Be not the slave of your own past-plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Are you a good swimmer? Do you like to scuba dive and explore underwater?
Regardless of how you answered those questions, you needn’t worry. The seas we are being invited to dive into are the depths within our own selves. No special gear required. Only an open heart and a curious mind.
Pausing to reflect on the day is a powerful tool to foster awareness. It doesn’t matter when you pause or if you choose to pause multiple times throughout the day—simply pause. I learn plenty about myself each time I take an Ann-break. The pause helps me notice where my attention is really going and to unpack what might be behind the distraction.
For example, during my journaling and prayer time this morning, I specifically asked to keep my focus on me and my work, knowing that I am carrying a sensitive situation in my heart. I know I need time to allow the processing to happen, without pushing or judging it, which means that I need to surrender and allow. I need to focus on me and not get wrapped up and distracted by the situation, trying to hurry it along or force an outcome.
Because of the amount of diving within I have done, I have learned that allowing this process to happen organically is critical in order for me to break my habit of feeling guilty or emotional caretaking. When I try to control my processing, I fall down my own rabbit hole of habits and stories that I am working to unwind and release.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I’m ignoring the feelings of others. It means that I am exploring what it means for me to feel how I feel regardless of the response or reactions of others. I have a habit of sharing how I feel, sensing or noticing the response, then feeling guilty for the unease I have created and doing what I can to “make things better” at the expense of how I feel. Does that ring familiar to any of you?
The guilt/caretaking cycle is a dreadfully uncomfortable experience and yet it’s equally unsettling to unlearn the habit. I don’t like to create conflict. I also don’t like to be dismissed. I don’t like sensing that someone is upset with me. I also don’t like the lack of mutual acceptance. It’s quite a frustrating little tangle I get myself all knotted up in.
This is where diving into my inner sanctuary comes into play. I have the opportunity to see how I learned to associate being lovable with being the emotional caretaker for others. I learned how to push aside my own feelings to make sure somebody else was ‘ok’. I learned how to filter what I share in order to keep peace. I learned how to be in an anticipatory state when I share with others so I can quickly back-peddle and blame myself. This is what I mistakenly taught myself about being lovable. As long as I made everyone else feel ‘ok’, I was safe, not in jeopardy of being cast aside.
In the process, I learned how to cast myself aside. I learned how to cast aside my joy because someone else couldn’t receive it. I learned how to cast aside my needs because it was too much for others. I learned how to cast aside my boundaries within relationships to keep others content. I learned how to cast aside my feelings because being anything other than ‘happy’ made people uncomfortable.
Taking the plunge within helped me really see the habits and lovingly explore replacing them with healthy beliefs. To strike the phrase, “I should’ve kept my mouth shut” from my vocabulary. To love the fullness of my daily experiences. To savor what I bring to each day. To be goofy and playful if that’s what I feel and cherish the giggles I bring to myself.
I love who I am in this moment, knowing that growth happens constantly. My goal now is to remain that grounded in love when I have shared experiences or exchanges with others.
I have plunged into the sublime seas and have come back with new self-respect and new power.
It’s worth it.
You’re worth it.
Walking together in light, love and peace 🙏