*Name has been changed for confidentiality.
“Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.” ~ Maya Angelou
In my very first coaching session with Anna, she told me that all her negative experiences in relationships, romantic and otherwise, were the result of burning off karma or centuries-old soul contracts.
This was a firm statement, a belief that influenced the way Anna beat herself up for choosing the wrong partners and allowing out of control family members to mistreat her.
As a person who deals in the esoteric every day, believes in time travel, and knows that soul agreements do exist, my job was to excavate what was true for Anna and what was a new age mind trap.
Sometimes, we tell ourselves a story that covers all manner of evil and accept the role of victim in a situation because that story is easier to digest than to do the difficult work of seeing patterns for what they are. We’ve all been there.
Anna was viscerally aware of her emotional pain and truly did want to know where she was going wrong. The turnaround happened for her when she saw that her mind had tricked her into believing that she was to blame in the past for what was happening now and that it was best for her to keep learning this lesson.
There is a fine line we walk in recognizing that past actions do affect the present moment, whether it is the near or distant past, and knowing that punishing ourselves and avoiding change is a pattern built on a lack of self-worth.
All relationships are teaching grounds. They show us where to build boundaries, how to ask for what we need, how to treat others, what is healthy conflict resolution, and most importantly, how to value ourselves and others. In that way, yes, we enter each one to be able to “see” something new and to grow. They should also help us accept ourselves in a loving way, to mature into enjoying our life journey instead of being in a constant battle with our experience.
The responsibility for all that lies with the individual, never with the other. Another can help reflect these deep lessons, but we ourselves must walk the road to valuing our soul spark.
For Anna, understanding that what she was doing now to avoid self-love was the real danger—not the karma she was forever burning or soul contracts. We set about releasing her from beliefs about karma (isn’t it time we got off that wheel?), we did several cord release rituals to provide her with reassurance that her emotional and spirit bodies were not entangled with previous lovers. We explored crucial boundaries left open and dug into why she felt deserving of mistreatment, especially from herself.
In the end, everything lies at our feet, and we have the choice to look at it with compassion and see it for what it is or to point at some distraction.
To do that, we have to come to a place of safety within ourselves, and that is often the first question: Do I trust myself to do this work? Am I safe to pursue this?
If we have been taught to not trust our own instincts, it is difficult to make the choices that protect us in a healthy way—because we can easily find all kinds of ways to self-protect that don’t serve us at all.
I’ve met many women who remain in a relationship because “they were meant to learn something.” Sometimes, the lesson is to know when to leave a relationship, instead of suffering because we are codependent in some way with that suffering.
Perhaps, over many lifetimes, one has been handed the same lesson over and over and then has become addicted to the pattern, forgetting that all along we were meant to find our way out of that spider’s web. Sometimes suffering is actually sweet; it is familiar, and we understand the territory.
As soon as we take responsibility for the pattern and don’t blame the karma, or the contract, or the trauma of the past, we are already empowered to start trusting ourselves to make intuitive decisions that stem from the heart, not the mind.
You do know how to love yourself—it’s inherent—even if circumstances or people try to beat that out of you.
You do know what is best—it’s just that a habitual pattern of suffering is speaking louder than that sacred instinct.
First steps are always a bit wobbly. Silencing thought demons, trusting your inner wise one, stepping away from drama mongers in your life, finding solace in something real like a walk in the woods or a stroll by a river are intentional journeys we take to remember who we are.
You were born to know that brilliant spark within yourself.
The relationship we have with ourselves is what everything else is built on. We know this, and yet, this is the one relationship where we struggle the most. I am no stranger to this vision quest. I’m still learning to recognize where I don’t value myself. We all are. I don’t know if we ever arrive—this is a lifelong adventure toward loving ourselves fully and dreaming a beautiful world into being.
Sometimes looking at another person’s struggle, lending a kind hand or gesture, is the quickest way to self-love. When we recognize our common journey, live in service in some way great or small, we understand the desire for being loved and loving. We take responsibility for the way we walk this planet. We take responsibility for the suffering we no longer need to partake in.
In the end, Anna was able to notice how poor boundaries were keeping her trapped, and agreed with herself not to use her spiritual beliefs in karma and soul contracts as areas to hide in. She said goodbye to several bad situations, and though scared and suddenly out in the world alone, embraced this new adventure appreciating the fact that she was strong and wise.
It was difficult at first, there were new challenges with finances, and many, many tears. But when Anna looked in the mirror, she saw a sovereign woman, and that was the treasure she found in her own backyard.