Photography and Text by Jules Hovee Steffen
One of my favorite experiences is to listen to – or read – Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. One particular excerpt (of many)
from Eckart’s writing, lingers with me, ruminating within - One thing we do know: Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment. (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, pg. 41) As difficult as these words may be to absorb given our specific woundings that seem to transcend time – and the painful events and experiences that may occur for us during our life, the wounds we carry and bear within our bodies may be the cracked open gateway to our healing, a poignant truth for those of us who walk this earthen path.
We may negate or avoid our feelings that are so deeply aligned with our painful experiences, whether it be anger, sadness or fear (our core feelings). We may find countless ways to unknowingly escape our feelings about what pains us, grabbing for an experience that may somehow remove us for a moment from the realm of our pain. These attempts to reach beyond and rescue ourselves from our pain by denying our feelings that may be stirring inside, may be likened to a balloon full of air that pops and falls to the Earth given the many holes of illusive thinking that deflate it. For some, entering into the realm of a certain behavior may begin the downward slide into addiction, whether it be it to overeat, restrict food intake, drink alcohol, use the internet, TV, drugs, gamble, shop, exercise, sex, pornography, sleep, party, vomit up our feelings, cut on ourselves, engage in self-destructive or risk-taking behaviors, gossip, fight, etc. – essentially numbing out to life in all sorts of unfathomable ways, etc. – and unconsciously project our regressive wounding material onto other people rather than take responsibility for our life by naming the core sources of our wounding and finding safe ways to have our feelings about what happened to us.
We may be tempted to circumvent what could be our healing by living sideways in such a way that diverts our emotional material into various directions that have nothing to do with our early wounding, inaccurately transferring it sideways on to something or someone else. Cringing at that word addiction, we may defend and rationalize it away in our effort to keep this word at bay, and yet, we may return to the same behaviors time and time again in our feeble effort to keep our feelings from surfacing, only driving them deeper into our bodies where they may have their powerful way and may subsequently unleash some level of dis-ease within. Unfortunately, we may believe these numbing behaviors are our ticket to some good end, and yet, it’s all an illusion. Our feelings are strong warriors within us that will not be ignored, unrelenting as they surface within us – to drive us deeper into the spaces within us where our truth resides. What we may not realize is that it’s not about blame when we begin to name what happened to us. It’s claiming our truth. Our bodies respond accordingly to the truth, breathing healing to those spaces of imprisonment within us. Our light returns as we release what we’ve held down – and fill up with what resources us.
It’s about taking responsibility for our life and for our healing – and acknowledging that whatever experience is happening for us, is the one that may move us toward consciousness and an awakened state of presence if we are ready to be opened in this way. The morning dawn breaks open and the Middle Ground: Where Sages Dwell – is unveiled. When we move into the darkened spaces of our pain, healing light may be revealed such that our path may be known more deeply and clearly. As with these overflowing wisteria, what may seemingly be a veiled experience, may be the impetus for an unveiling of sorts as we open up to the spaces of grace, healing, presence and conscious living. Practicing optimal self-care, finding spaces of safety to resource us, and having individuals in our life who gently guide us on our healing journey are essential components for manuevering these painful spaces and finding our way through to the light. What may have covered us for so long may eventually be uncovered such that the light of our day may be experienced, where we can be fully present in life and be free from our imprisonment.