New Year, New Me II

Part Two: Healing journey

Lost in Berlin I make my way through the deserted battlefield that the city has become on this first day of January. More than anything I am lost within myself. Never have I felt this broken, lonely and ashamed. I sob uncontrollably, with short intervals, while I get in and out of subways. I feel scared and as venerable as a bird with broken wings, surrounded by hungry cats. The sky seems to crumble and fall onto my head. Then a small voice speaks to me from very, very deep within. As I sit sobbing in the subway tunnels of Berlin the voice tells me calmly yet clearly: “forgive yourself. Forgive yourself right now, or this will nest inside of you and rot. Forgive yourself now. Otherwise, this part of you will slowly but surely grow bitter and consume you. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself.” And so, I did.

Healing

I had to heal. There was no way that I was going to continue on this destructive path. I simply couldn’t. I had reached a breaking point and now I had to find a way back to myself. I had to learn to trust myself again. And I knew I would have to treat myself like one would treat a frightened animal; with a lot of patience and no trace of intimidating behavior. To me this was a completely new way of treating myself. Even on my best days I had always been hard on myself. Luckily, I knew even then: although this had been a horrible experience, it had cleared the way for a whole new narrative. I was going to be kind to myself, have patience with myself, become loving and compassionate towards myself, and I wasn’t going to force myself into doing things that weren’t meeting my needs. So it happened that I returned home, with a broken heart and all my self-confidence lost in the endless maze of my destructive mind, but also with one clear purpose: I was going to heal.

New Narrative

In January I sat with myself in meditation. I did yoga when I felt like it. I went outside into nature as much as possible. But most of all I held space for my emotions to be heard and recognized. I came to understand on a very deep level how this practice of loving-kindness, of accepting all emotions, observing them and treating them with the correct attention, was something I would benefit from for the rest of my life. I was changing my narrating voice from something mean, destructive and condescending to something supportive, friendly and filled with unconditional love.

Near the beginning of February, I started a new job and made a new plan. In only four short weeks I had entered a completely different state of being. That only happened because I had made my mental and physical wellbeing my first, second and third priority. I managed to slow down every time the familiar voice of my inner critic arose. By observing that voice at the very moment it spoke and not identifying with it; it lost its power over me. Instead of the critical narrator, there was now room for a new one. Slowing down and observing my inner landscape becomes accessible to me through my yoga and meditation practice. The mindful attention that I develop during those practices is something that I meet great benefits from during the rest of my day. For that, I am forever grateful.

Journey

I will continue on this path. I realize that even though I will experience growth, it will unavoidably be alternated by setbacks. But I am at peace with that. Setbacks are quite necessary, because most of the time they spike growth. Because of my self-practice I learn how to open myself more to whatever the universe has in stock for me, so I can flow with it, effortlessly. I learn how to have faith and patience. I notice that I am becoming better at not engaging in thought and holding unconditional space for whatever arises in me. In August I will fly to India. I am looking forward to this great adventure. I have faith that whatever challenges I will face, that I will be there for myself and that I will learn so much on this journey towards my highest self.

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