I love discovering things, almost anything. The process excites me; however, the results aren’t always exciting.
Sometimes, I learn things about nature or languages or music or science, but other times I discover things about myself, things that aren’t always so pleasant, things that require some work on myself, work that is ongoing. And such was the case this morning.
I should have known something was going on. I woke up about three or so, shivering uncontrollably. I had been experiencing that for awhile, but I couldn’t wake myself up to get out of bed. When I did, it wasn’t cold, but waves of chills continued to sweep over me for a minute or so. I was aware I was having a bad dream but cannot remember it. Just the violent, prolonged shivering. When I finally was fully awake, I had a migraine headache.
I haven’t had a migraine for several years; however, I lived all of my life from my earliest memories until about six years ago with multiple headaches a week. Immediately, my mind was churning.
What did I discover? Long story short — it goes back to my childhood — I discovered a shadow self who has been very well hidden all these years. How did this little compartment of me escape detection for so long? In one of the most common ways: it masqueraded as love.
The umbrella of love can shelter a lot of unhealthy emotions. What?! Yes, when it is mislabeled love, when it’s not honest love. A great example is how my shadowy little guy worked. I believe he developed as a response to my parents’ alcoholism and the effects that had on us as a family. My little boy self assumed guilt and responsibility in some small ways, I would guess, at first, but then as I got older and realized more of what was going on, I regretted not doing something to help. I thought if I stayed home from school I could help prevent the drinking and fighting I witnessed in my younger years. Mom and Dad didn’t fight later on; they were just resigned to living in our four room apartment and drinking there.
I know I faked being sick many times, but I did it well enough that I actually had physical symptoms, the most convincing, real, and painful one — migraines. (Of course, I faked having a sore throat and actually creating that psychosomatically so many times that the doctor removed my tonsils when I was in the sixth grade. Boy, did I milk that one, and it kept me home.)
I have partly excavated this shadow self in the past, but I never came to a full face to face, as it were, until this nasty migraine hit me this morning. Interestingly, it came after a chance encounter with an old friend that stirred up the same sort of emotional scenario from my youth. In fact, I met him when I was only eighteen years old, so my shadow self was already well-versed in equating love with guilt and regret resulting in migraines. That memory of my past and now believing things that I know disappoint my friend equaled a migraine.
I think it is all related to an equation of seeing the problems and suffering and disappointment, dissatisfaction of others who are close to us, and who, in Ego, project their misery onto us. I think my parents partly did that. I think my intensely caring but deeply evangelical friend did that. I don’t think anyone does that intentionally to those they love, but it happens when Ego is allowed to be the primary operating system.
Today, I stared into the mirror and spoke with my Heart. I spoke to myself, and I put all of the above together. It became clear. I embraced that part of myself that had functioned in guilt and regret since childhood. I told him — yes, I know it’s just a compartmentalized aspect of my psyche — that he didn’t need to respond with headaches anymore. The intense migraine pain melted away as I stood there. The aftereffects have remained, but not the debilitating actual pain.
This means I discovered part of me today. I share it with you because it may help you discover some truths about yourself. What I offer is no formula for anyone else, just some light.
This shadow self is with me, and I know it is a part of me that will need to be reminded and relearn from time to time, so this discovery has some longer term consequences. It is good, though, very good.
The fellowship with my Heart provides me with insights and love and light that are very real. I hope such a personal example serves to illustrate that to you, my friend. And I hope far more that you accept no masquerades of love — only the authentic article! Check with your Heart; Hearts know things!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!