or guru was ever able to do over the course of forty years of real effort, Jake helped me accomplish in under five years. And we didn’t meet once a week, we met once every three to four weeks for an hour, over Skype. I still amaze myself when I think of how easy he is to work with and how much we have accomplished.
And yet, I am afraid of losing him. I am afraid that I will disappoint him or cause him to withdraw his love for me. I am afraid that I will say something or not do something and he will judge me, shake his head and walk away. I crazy myself with this thinking and yet, pretty much on a daily basis when my thoughts turn to Jake I worry, fret and anxious myself that he is preparing to walk away from me because I am not good enough.
Part of the solution is humor
As I write this I am shaking my head and laughing at myself. Humor is probably one of the greatest gifts Jake has given me. Long ago he taught me that not taking myself so bloody seriously and treating myself with compassion and humor was a wonderful solution for much of my heaviness, anxiety, and habitual sink-holes.
So here is my commitment to myself—I am going to out myself with humor when I am editing myself. If I am on Skype with Jake in a session and I feel my heart start to race and I begin to edit myself I am going to tell him what I am doing. If I am at home having fantasies of his judging me I am going to send him an email telling him I am making him a bad guy again. When I am with others and feel the need to diffuse or hide myself I am going to breathe deeply, take myself to heart consciousness and ask myself, “Do I really need to hide myself right now? Am I truly in danger or am I just freaking myself out by anchoring myself in Safety Consciousness and familiar patterns of editing myself?”
Here are some of the ways I edit myself: I entertain—I tell long complicated stories about stuff I don’t really care about in order to distract, dissipate or hide myself. I lie. I lie by omitting, exaggerating, and minimizing myself. I divert—I change the subject, I don’t listen well, I try to impress, dazzle, or surprise to avoid being seen. I invisible and hide myself in all these ways because I am accustomed to living in Safety Consciousness and focusing on creating safety.
Does pushing people away make me safe?
What is ironic to me is that by doing all of the above I further cement my belief that I am not safe. When I feel anxious, I entertain, lie or change the subject, and by doing so I miss an opportunity to connect. When I hide from Jake I end up pushing him away. He doesn’t walk away, I hide myself in a cloud of stories and verbal smoke and mirrors and he just ends up tired of trying to find me in the maze I create. But he never leaves me—I am the one who disappears and becomes less visible.
So, not only have I made a commitment to out myself when I begin to edit, dazzle, entertain or evade, I have asked Jake to be more assertive with me when he feels me doing this—and for those of you who know him I’m sure you’re aware that he has the ability to read people even over Skype. There have been many sessions with him where he has asked me the simplest question, an innocent question, and in those moments I wake myself up and usually own that I am making myself anxious or not talking about what really is going on for me.
A week has passed since I returned from attending the winter lab with Jake and Hannah and nineteen other people. While at the lab and since returning home I have shifted myself significantly. I believe that my ability to shift myself and my responses to Jake—my habitual editing and need to impress—changed easily because I started outing myself.
Owning myself not editing myself
This has repeatedly been my experience of this work—when I discover something—a part of me or a historical way of behaving that I don’t like, I own myself. I greet the part of me with open arms and I acknowledge my poor behavior without judgment. When I accept myself and ask others to witness me, all the secrecy and need to hide myself dissolves and I am left with new choices. How do I want to integrate this part of me? How can I behave differently? What does this part of me that I don’t like, need in order to evolve and stop acting poorly? The answer is always acceptance, understanding, witnessing and integration. All of my poor behavior comes from immature parts of me that I have suppressed and denied. All of them can be accepted, witnessed and integrated and in that process, the need to behave poorly dissolves.
At the most recent lab, in Playa Viva, Mexico, I named myself Treasure Chest. I understand now, that all the parts of me that I discover are treasures—gems I have buried for safekeeping. True, some of them are diamonds in the rough, but they are all valuable to me, when I take the time to work with them and polish their rough edges. With the help of my lab mates—many of whom are Pirates seeking their own treasures—I was able to acknowledge, reveal, embrace and integrate the little girl in me who believed she was unlovable. And in that moment I shifted myself.
I didn’t feel the need to impress, cajole, hide or entertain. I experienced myself as present, easy and able to contribute and witness with love and equanimity. Now, I am not naïve, and I accept that I will likely return to feeling insecure and shaky. However, I will not repress that part of me again. I will never go back to believing I am fundamentally unlovable—I may indulge myself temporarily and feel sorry for myself momentarily, but I will always have the awareness that my feeling unlovable is a story. It is a story I told myself when I was a small child and I believed it for a long time. And now, because of the tools I have from practicing Live Conscious, I have the ability to tell myself a new story. Today my story is that I am loved deeply and deeply love. What stories do you tell that hold you back? Come seek treasures with me.