Our life is a classroom designed for our healing and for waking each of us up to be a full expression of our true Self. It is designed to trigger us, jolt us, pinch us, knock us down, empower us, and propel us into inspired action. Life is happening for us.
Life is a gift that brings up to the surface all of our leftover unresolved issues, resentments, emotions, and traumas so we can look at them and heal them fully and completely. It is also designed for us to remember the truth of who we are. All of the triggers and upsets are simply blocks to love. When we process those bumps in the road we learn how to love deeply once again. The key is to embrace each one and process and heal all of them, leaving no stone unturned.
Last night I watched a movie on Netflix called To the Bone. It was a story about a twenty-year-old girl with anorexia. As I watched the movie, I felt a deep connection to her daily struggles in obsessing about food and fighting her internal demons. My heart sank when everyone around her kept telling her to just eat, thinking that was the issue. Every time I heard someone say something about food, I heard myself say, “It’s not about food.” The internal workings of an eating disorder are complicated and even though food is the point of focus, it is not the root issue.
As the movie continued, I was reminded of the internal workings of my own battle with anorexia and bulimia in my late teens and early twenties. I could relate so much to the story and I felt a deep empathy when the girl spiraled down in weight so much that she was close to dying.
During one scene at the very end, tears started pouring out of my eyes as though a faucet had been turned on. I started bawling and sobbing uncontrollably. Yes, I was crying about the movie, but I was crying about all my leftovers. I felt a raw vulnerability and a deep surrender as a layer of grief, loss, and defeat washed up through me. I remember my lowest point, physically and emotionally. I remember when I hit rock bottom and my eating disorder spiraled out of my control. I remember curling up in a ball on the floor and praying for something, someone to reach out their hand and help me out of the dark hole I had buried myself in. I had been yearning for someone to pick me up and rock me gently and tell me I was going to be okay.
As I am writing this, more tears are flowing. I am reminded of the image I was upholding during that time. I was a Registered Veterinary Technician who had graduated with honors and received several awards. I was a part-time fitness instructor teaching others how to be healthy and fit, and my biggest secret—something I hid for years and was convinced I had control over—was suddenly taking over my entire life. The most painful thing for me was my fear that I couldn’t keep it hidden and secret. It was as though I was living a double life, pretending to be one way, yet living in an internal hell at the same time.
When I woke up this morning, I pulled some angel cards. I received the words “authenticity, strength, and transformation.” As I tuned in for messages around these cards, I saw myself writing about my experience of watching the movie. I hesitated and resisted for a moment. Then I heard the words “raw authenticity is transformational.” So I gathered my strength and courage and began this chapter.
As I continue to create space for the leftover tears, loss, grief, heaviness, judgment and fear to wash up, I feel deeply vulnerable. In one way it feels like a lifetime ago; on the other hand, at this moment it is real, raw, and fresh. So I allow space to feel that as well. I am willing to feel it all to heal it all. I don’t want to carry any of it anymore. So I will continue to allow the emotions to express themselves, and the feelings to be felt, and the judgments to wash up and out of the deep recesses of my mind until there is nothing left. I will leave no stone unturned.
When life bumps up against our leftovers, let it. Embrace it. It is an opportunity and a gift in disguise. It requires our courage to face it and to ask for help, our willingness to feel it, and our strength to surrender so we can let it go.
So the next time you feel triggered, stop and take a breath, look within and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling underneath this trigger?” Be willing to look deeper than at the obvious feeling at the surface layer.
Ask yourself, “What leftover is trying to rise up inside me for healing?” Look at the thoughts and memories that are rising up with it. They will point to what you are meant to heal. Then create some space for the expression and release all of it. Freedom is just on the other side of feeling.
When we use our life as our classroom, we can embrace all of life’s experiences with the intention to awaken our greatest expression of self. We will feel a deep sense of purpose and find meaning in every moment of every day.
When we clear all our own leftovers and our obstacles to love, we can be compassionate witnesses to others. We can hold them tenderly and authentically in their most vulnerable moments, and we can reassure them they are going to be okay. We can express true compassion and empathy for others and that is a recipe that will unite us in love for each other.
Stay tuned next week for chapter 9 ~ Asking for Help Is an Act of Courage
***This is an excerpt from Sue Dumais’ book “Stand UP Stand OUT Stand STRONG ~ A 30 Day Guide to Navigate Life When the SHIFT Hits the Fan” (published 2018)
Published on atfortyfive.com with permission from © Sue Dumais
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Thank you so much for the article. It allows healing to understand and embrace our leftovers rather than bury and try and ignore.