Moving Forward from The Past and Knowing Who You Are Now
You can come back from anything,
the Phoenix rises from its ashes,
burns its past in the wake and when
it turns its head in fury to peek,
The Phoenix is the opposite of its past,
acknowledging the misfortunes and the blessings,
but no longer exists in that timeline.
Is reborn in spirit, soulful in blood-red fire,
no revenge, no uncertainty,
her grief peacefully departed.
The Phoenix does not fear,
instead lets go, to leave behind its shadow,
not to turn a cold cheek, but to offer peace.
Remember that pain is a feeling.
It is a gift to feel,
tears are a godly gift, sent to cleanse.
Become One with the holy, water element,
create ponds for yin and yang to bathe in.
The love in your heart never parts,
does not yield, no matter
how much you revisit your pain or
tear open your wounds.
A little glimmering light at the bottom
of the pool, choose to allow it to fill the voids,
let them mend and scar over,
choose to bask in the flame’s eternal glow.
Pull great strength from your ashes,
tear it from its ties to inferno,
dust it off with your wide Phoenix wings
and with the immensity you carry,
blow the ashes.
They will disappear
into thin air, back to their war ground,
where others may come for their own battles.
This no longer belongs to you,
it has served its purpose.
It must go.
When I cry, with it comes a storm. I unlock a whirlwind of emotions, tears that lift the veil on years of buried thoughts and memories. They just seemed to stick even when I tried prying them off. I feel the bad filling up my belly, marinating and rising slowly until it hits my heart and burns a hole. I suppose that’s how it creates a way to leak through. But is somehow always a surprise. I shudder at their entry, trapped in a neverending loop, but let them play back like I’m living through it- slipping on my old skin before bed, when the world is quiet and there are no distractions.
They appear in broad daylight too. A look in the mirror a certain way, a song playing in the wrong place, or an interaction that mirrors the past. And I can hear a voice lingering, repeated words of harm over and over. It leaks in the way I behave or something I say. Ways that don’t feel like me. Other times it’s just a weird, empty or eerie feeling. But I always question how it can so seamlessly slip back in.
I feel stupid because it’s almost out of my control. I feel completely haunted by them. It eats at you, the fact that you can’t go back and change any of it. It lies in the way I smother and overthink. In the feeling that I can’t receive the love and care I deserve. The way I fear certain situations or interactions. The reason I expect to mess up, to be pushed away. I fear the past even being brought up in conversation or being thought of in that way. How would I respond? I’m always thinking of what I could say. It’s the reason I spent so long entombing my voice and hiding my expressions from others, letting it all collect inside so I can unleash them when I’m alone. But at the same time, fear that same voice being stolen- when I haven’t even given it a chance to speak. Do I think I am too much?
I have given my past too much power. When you get used to it being a part of you and then try to tread through it or leave it behind, it fights back. How can you rip me from creator? I find trouble in differentiating the old me from the new me, although I’ve put so much hard work into myself. Every day I have to be reminded to let the real me decide how things are going to go, what they’ll be like.
What Starts Every Storm
It would be much easier to run away if there weren’t things that could pull us back in. Triggers can be anything that set off an emotional response within us. They can make you feel disconnected from your surroundings or people in your presence. It can make you all choked up. And you might result in dissociating to escape or feel more comfortable- going to a void place where these emotions can’t get you.
We carry our belongings for so long, we may forget we’re holding them. They brand themselves onto our skin, but there’s no means of treating the burn or fading the scar. And it’s strange when you’ve built a fortress so sturdy and a moat so deep, you thought nothing could pass or topple it over. Layers and layers of walls so thick even the ghosts get tired of floating through each one. But slowly you realize that your fortress can’t save you from yourself. Your ghost is deep inside and locking it away doesn’t get rid of it. Setting it free does.
We hold onto to our baggage or keep things around that drag us down because it’s what we know. And when we don’t know anything outside of that, it feels normal and safe. We may even be presented with something that’s good for us, but instead turn it away because we’re scared and it doesn’t seem right.
As we gain the ability to understand where we’re coming from and our emotions (as we grow older or through the things we learn), it’s OUR job to take care of it. We don’t grieve or allow ourselves to feel it fully because of the notion that going through it is much more painful than burying it, or putting it in a drawer to hide forever. But when you let one weed grow in your garden, or ivy grow on your tree, soon the entire garden is spoiled and the tree- strangled.
We have been through a lot. And whatever is staying with you may be something very heavy. It’s impossible to do all at once. We must be patient with ourselves.
The ego comes into play when we’re trying to understand who we are right now and how that person is separate from the old self. Within it lies the past.
Your ego is the idea of yourself you pieced together. It is your self-image and you may overly identify with it to try to understand who you are. It is the mindset that ‘you are a product of our past’, hiding in the way you think and behave. It desires to keep you separated from the world, making you feel detached and alone. And you can stray so far that your ego becomes you, through your devotion, and you are unable to move past your physical bounds.
What’s behind your ego is your true self, the entity that exists without words or anything to make it up. It is completely raw. And that is who you are. It’s the part of you that’s free from the constraints of your mind. It’s not chained to old memories and only exists in the present. It flows swimmingly through you and cannot be tainted- only your ego can. Your soul exists in simplicity, while the ego is a complex. We can positively use our egos to aim for what we want to be or to build that loving image of ourselves. We can use it for definition, but not to get lost in.
The bridge between the two is vulnerability. It’s how you get to the center and confront. Closing up (or preventing access to the bridge) closes us off from loved ones and from the future. But it all starts with you. Can you be vulnerable with yourself, shed your skin in front of your own eyes, and love what’s underneath? Because if not, how will you share that truth with someone else? Understand what lies beyond your walls so you are no longer afraid of it. We may be harboring things that are extremely painful to revisit. My dad once told me that if we practice enough times, we realize that the challenge at hand is not as scary as it once seemed. We will get there. We choose how our past defines us and have been told for so long that it’s a part of us, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s over and done with, so why does it trail behind? Because we haven’t been taught to let go.
Surrender to your entirety in the way a great waterfall surrenders to its drop into the unknown, but understanding it will enter into a new body of water. Or the sun descending every night into darkness, knowing it will come up on the other side. Feel it so it can fall away, so you can become again. Allow yourself to grieve and allow it to heal you. Acknowledge the misfortunes and the blessings that came from them. Offer peace to your past in exchange for a lesson- that’s what you take with you. Self-sovereign and no longer existing in that timeline. You’re only a product of your past indirectly. You make the choice of what you’ll take with you.
Allow your past self to leave. You’re allowed to leave behind what was toxic. Rise from it like the phoenix. Leave room for the fact that you change every day. Reborn every morning.
Getting to know yourself is like getting to know another. That definitely doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not ‘one day I’ll get there, but for now I’m like this’. It requires time, contemplation, attention and silence. Devote yourself to your self. Put in the effort to change the person you were before. Question everything- it’s a lot of, “why am I like this?”. Be picky and choosy about what you want apart of you. Let go of what no longer serves you or exists in the vibration of who you are becoming.
The complicated part is putting this into practice. The past is very sneaky. How do we draw the line? Can we cut it off completely?
This is what I have as an answer for the moment; we draw the line by stepping into our power. This means what we have control over what is our current self. I know we can divide both versions of ourselves. I can’t promise they won’t come into contact down the line. I know that visit is frightening and possibly disabling. Perhaps it’s a test of our strength. We can take precautions to prevent backtracking and help grow. It’s okay if we fall during that process.
Remind yourself who you are as you’re picking back up. You can let your past be a reminder of how far you’ve come. Be proud and find the light. Every second, every mile, and every effort is a step further away. And it is not shameful to ask for help. Our loved ones, healthcare professionals, and even strangers can be there to lead us to water.
Be conscious of yourself. Listen as best you can. Think before you speak and when you do, speak with your heart. React with care. Be real with yourself and everything around you. You don’t have to hold back or hide anymore. It’s safe to live in truth.
The great thing about individuality and freedom is that you get to choose. The possibilities can be a little intimidating. There’s so much I want to be and many different directions I’m pulled in. It makes me forget that I’m just me. I can absorb bits and pieces, but in the end I am me.