In a matter of days, I will be off to Colorado for a week long retreat that will test me to the core. A retreat that I am looking forward to–completely. I find myself growing excited (not anxious) as I leave for a much anticipated vacation to an exotic place. This exotic place though is not France or Scotland or Tahiti; I am going as far as a retreat center in wild Colorado to commune with 50 other people and take stock of and acknowledge all of my deep Self.
Taking time to go inside ourselves is not on the top of most people’s to do list. 8% of U.S. adults (18 million) use meditation but what I am going to be doing is not hours of silent seated meditations; rather it will be an active and dynamic seven days of self-exploration, process, support, and celebration of the insights. What kind of person calls this kind of experience fun and looks forward to it?
I’d like to think it is the healthy state of my Sense of Self that fuels my enthusiasm for doing inner work both daily as well as a week at a time. My stamina for activities that stir up what upsets my ego and the moments in my early childhood–that inform who I am at 50 years young–has been steadily growing for the past 12 years. I genuinely look forward to long weekend workshops with names like the Tao of Flow, Awakening to Love, 8 Steps to Peace of Mind and Finding the Work
You Love, Finding the Life You Love. I’ve spent 25 years of my life seeking to really know why I am who I am, why I do what I do, and what my life script does to support or hinder me. I wonder how many 20somethings, millennials, truly know themselves? The world of my 20s seems so much milder than today’s and work after college was certainly easier to find. I feel for the smart and underemployed millennials who aspire to start “real life” post college. Tip: It was always “real life” at every age and stage guys.
Over four years ago when I joined Antoinetta Vogels, founder of HealthySenseofSelf, it was an easy choice to say yes to because what I was already doing aligned with her vision. The Vision of HySos is that more people are comfortable in their own skin, love the life they choose for themselves, and also allow others in their family and community to be the star and director of their own life; and regardless of how they remember feeling reared as children. Mom, I love you but my goodness you were self-absorbed, but as a young girl, I didn’t understand how tough it was for you. I knew that I needed you and you weren’t there.
Speaking for myself, adopted at birth and told that I was at age 7 years old, I see why I grew up lacking the self-confidence and self-esteem that I see in my own teenage daughter. I remember the question of “why was I not wanted by my mom?” being pervasive in my growing up years and high school especially. My daughter is years ahead in her emotional intelligence at 16. She is charting her own course with active support from her mom and dad that is dependent on one major factor: what she wants for herself. We either stay out of her way or offer her what she needs to achieve her goals; be it a little equipment, a ride, or a mood booster, pep talk, or a reality check.
My adoptive mother loved me and did the best she could, but she wasn’t present for my angst and coming of age. I am grateful that I did my own inner work before becoming a parent myself because I see that I had all the potential to repeat history–but so far I have not.:)
Wouldn’t it be GREAT if we all could say our parents wanted us to choose our own path and they not only helped us do so, but they were aware of when they were imposing their own childhood experiences on us?
The good news is that whatever your age, there are ways to reclaim all the potential of your natural self that was born when you were born–even if it didn’t get a chance to grow organically. Begin with reclaiming self-confidence for your self and become your own best advocate. It’s work to do, but work worth doing.
Accept this gift and I promise you an update on how my retreat serves to fortify my healthy Sense of Self even further.
Deborah Deva Pyasi Drake, Managing Editor for HySoS and big fan of our online course.