Reflections

Fingerprint of the Soul?

So last night I had dinner with a friend, a last minute decision that proved fortuitous once again…  She has been “going through” something these past few months, and though I have been there, keeping up with the story, participating in whatever fashion a friend can, this was the first opportunity we’ve had to sit down and discuss the journey in toto, now that it is done.  Debriefing, summarizing, drawing conclusions, comparing results…  It turned out to be quite enlightening for me…

You see, though I had understood the journey she’d been taking, and many of the details as they occurred, there were certainly blank spaces in my “big picture” mural; blurry spots caused by incomplete data and misunderstood details.  So, sitting with her last night, we explored those fuzzy places, with me asking pointed questions, and her providing “truth” of what was.  Past tense, behind her, over and done…  And then she showed me the last text exchange she’d had with this person she had been struggling with, and something “clicked” within me.  I saw myself clearly in that word exchange, but I was surprised to discover on which “side” I was on.

Because, yes, I got what my friend had experienced; I’d been there myself.  But I had once been the person with whom she had struggled.  I saw myself there, in the words themselves, distinctly remembered using those same words myself.  I was shocked, and dismayed, embarrassed to my core; had I REALLY been that needy, that self-absorbed, that delusional?  My friend from last night is a very gentle soul, and to see what this other had put her through had made me mad, and sad, and proud and amazed, for she has grown so much in recent years!  She has learned about boundaries, and a hint of her own self-worth, and watching this journey this summer has just proven to me that she HAS truly learned those important lessons of self…

But in that moment last night, I found my self standing squarely in the shoes of her nemesis.  For some 20 years before, I had encountered my own sweet soul, and put them through EXACTLY what this other had done to my friend!  The details were different, of course, but the pattern, and the results, were uncannily alike…  I sat in that booth, caught completely off guard, feeling horrified, mesmerized, intrigued and disgusted; it was like watching a train wreck, knowing I could look away, knowing I SHOULD, if only to preserve my innocence, but totally unable to comply with my own best interests…  I was so totally knocked off balance by the revelation, that my friend kept apologizing to me (!) for bringing it up, and it took every ounce of will I had to try and convince her (and myself) that this was a “good” and necessary moment; to thank her for sharing her journey so openly with me that I was able to make this connection…

Now I must backtrack a moment, recast this summer’s journey in more personal terms, in order to express the true significance of last night’s revelations.  It was this very friend who has been pushing me for years (!) to set up a blog, and who finally inched me over the edge this summer.  And, though she doesn’t follow this blog herself, she checks in with me from time to time to make sure I’m pursuing it.  In essence, I guess, she is responsible for creating this site, and I am very grateful to her for that…  It is also worth noting that she is the one most likely to hear about the “messages” I receive, those nudges from the Universe that direct me, and guide me in this journey of self.  And this summer my messages have been unusally consistent, about “letting go,” “moving on,” releasing and forgiving, and similar stuff.  And we have discussed the many details of my life looking for a hint of what the Universe is trying to reveal, but unsuccessfully as it turns out.  Because, while I have encountered glitches and snags to my peace of mind, momentary resentments, and incidents of imbalance, nothing we’ve uncovered as yet seems to measure up to the insistency of those messages…

Until last night…

The evening broke up shortly thereafter, as I struggled, and failed, to name what I “knew” now, and we both understood that the shared part of the work was now done.  And it was while I was driving home, alone, that the Word finally came, settling like a dark cloak around me.

And the word I had learned was shame…

I’m sure some of you are familiar with the term, and the experience it creates…  That horrible skin-crawling, shoulder-hunching, turn-my-face-away, don’t-look-at-me, curl-up-in-a-ball and hide kind of feeling that makes you want to run as far and as fast as possible away from the scene of the “crime.”   But there is nowhere to go where the feeling doesn’t follow; and no way to rationalize and justify it away.  We tell ourselves “I’m only human; I make mistakes,” but even that cannot dilute the toxicity of shame.  So we shove it down deep, inside ourselves, wrap it up in pretty little diversions like “lesson learned,” and “I’ll never do that again!”  And though we may actually follow that path, and never repeat that particular lesson, the shame remains, a tense knot in the muscle of our soul, that expresses itself as an unconscious tic, or worse, as a degenerative condition, like arthritis or palsy, that grows more crippling over time and distance.

I feel it again now, as strongly as  the day I finally put a stop to that misguided path I’d been on; maybe more so, in fact today, because I have 20+ years more experience by which to judge myself.  And it hurts…a lot!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not punishing my self; I DO understand it was a lesson I learned.  And I haven’t repeated it since; at least I don’t think I have.  But that feeling of shame remains deep within, and I have no clue how to exorcise that particular demon.  Usually I can immerse myself in a negative feeling, own it, claim it, then let it go, and relief flows in to take its place.  But that doesn’t seem to work as well with shame…  Perhaps because the feeling itself acts like a poison to my soul, making me feel nauseous and ill, and uncomfortable as hell!

Hmm…

So I came home last night, turned off all the lights except these soft Christmas lights I keep as night lights all year long, and tried to explore what I had found.  I twisted and turned within my own skin, trying to make peace with my self.  And I failed dramatically…  until I finally fell asleep, exhausted by my work week and these deep feelings I could not purge.  And I dreamed…

I dreamed I was a star shining in a night sky; a beautiful rainbow of colors at my core, spreading out in rays to touch, explore and embrace whatever my light encountered.  It was a brilliant display accompanied by soft music that lulled and enlivened, as my soul spread out in this vast, empty space…  It was then that I noticed the dark spots within, places both large and small where my light would not, or could not, willingly go.  And I knew now the name of those darks spots on my soul, for they were clearly shame; self-contained, separate, unable to accept the Light that is Me…

I looked away, instinctively, and saw my hand before my eyes, as I attempted to hide those dark spots from sight.  I turned my hand over, and noted anew the whorls, and lines, and scars that make up the unique fingerprints that are mine… And suddenly, I found myself staring again at the star that is me…  And it occurred to me those dark spots are not unlike my fingerprints, for they form a pattern, a picture, that is uniquely mine!…

I woke with that image strong in my memory, and knew that today would be a writing day for me…

I “get” it, I think, or at least a new part of it…  Maybe I will never find a way to erase my shame, but I can still love “me” anyway.  For those scars on my soul are no different, in fact, than the scars on my body I cannot erase.  And every one of those physical scars was earned honestly, as I struggled to learn my way in this world.  Why, then, should the scars on my soul be treated any differently by me?  Those scars form a pattern, uniquely me, like the fingerprints upon my hands, identifying my individual ego’s trip across the vastness of time and space, allowing me to recognize me…

And, as I prepare to press the “publish” button, I pause to acknowledge the significance of this moment.  For I am truly putting my self out there, on the internet, for anyone with time and an inclination to read, to see.  I’ve heard it said that anything put on the internet is forever out there; you can never truly take it back.  I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems fitting today, adding depth and weight to this decision I’ve made: to own my self wholly, both shadow and light, to embrace my self publically this way.  For this blog, which my friend helped create, has turned what was once a private journey of self-discovery through writing, into a public forum for both friends and strangers to witness, if they should so choose.  And that magnifies, for me, both the One-ness that is us, and the Otherhood we can share…

And so this blog becomes a record of sorts, for posterity’s sake and for my own private (and not-so-private) revelation.  It is, in fact now, a map…

The fingerprint of my soul…

I trust that is enough…

Advertisements
Standard

2 thoughts on “Fingerprint of the Soul?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s