the cave

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. – Joseph Campbell

When I first found this quote last week, I was so incredibly excited to write a post about it  – it is just so incredibly powerful because of the truth behind the words. But now there’s nothing. There is this grasping and reaching and trying to remember all of the things that I thought were so important that I needed to have them all included.

Emptiness, nothingness, a blank slate to start over and start with something new.  A direction that has now altered because I can’t remember the other parts. Why didn’t I write them down? Why didn’t I take the time to put my rough ideas in a note at least so I could remember the directions I wanted to go? How many times has this happened where I made something else more important?

I remember reading Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, specifically the parts about shadow and light, where we all have shadow parts of our personalities that we don’t like to embrace, that we want to keep hidden from everyone else, the parts that are embarrassing or shameful, or bring up feelings of judgment that would happen from other people. What about the judgment that we put on ourselves….constantly? Just now in this last paragraph, I am judging myself for not being “good” enough to write down something that was really important to me.

Well who cares?

Maybe this post won’t look like what I originally had planned but what if it’s something better than I even thought could be? What about that part? Why do I and probably we as a society immediately go to the negative part of feeling not good enough? Or operate out of a place of lack? What outside influences have and are being put on us on a daily basis that then reflect into the inner part of the dialogue that we have with ourselves.  Why do we think that those external influences are so important? It’s not like they or “it” cares how we end up…whatever we see has their own agenda, their own mission, their own philosophy and I think it’s up to us to decide if we want to buy into that.  It’s hard, it really is, but I really really try my best to not let it get to the heart of me.

This is a cave moment.

The realization that judgment plays a huge part of who I am. I have struggled with this for a really long time, specifically and especially in my teenage years. I didn’t even know I was doing it. It was definitely a coping mechanism to make me appear tougher on the outside because I didn’t know how to handle the inside.  Perhaps judgment was my choice of drug. Instead of using alcohol or drugs, I chose to use judgment as my crutch.  If I could point out what was wrong with other people, then I was doing ok.

Through the years we gain so much wisdom, and it is so easy to see where our shadows are as we raise our children, and become much more of a witness to what is happening externally in our lives.  My teenage years were full of so much judgement and I have learned to let go of so much since then, but especially since my kids have been born. They are pretty good mirrors for our own personalities.  I catch myself so often when I see judgment happening and we have some really great conversations about it.

Everyone is trying to be the best they can in every moment.  I really believe that. And I thank my Mom who has been telling me this and sharing examples of this since I was THAT teenager. We have no idea what they are going through or what lessons they are trying to learn and unless we are open to opening ourselves up and sharing what we are going through then those conversations are never going to be had. We will never truly see that other person.

And they will never truly see us/you/me.

Which leads me to another story…

I am in a very new book club that just started meeting and the book we chose to read is Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. I have read the Gifts of Imperfection already and am in the middle of reading Rising Strong, so I thought it would be the perfect choice and the others hopped on board.  We decided to meet over the first two chapters, which for me, were very hard to get through. There were parts that I could relate to (the story telling) but a lot of the parts I could not. We had a great discussion about the book and what we have read so far, times that we talked about our personal lives a little bit, times where we voiced our opinions, and then at the end we circled back around to the discussion questions about the book.  I left feeling like I had just met some amazing women and couldn’t wait for the next meeting.

Then the vulnerability hangover (aka judgment) hit me like a ton of bricks.  I found myself over-analyzing the comments that I had made and how they may have been interpreted by the others.  What if I had pushed too hard?

After all, I only had just met one of them very recently and the other was an acquaintance.

The funny part was, is they had asked me if I was ok with being vulnerable and I said that I really had no problem with it and that it didn’t bother me.  Seriously, who am I kidding? Obviously it’s a work in progress all the time.  We all have triggers and me wondering if everyone else was ok after our meeting was/is one of them.

Another cave moment.

The treasure moment was realizing that it was perfectly ok to have those feelings…it’s just part of the process and part of being human and part of living a life that embraces the journey of those feelings.  I choose to embrace the shadows and the light, even if sometimes those shadows really really hurt…that’s what makes the light so radiant.

In the end, I don’t know what would have come out of the original direction of this post, and I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I would love to hear about your cave and treasure moments. 

Much love, Christy