One of the tools we use as Martha Beck-trained life coaches is what we call the Metaphor Tool. It is based on the premise that we can get more information about something that is happening internally by looking at something that is happening externally. This idea also runs through shamanism. We create ceremony/ritual on the outside using concrete objects found in nature (visible), so that we can have a clearer view of what's happening on the inside (invisible).
I was pondering this during my morning practice, and I realized that this website is a perfect example or metaphor for what is happening in my life. My old website (aka my old life/identity at www.marenhasse.com) is not fully dissolved - in fact it is stubbornly evading deconstruction, while my new website, this site, is not fully formed. And that is ok. I am not fully formed yet. I am still emerging.
I have chosen to publish this site in its unfinished state. Why? Because I am not sure what "finished" looks like. I have been on this inner journey for so long that I am starting to see that there isn't an "end". There is no "fully formed". There is only expansion/contraction, re-births/deaths, periods of change and stagnation and on and on the spiral goes...
In FIERCE Integrity, I talk about the "perfection of imperfection". Seeing ourselves as totally perfect, even though we are far from what we might consider our "ideal selves". What this is really about is compassion. Having compassion for all of the ways in which we aren't where we think we should be.
In the past, I have had a relatively easy time of feeling genuine compassion for other people, however when it comes to offering that same level of compassion to myself, I haven't been able to do so. This is changing. This change has been almost imperceptibly (and unbearably) slow, but it is happening.
I acknowledge that I am not perfect. I can be selfish, entitled, ungrateful, lazy, and inconsiderate. I can (and have) spent a lot of time agonizing over these traits… pouring over my past (and current) transgressions and mercilessly punishing myself for them, over and over again. But that doesn't help. Actually, the only thing it does do is beat me down deeper and deeper into a state of depression and self-loathing.
What I have realized too, is that in order to truly free myself from the darkness, the reprieve that I am seeking has to come from within. In the past I have spent a lot of time looking for external feedback and validation. Funnily enough, I have received a lot more positive feedback than negative, and yet it is those negative comments that I hang onto, that I read over and over again, until I am practically wearing them like a crown of thorns. "See? See?", my inner critic delights, "You really do suck!"
My point is:
In order to create a true and lasting shift out of the darkness, compassion needs to be an inside job.
Be kind. Be gentle. Be compassionate.
Nahanni, Dancing Coyote Woman