Excavating Your Authentic Self, Creating Your Dreams.
What do you want to create? What has God planted in your heart? A job that feeds your spirit and calms your body? Time to relax and heal? Relationships in which you feel cherished? Health? Life-work balance? A home that you call your sanctuary?
If you want your external reality to change, you have to change your internal reality.
Here’s one of my life stories which illustrates the first 3 steps in creating your dreams.
Step #1: Heal Your Emotional Wounds so You Can Excavate Your Authentic Self.
It was the late 1990’s and I had just ended a relationship with Karl. I was exhausted from all the conflicts. My two Siamese cats were dying. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but they were my steadfast cherished friends for 14 and 16 years. They welcomed me home every day and slept with me every night. They were there for me when no one else was. Peri-menopausal mood swings, tears, hot flashes and insomnia were my daily companions.
I didn’t know it at the time, but these crises were just what I needed to help birth my Authentic Self. I had already done 20 years of deep personal growth work, but I still had not touched the core of my emotional pain that desperately called for healing.
The Dark Night of the Soul last three years. I couldn’t get out of it no matter how hard I tried. St. John of the Cross coined this term, “Dark Night of the Soul,” to describe a time of feeling lost and full of despair. It’s a time when our old coping strategies don’t work any more. It feels like hell because our known identity is disintegrating. It’s scary because we can’t hang onto our known reality.
But the good news is that our spirit is leading, even though our personality self doesn’t know it. Eventually, after much anguish, we’ll connect intimately with our spirit and with God. Psychologists call this depression. But for me, it was an intentional time of deep searching to find my Authentic Self.
I examined my insecurities instead of covering them up with striving for success or seeking romance. I took a sabbatical from dating because I realized that romantic relationships were the main way I had been avoiding the deep level of emotional insecurity way down deep inside myself. If I was in a romantic relationship, I could cover up the deep-seated emotional insecurity with hope. Hope that the relationship would fulfill all my dreams. Hope and romance had become my drug of choice.
My muscles ached every day and I was exhausted. I’d awaken many nights with my body stiff from fear. I just couldn’t relax even though I meditated 2 hours a day. My inner voice told me to walk every morning no matter what, so I’d take myself to Lake Lanier and walk in the park. The connection with Nature soothed me at least for a little while.
My greatest desire was to stay conscious through my pain and to face my emotional insecurity so that I could develop self-love. Intimacy will all of myself, especially with the part of me who felt so insecure. I intended to heal the old wounds and patterns so my Authentic Self could emerge.
Every couple weeks, I’d get a massage. Miera created a safe place for me to unwind and process the memories that bubbled to the surface. I remembered how I wanted to be loved by my father as a little girl. I felt that pain and processed it.
I processed the ache of friendships and romantic relationships gone sour. I dealt with my need for perfection that covered up lack of self-love. I felt safe under Miera’s nurturing hands. She held sacred space for me to process the emotional anguish. The pain oozed to the surface as she touched my muscles. Tears soaked the face cradle session after session.
Step 2: “Start with a Vision Anchored in Your Heart.”
As the tears subsided in the massage sessions, the same vision arose in my mind time after time. I saw a cabin in the woods surrounded by tall trees. It was private. It was safe. I was at peace.
After the massages would end, I would return to my normal daily activity. I accepted the fact that I lived in the city. But I wanted to live two hours north, tucked in the woods of the North Georgia Mountains overlooking Lake Chatuge. I just didn’t see any way I could afford to live there.
For a long time, I didn’t choose to act on the vision. I wasn’t willing to give up the financial security I knew. I settled for a good life, but it didn’t fully feed my spirit.
As the weeks passed, the vision of the cabin in the woods appeared again and again. I realized that God was showing me a particular environment that would allow me to heal and thrive. I knew the vision was from God because it always occurred after my mind-chatter had quieted down, and I felt at peace.vI am a highly sensitive person, and highly sensitive people thrive in quiet beautiful Nature sanctuaries.
It took 3 years for the Dark Night of the Soul to pass. It took a long time for me to access all the deep layers of pain, built up like sedimentary rock.
During this process I gradually developed deep emotional intimacy between my personality self and my spirit and the Holy Spirit. I call this my relationship with My Sacred Inner Beloved. I regained my energy, and the emotional and physical pain subsided.
I designed the blue print for my cabin in the woods overlooking the lake. After working on it daily for over 6 months, a crisis occurred. My father suddenly died. Reeling from the grief, my heart opened in a way it never had. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I wouldn’t live forever either, and I assessed the quality of my life. Everything was great except I didn’t live in the mountains overlooking the lake, surrounded by the tall trees.
Step 3: Jump. Take the Risk. Act on Your Vision.
After praying with my friends, I decided to take the risk to build my dream home. I realized that my fears about not having enough money would never go away. I had to proceed in the direction of my dream, taking one step at a time. I asked God to reveal the next step, day after day.
It’s been ten years now, and I am so grateful every time I look out my living room windows at the lake and mountains and the tall trees. No matter what is going on in my life, stressful or blissful, I am happy living in my beautiful Nature sanctuary.
Now It’s Your Turn.
- Find someone you trust to help you emotionally heal. Examine your most deeply held values and dreams. Intend to open to your Authentic Self and to God. I’m here to help you heal at the deepest level so you can let go of coping patterns that once helped you survive, but now limit your success and fulfillment.
- Meditate daily, long enough to experience deep inner peace. Invest the time. Don’t skip this step. Listen to the still small voice inside yourself. Join the on-going conversation already in progress, in your innermost being. I produced the CD, “A Journey into Wholeness” to help you do this.
- Find healers who understand the mind-body-spirit connection. Heal your emotions and your body. I highly recommend counseling and life coaching along with bodywork. Tight muscles hold unresolved emotions and memories that set up old coping patterns.
- Attend weekend retreats so you have plenty of time to dive deep into your emotional pain and develop the strength to be your Authentic Self.
By doing practices such as these, you will be shown the visions anchored in your heart, and you too will be able to move in the direction of your fondest dreams.
Wishing you joy, inner peace and much love.
Benita A. Esposito, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor
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If you’d like help in excavating your Authentic Self and creating your fondest dreams, I’m here to help.
- Attend an Intensive Retreat. Click here for the schedule.
- Contact me for Professional Counseling in Georgia.
- If you live outside Georgia, contact me for Life Coaching and Spiritual Counseling via videoconference, anywhere in the world.
Life Coaching and Spiritual Counseling: www.SensitiveIntrovert.com
Copyright 2012. The Esposito Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.