Why am I here? Why do I feel so lonely? Why do I feel such pain and grief? I didn’t understand.  There was so much of life that I just couldn’t fathom, but my heart knew that there had to be something more, something that didn’t carry such a burdening sadness that made me feel so empty and hollow inside.

There also was an innate knowing, that inner voice that surfaced every so often, that whispered there was more to life than just existing, more to me than what I was seeing, and if I could just stop for a moment, something else would be revealed – like the sun shining through on a cloudy day.

Madonna-2015For most of my life I had felt like I didn’t belong, that I just didn’t fit in.  I didn’t see the world as others did.  I remember feeling like I was being punished – for what I did not know.  But I began to feel that there was something intrinsically wrong with me, I just didn’t know what.  And if I didn’t know what was wrong with me, how could I fix it?

My life was riddled with fear.  I learned to ignore my gut feeling, my inner guidance, and started mimicking others, their reactions and responses to situations, searching externally for approval.  I tried desperately hard to be what people expected of me, in the hope of fitting in and being accepted.  I learned to value and judge myself according to other people’s values and judgments.  The truth is – I learned not to trust me.

Throughout the years, there were two definitive turning points in my life that lead me towards my healing journey.

The first, was when I lost the friendship and support of the two people I cherished most.  It was my greatest fear realised, and I had never felt so alone.  Through this loss, however, I learned about me.  I learned about self acceptance and strength – qualities that I never knew I had.  I learned how to make decisions in life based solely on what I needed or wanted, because for once, there was no-one else to consider.  And most importantly, I learned that my fear of loss, was more debilitating and crippling, than the actual grief I had experienced from the loss.

The second, and more significant time on my path of healing, was when I met Mike Robinson (my spiritual teacher).  I had booked in for a reading on the recommendation of a friend.  During most of the reading, I was in tears – so humbled was I by this man.  It felt like I was coming home to me – I knew that he saw me – not the image I projected, this man saw me – and I wasn’t scared.  What’s more I felt completely accepted by him – I could feel his acceptance and love in the very essence of my being.

This meeting literally changed my life.  Mike inspired me to become a seeker.  I wanted to see what he saw – I wanted to find that hidden treasure – I wanted to find me, the true me – not the image I projected, nor the fear that had become such a constant companion that at times it had felt like it was me.  I started yearning to know me and to love me.

So who was I?

What was left when I took away all my judgments and beliefs? What was that spark that had kept joy and hope alive, even though at times it had felt so threadbare in my life?  What was that stirring from deep within, that feeling within my soul .. I was suddenly excited about life and about what I would discover on my inner journey.  I began to really look at what was going on for me.

Through the act of observation, I was able to see how I had reacted to my environment.  I began to see how much of what I said and did was motivated by fear.  I realised that I had been my own worst enemy.  I was the one who had decided that I wasn’t good enough.  I had decided not to trust myself; no-one had made that decision for me. I was the one making me feel powerless.

I began to see how I had contributed to the chaos around me.  I began to accept responsibility for the choices I had made.  I chose to judge myself based on other people’s beliefs.  I chose to seek an authority outside of myself – buying into other people’s judgments and fears, rather than listening within.

Through my own fear, I was the one rejecting me.  I began to see how my thoughts had created my feelings of worthlessness and desperation.  My beliefs had kept me feeling isolated and alone, separate from others. In truth, my life was merely reflecting my beliefs – the external world was mirroring my internal turmoil.

Through the act of observation, the truth began to reveal itself to me.  I could see what was going on without judgment or blame.

I began to feel empathy for those who had been a catalyst for me, as I saw that we had all been playing out our personal fears.  We had all contributed to the chaos by following our fears, and not our hearts.  I realised that I was something more than just my feelings and fear.

I began to see how my mother and father were reacting from beliefs instilled in them as children that they had never stopped to question.  And in turn, my siblings and I had been reacting from those same beliefs.

Observing allowed me to emotionally detach from the situation.  Through taking a step back and looking without attachment, the truth was revealed.

I became more aware of what was going on for me.  By observing my thoughts and feelings, I could see how my emotions had significantly contributed to how I felt about myself and that when I had a strong emotional reaction, there was an underlying belief or fear being triggered.

I began to look at the way I responded to people and situations and the emotions that were evoked.  What belief was being triggered? And did this belief serve me.  Was it my truth?

Through awareness I could see through the veil of illusion.  The chaos I had created around myself was an attempt to protect myself and keep me safe.  I was constantly defending myself, but from what?  Had I not already realised that I was the one that was constantly hurting me?

So slowly but surely I learned the art of self acceptance.  I began to value who I was and started listening again within.  I learned to use my knowing as a compass in life, instead of searching for some external guide.

I also learned that suppressed emotions needed to be expressed.

Through awareness, I learned to accept my experiences and emotions, knowing that they did not define who I was.  I began to differentiate between my inner knowing and my fear responses.  I began to realise that in each and every moment I had a choice – I could either act from love, or react from fear.

The most valuable tools on my journey of self knowledge were the art of listening and observation.  They still are.

I began to really listen.  Listening within, as well as listening to others.  And something changed.  When I really listened, I found that I wasn’t hearing what people were telling me, I was seeing something deeper – the hidden aspects of a person or the feelings they were trying to hide.  The truth was being revealed.  Through acceptance and non-judgment, I was able to see.

This was such a powerful learning for me.  I learned to discern when I was being judgmental and when I was just observing someone dealing with an issue or an emotion.  I gained an awareness of others and myself that I had not known.

I stopped blaming.  I stopped blaming others for how they were reacting, and I stopped blaming myself for the choices I had made.  In essence, I started to really accept me, and learned to treat myself with kindness and compassion.

I started listening to my heart. What was my true desire? What was my soul yearning for?

I know I was yearning for love – to be loved and to love, but I now realised that I didn’t need someone else for that.  That I could learn to love me, and through loving and accepting me, I automatically loved and accepted others.

My desire was to heal – to learn to accept me in each and every moment.  I didn’t have to change the world.  I did not have to search outside of myself for an external source.  I could express myself and feel my emotions, and in doing so, I was living my truth.

All the tools I needed, I already had – they were always there, inside me, waiting to be utilised. I have found my joy again! That joy that made me rejoice as a young child at the wonder and awe of this incredible universe. To live in freedom and love and not be bound by limiting beliefs or society’s conditioning – is truly a liberating experience! Completely life-changing. I feel truly blessed.