One morning I woke up to the sound of rain on my bedroom windows.
Not the light tapping kind of rain that gently trickles down everything it touches. It was a powerful downpour. Its mighty roar pulled me out of my dreams where, just moments ago, I was happily exploring a sun-filled, luxuriously green forest.
As soon as I was fully awake and understood that what woke me so abruptly didn’t pose any threat, I nestled in deeper into the cushions, closed my eyes and listened to the rain. It felt cozy and comforting to know that I was tucked away inside, away from the world outside my bedroom windows that got washed and scrubbed in those very moments. I wanted to wander back into the forest and continue my journey for just a little longer, but my mind had already begun its morning routine.
Every morning, as soon as I awoke, the left side of my brain leaped forward and jolted me into action. Like an impatient friend who had to wait all night for us to get ready, it ran out of the bedroom and pulled me in a variety of directions. I thought about client projects, the dogs, my partner’s work schedule and a friend’s difficult relationship. Irritated, I thought about the housework that needs to get done, the bills that need to get paid, and—while looking up to the dark spots on the bedroom ceiling—the upcoming renovation of the house.
My mind pulled me everywhere, out of myself and my very own depth. Before I had even lifted myself out of bed, I was overwhelmed and rushed off my feet.
It used to take only fifteen minutes to step out of my bedroom and sit in front of my computer, checking my emails. 900 seconds of uninterrupted, relentless left-brain bombardment, which set the tone for the rest of the day; the kind of tone that we are all, I believe, quite comfortable with these days.
And once I sat at my computer, I was gone.
With every task I did for someone else, I moved just a little further away from my core. My focus shifted entirely towards other people’s needs and wants. I traveled at lightning speed between client work, friends and miscellaneous one-off matters. From the moment I woke up to the last moment before I drifted off to sleep, I traveled on other people’s behalf. Every. Single. Day.
Our world is constructed in a way that promotes this kind of living. But the blame is not on the world.
Once I began to be honest with myself, I realized that I found taking care of others comforting. It suited me to surf the waves rather than learning how to dive deep into the dark, scary vastness of my being. Focusing on everything but myself meant that I would not have to confront questions like ‘What will I find in my own depths?’ and ‘What if I find something that requires me to make fundamental life changes?’
But, of course, I got to a point where I had to acknowledge that the way I led my life was neither sustainable nor happy. I am, after all, an explorer and way too curious to dismiss the opportunity to at least have a look. So I dove. Not head first and with powerful breaststrokes. But gently, simply allowing my natural body weight to take me deeper.
Suddenly I came to life.
Where I had assumed that, with everything that was going on in my life, I was an active and meaningful contributor to society, I realized that this was simply not true.
I understood that operating at the surface of my being meant that I needed outside forces to pull me along. I needed the constant bombardment and distractions as signposts on my journey through life. They were my anchors; they were what defined my place in this world. I realized that we can go through life for years and years, filled with shame, guilt, anger and frustration, and it is never too late to explore our very own depths and discover that all those external signposts that guide us through life are, in reality, a distraction.
Recognizing that, I sank deeper into my core. And there it was, my true self, locked away with all the treasures I am meant to bring into this world. Seeing myself in this way was overwhelming in so many ways.
I was like, ‘what? I have such precious gifts to share? Me? Really!?’ And instantly I had to acknowledge that I knew all along.
Today, when the rain knocks on my bedroom window in the morning, bringing my awareness back from the dream time to the world that surrounds all of us, I take a few moments to pause. Nestling in deeper into the pillows, I close my eyes and connect with my core, the place I know I can trust to guide me.
I let myself sink rather than being pulled. I rediscover, every morning, my true self and I start each day knowing that, now, I am an active and meaningful contributor to society because I bring—am not afraid of—the necessary depth.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Leila Taylor Jankowski / Editor: Editor: Renée Picard