For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling with more angst, worry and sadness than usual. I rarely go to menopause as the reason for these shifts in my emotional state. Though hormones can cause emotional shifts, rarely am I affected that way. And my experience is that when I stay intentional about being with myself and my emotions “ just like a mom with her child who isn’t feeling well, the source of the emotions becomes clear.
A few nights ago I had a series of dreams that were very deep and profound. Usually I don’t remember my dreams, so I took it seriously that something was being shared, and I better pay attention.
In the first dream, I was a musician on the back alleys of Las Vegas. I’d hit rock bottom, been cast out and now was on the shady side of all the neon lights of the Strip.
In the second dream, I was a homeless woman in Central Park, New York. I was sitting on my sleeping bag in a tent. A lovely man came by to check in on me. He brought me an apple and some water. He wanted me to consider leaving my tent and begin making it back to a better life. As I considered what he was suggesting, my mind swirled around a life time of challenges, heartbreak, loneliness and disappointment. Though part of me wanted to follow this man, there was another part of me who couldn’t meet or express a sense of worthiness that seemed essential to return to the life he was suggesting I return to. I wasn’t ready to leave the comfort of the nest I’d build for myself.
A third dream followed with the same sense of living in squalor, yet somehow feeling that this was good enough for me. I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t depressed. I didn’t feel like a victim. I felt that I was where I belonged.
The next morning, after a night of intense dreaming, I sat with my cup of jasmine tea and thoughtfully approached the content of these dreams. More than the content, I was more intrigued with the quality of being each individual lived with. None of them were unhappy, though neither were they happy. They lived within a sense of worthiness and to move out of this state of being would cause too much angst and exposure, to what “ I don’t know.
An image of a young girl standing in front of her father came to me. Her words would be eliciting a warm embrace or a slap across the face. She had no idea which one she would receive. Her sense of worthiness was in the hands of her father. "Am I the father who passes out slaps or embraces to myself, based on my own responses?" I asked myself. "Good Girl!" "Bad Girl," just for being me. And the question came: "Am I worthy of my own expression?"
My dreams began to make sense. Each individual in my dream had experienced enough negative judgments, that their sense of self-worth was essentially zero. Their level of self-expression matched their sense of worth and the environment within which they existed. These dreams reflected back to me what millions of people live within “ a life that meets their sense of worth. No one knows, because we aren’t allowed to know, that we are far more worthy than how we are treated by others “ and here’s the important piece “ how we are treated by ourselves.
Am I worthy of my own expression seemed like a crazy kind of question to ask, and yet I got that, only I can assess my worthiness. Only I can decide what is mine to express.
My home on Orcas Island is a small travel trailer on a beautiful 10 acre piece of property. I am definitely worthy of this expression of myself. The question is: am I worthy of my own expression of myself in a beautiful house with a real kitchen and bathroom and space for real furniture? Am I worthy of the work that I know is mine to do? Am I worthy of my own expression of prosperity, comfort and generosity? Am I worthy of my own expression as healthy, strong, agile, energetic and active? Am I worthy of my own expression as playful, passionate, creative? Am I worthy of my own expression as peace, love, presence, truth and dignity? These are huge questions that only I can answer. No one else can decide for me.
I have three masters degrees and a PhD.; I’ve been a life coach for 15 years; I’ve written 8 books, and I’ve directed the Transformational Coaching Training Program for 15 years. These are just a few of my achievements, and yet each has been an arduous task, because I’m always assessing my worthiness of taking each on as an expression of my own self. Am I worthy of this expression of myself? On and on, and on and on I go, assessing my own worthiness to have, to do and to be.
I had the plans and the permit for our house on Orcas. It always seems that the issue is about money, that there just isn’t enough of it to build a house. I’m now seeing that it’s about the quality of being that will allow the house to be built. By holding on to the belief that I am somehow unworthy of this expression of myself I will not attract whatever it takes to bring the house into form. Only by allowing myself to be worthy of this expression of myself will I allow the house to be built and then to actually live in the house “ knowing that I am worthy of that too.
This worthiness business is deep, deep, deep, deep, deep! For each of us to really allow the conversation to live within us would mean a shift in how we be in our own skin, as well as how we be with our families, our communities and our work environments.
Are our children worthy of their own self expression? How about our communities? How do we each decide who is worthy of their own expression and who is not? What happens when we begin to ask these questions? I wonder what is possible.