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We heal and grow when we understand and know (ourselves)

I grew up in a strict and religious family, where my dad was also a minister and as a result, my spiritual advisor. If I needed advice, I would go to my dad and those two roles would merge into one. I felt comfortable talking to him because he was my dad. He had this way of truly listening; I felt heard, and I trusted him. But because of his role as minister and spiritual advisor there was an extra dimension to our relationship: I believed he was somehow gifted with a direct line to God and his words would become the ultimate truth.

I learned to place my own truth and value outside of myself. I learned to value someone else's truth, someone else's gifts and someone else's opinion above mine.

With every major decision or change in my life, I would go to him for confirmation.

I would not trust my own judgment until I spoke to him and until he confirmed that what I had decided was the right thing to do. My father was a gentle and kind man who was often wise in his judgment and advise. I believed he genuinely loved me and wanted the best for me within the limits and confines of his own view of an imperfect world.

My father, like all of us, also had a shadow side. He battelled with insecurities and self-judgment, a chronic sense of not enough, and a fear of not being in control. This combination made him controlling and manipulative. In those moments, I would feel judged, limited in my freedom and not good enough.

This created a pattern of not trusting myself (self-doubt), placing power and love outside of myself (disconnect and alienation), and a feeling of never measuring up ((self)judgment).

This continued when I moved to Canada and married a man 10 years my senior. He was my dad all over again. There was this constant push and pull in our marriage. On the one hand, I would want him to be my dad and rescue me, but then rebelled when he became the controlling parent. All my wounds which had created those patterns would be triggered and I was not mature enough to see them or heal them yet.

So, I left him. First emotionally and then physically. And rushed into the following relationship.

Different man, same wounds, same push/pull. So, I left him too. A year later, I was in yet another relationship. This one would last three and a half years. I was still looking for my dad everywhere, within the relationship and outside. When would I finally find a man who would save me and make me not feel those things about myself? When would I finally be loved?

But a process had started. Different people somehow came into my life who awakened in me a hunger for spirituality. I read the book "Conversations with God" by Neal Donald Walsch and something sparked to life. One thing led to another, and I met a woman who was a channel and who would help me uncover hidden aspects within myself. And thus, my spiritual journey began.

I began to see my patterns clearly and the more they came to the surface, the more I loathed myself and the more I looked for my father in all kinds of men, women, and situations. I made decisions based on unconscious pain, needing to escape from myself and needing confirmation and love from others. Some of those decisions still make my cheeks red, it brings up that much shame and guilt.

In 2005 met my Guru, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, also lovingly known as Amma, the hugging saint. Of course, I projected my dad all over her and she became my everything. But because of her state of pure LOVE, something else would blossom when I was with her. In her presence I would feel unconditionally loved. In her presence I would become a different person somehow, there would be freedom to be my true self, someone I actually liked. I began to see that underneath all the impurities, the imperfections and the unconscious patterns, there was a person who would feel love and compassion, a person who was kind and generous, a person who wanted to be there for others when they needed her. I always saw myself through the lens of imperfection until Amma showed me there was a person in there worth loving.

Yet, this did not magically transform me into a new person. No, those limiting beliefs about myself needed to be understood and healed. I needed to understand where those unconscious patterns came from. What was the underlying wound, that made me believe I wasn't good enough?

And so began a journey of self-discovery. Aristotle said: "To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom." I learned to see the energetic patterns within my birth family. I began to understand who my mother was, who my father was and who my siblings were. I began to see how all of them played a role in who I saw myself and believed myself to be. I began to understand how my environment had created wounded parts within my psyche and how that shaped me to be who I am today. A person who subconsciously created a set of beliefs, patterns, and programs in order to protect herself and survive.

I had a lot of help from some very gifted healers, but ultimately it was I who needed to do the digging. It was I who needed to recognize the unconscious beliefs, patterns, and programs. It was I who needed to witness them with neutrality and love when they were active, and I acted out. It was I who needed to forgive myself for my 'imperfections' and bring forgiveness to my past, so I could create a different present and future. It was I who needed to be kind to myself and love myself unconditionally. It took years, if not lifetimes!

Everyone who says or thinks it is easy or tries to take shortcuts, will be disappointed. It takes effort, courage, and determination. But when we persevere however, and meet ourselves with kindness and love, there will come a point when we feel something soften toward ourselves. We notice that there is more understanding and compassion for self and others and as a result there is not so much taking things personally anymore. In other words, we don't get our knickers tied in a knot when someone doesn't return our text message or says something rude. We know it isn't about us. Do you know how much space and equanimity that would create in your life? When there is more space, we start to feel more balanced, content, and happy. That is when changes become more and more subtle. More contentment and happiness is a good place to be, but as a wise being once told me: "there is no end to transformation."

“The Lotus grows out of the mud. Without the mud, there is no Lotus. Suffering is a kind of mud, that we must use in order to grow the flower of Understanding and Love” ~ Thich Nat Hanh/ Vietnamese Monk.

May we all become beautiful lotus flowers.

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