It has been fifteen months since I returned home from what I thought was to be my last trip west. I thought I was going to find my home somewhere on the west coast when I headed out on my ninth trip across country in August 2010. I did not want to return. Returning home to me meant that I had failed and had given up on my dream. It was, in my mind, the worst thing that could happen.
The winter of 2010-2011 had me believing I was right. It was truly my winter of discontent. I was so disheartened with my work and the spiritual community that I was determined I would re-enter society and get a "real" job but my higher self had other plans for me.
By the time summer rolled around, the harsh winter had melted into an emotional inferno. Picture it. Summer 2011. I and my two sisters and their two dogs in a one bedroom single wide trailer in the middle of a cross between a marina and an RV park. Explosive emotions, both up and down, shot out from each of us like fourth of July fireworks. Many of my childhood wounds resurfaced for review. No wonder I didn't want to come back! This was the down and dirty, nitty gritty inner healing work. Through the judgment I felt from my sisters, my self doubt, and a lot of introspection, I allowed my real self to triumph. I spoke my truth from my heart. I was finally being true to myself.
This past fall and winter have been quite different. I unearthed what was keeping me from fully accepting and loving what is. I mended my relationship with my sisters and continue to mend my relationship with myself. As the wise Cherokee woman told me shortly after I arrived at my sister's summer home, "Sometimes you have to go backwards before you can go forward."
During one of my recent walks, I felt the urge to go to a local antique-flea market shop to find a couple of books to read. The first book that got my attention was called Homecoming, Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw. The word homecoming got my attention and then I realized this was a book a friend from Sedona had told me about. He told me how much the book had helped him heal his inner child. It was as if this book had called me to come and take it home.
I began to read about human developmental stages and how unhealed childhood wounds can translate into adult behavior. After reading the first part and answering the wounded child questionnaire, it was clear that I have more work to do. I continued on with the chapters for reclaiming my infant and toddler selves and then one HUGE ah ha moment surfaced.
I recently asked myself why I always feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Once I read that this catastrophizing is an addictive behavior to fear, it all started to make sense. When I was a toddler I witnessed my sister being physically abused by my father until she lost consciousness. I don't remember the incident, but when my sister told me during a conversation we had about abuse several years ago that she had been abused, I just knew I had witnessed it.
Just yesterday I had a conversation with my other sister that I knew I needed to have. For many reasons, it was important for me to know that I could continue to stay in her summer home. Before yesterday I was, true to form, waiting for the "other shoe to drop" and for her to say I need to leave. She was fine with me staying and was very loving and supportive. When I got home last night, I was still in shock, integrating the day's events. More than anything else, I was grateful.
After several days of intense introspection, reading, reclaiming my infant and toddler selves as Mr. Bradshaw recommended, and my conversation yesterday with my sister, I woke up this morning able to integrate what had happened to me. After witnessing my other sister's beating, I had internalized the fear and worry of when would it be my turn. In response to this, I stuffed the fear into my body creating musculoskeletal issues and autoimmune diseases. My body went into defense posture and contracted. I became the ideal daughter and student, too afraid to speak up or do one thing out of order. Add to that a mother who expected us to be perfect and no wonder I was afraid to do anything! Even when I got a 98 average on my report card, my mother said, "If you got 98 you could have gotten 100." In fact, as a child I may have believed that I was the cause of my father's anger and felt guilty. Guilt and shame go hand-in-hand and when I didn't measure up to my mother's standards, the guilt and shame grew. Hence, the weight of the world was on my shoulders and boy does it feel like that! As all of this information came flooding in, I cried like a baby. I sat on the floor and cried tears of sadness for my wounded child, tears of grief for the things in life I lost out on because I was too addicted to fear, and tears of joy for finally getting to the root cause, to the original pain as Bradshaw refers to it. As he says, "You can't heal what you can't feel."
Several weeks ago, I saw an ad for a healing center/metaphysical shop called Full Circle near where I live. Its name got my attention since it feels like I have come full circle. I knew I was to go there.
The shop is just a couple blocks from where I was born. How much more full circle can you get in this lifetime? The owner welcomed me and it was as if I were talking to an old friend. Since then, he has asked me to host the weekly meditation, and I will be teaching some classes and offering spiritual tours. Things seem to come to me with ease now that I am home.
Home within and without. My homecoming.
Who says you can't go home?