How well do we really know ourselves?
There are countless stories of people who have gone through life-altering experiences of self-discovery and fearlessly shared with us their individual journeys through mediums such as yoga, meditation or love found (or love lost).
I don’t have a successful story of personal enlightenment to share with you—but I did recently come to the compelling realization that I do not in fact know myself as much as I had thought.
In the wake of a traumatic heartbreak I felt an inexplicable feeling of loss and was undergoing as much positive change as possible from joining a new gym, adopting a meditation practice, to visiting a spiritual healer. Not only did I find a new found love for yoga, Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh, but I also discovered a scary underlying truth.
I was going to be turning 30 and wasn’t as comfortable in my own skin as I had deceived myself into thinking I was.
My entire life, I had acted fairly confidently felt that I was together. I had been on a corporate career path, was financially stable living, in a fast past cultural metropolis and found a good man. But after what I thought was my future suddenly dissipated before my eyes, I felt completely stripped and helpless.
It wasn’t until then that I realized I hadn’t noticed the starting point to rebuild my foundation that had become so lopsided over the years. I just kept adding block after block, just following the so-called plan and assuming my given character flaws, without taking the time to think about what it was shaping out to be.
I arrived at my first visit with my spiritual healer depressed and heartbroken; I could barely say my ex’s name without fighting back tears. I left, though, with a whole new perspective and with the realization that it was a lot more than just a breakup that was weighing on me.
So I entered that day with a broken heart and open mind and left with a newfound inspiration for understanding my roots and with the overwhelming idea that my birth mother was out there somewhere sending me love and compassion.
For the past four years, I’d been grieving and bitter about the loss of my mother, without pondering the thought of my biological mother, perhaps still alive on the other side of the world and wishing me well.
I realized that me being adopted and being raised in a white society had in fact weighed on me and affected who I was, more so than I had imagined.
I realized that it’s okay for me to feel angry about some things in my past and I shouldn’t disregard those emotions or feel wrong for feeling that way.
It was important to acknowledge the feelings as they come up and not just lock them away, like I always had.
When asked how I dealt with being adopted, I responded, “I don’t know I just pretended I was white I guess.”
Sometimes I would catch my reflection in the mirror and be taken aback. Who was that Asian girl staring back at me?
One of the exercises we conducted was a type of soul retrieval, which in this instance involved me reaching back to some of my burrowed childhood memories when I remember being faced with prejudice (although may not have realized at the time); I found my three-year old self playing innocently and not understanding why this boy at my daycare was making slanted eyes at me in a taunting manner.
I looked my three-year old self in the eye and told her everything was going to be ok and that she was ok; I was there to comfort her and understood her confusion.
This was just the starting point.
The act of unlocking one memory like this almost instinctively opened the flood gates to many more memories that I had locked away out of anger and ultimately shame—shame for feeling and being different in a society that tells you it’s not the norm.
How can you pretend to fit in when you have memories of ignorance blatantly calling you out?
So I ask, how well do we really know ourselves?
Well, for me I realized that I needed to start from scratch.
I needed to try to know my roots, honor my ancestors and most importantly honor myself.
I needed to find and comfort my inner child that I had kept quiet all these years and ignored, because she is the one that can point me in the right direction.
This is first piece of writing Marakim Zablinis has ever submitted to a website. Recently she been undergoing dramatic life changes and has set the intention to alter her lifestyle with mindfulness, yoga, compassion, and learning to just love herself. She is working on balancing corporate career with spiritual path and modeling after Buddhist principals and has decided to write as she undergoes new experiences. She realizes its never too late to change your thought process and start from scratch. She hopes to inspire others through her own experiences as she have been inspired through reading others’ on elephantjournal.
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Assistant Ed: Elysha Anderson
Ed: Bryonie Wise