I find that with age comes profound introspection. Some of the questions I seek answers to are: am I doing the best I know how to do? Am I doing/learning/becoming what I came here to accomplish? Am I the most loving person to myself and to others that I know how to be? How can I be a better person? Am I truly loved? Do I truly know how to love?
All questions I have searched for answers to for over 70 years. And certainly I have thought I knew the answers from time to time over those years. Today, life looks different than it ever has. Just as I find every day looks and feels different than each one before it. Thus I question my strength and my courage, even as I come out of a very dark period and celebrate how much courage and strength it took to stay in that period for at least 3 weeks, to face my demons, and to return feeling stronger and a better person. I feel lighter and more able to now move forward.
I took a break there for a bit and faced the demons of self-doubt. My-oh-my, did they do a number on me. Do you find over the years that you have periods of sliding down a very slippery slope into a dark and too silent hole filled with self-doubt and helplessness? Well, I have been there before. Went there just recently. And will probably go again sometime in the further. But each time as I peek out into the sun shine and begin to smile and breathe again, I feel a sense of success and new hope. I do grow, learn and heal every time I emerge from the darkness. I can then find joy, connection, peace and balance with more clarity than before.
Facing demons head on is the bravest thing any of us can ever do. I believe those demons are made up of very early and primary hurts and traumas we experience as children. child. In the present, we have to learn new lessons. It is also true that our demons come from much farther back then the childhood from this lifetime. I think we carry our demons with us when we are born for the purpose of facing them from another perspective. A perspective other than the one we used in a past life time. I think this is what the Buddhists call karma.
Some of my demons have to do with the imposter syndrome: who am I to believe I can accomplish professionally and intellectually? I come from simple people as Clo’s father would say. I come from a family with high value on education, but not educated themselves. I have a lot to grow away from and to grow beyond. Sometimes I get caught in feeling I still am that child of a mother who carried huge shame and low self-esteem. Sometimes I feel I am still the child of a father who was smart but shy and seldom put himself forward. He was a dreamer and while some of his dreams did come true, many did not. He was ahead of his times and very alone. I too often carry the burden of the loneliness of my parents shared. They worked together to pull themselves beyond their simple beginnings, but always remained isolated because of where they came from.
Their simple beginnings have become mine. And indeed I am growing further than they could have. At end of every day I ask myself if I have done the best I know to do. I am learning to be gentle and kind to myself. Remembering to love myself and remember how loved I am and remember to love others are 3 of the many joy filled parts of my everyday life.
This last bout with my demons has brought me to a place of gratitude for all I have and compassion for who I am. I am grateful for my precious parents whose love for me never faltered and whose belief in me was a gift. Their fear for me held me back but I am becoming able to see beyond my parents’ fear and the fears I have created for myself and the wide expanse of beautiful things on the other side. Living in the world of demons is always difficult and always ends. Asking questions is an important part of growth in life and an important way that we know how alive we are and how willing we are to move forward. Ask yourself all the difficult questions you can think of and do not be afraid of the answers. Every time we go into the darkness we are bound to come back. And we are most likely to come back better informed about ourselves. Talk with each other about your tough life journeys. Feeling seen and understood by your partner is a huge part of feeling safe in this world and equally a huge part of being able to move on beyond who you knew yourself to be as a child growing up in your family home and into the person you always wanted to be.