Self development and its accompanying self-healing, self-liberation, and self-empowerment just never ends.
Three years ago I wrote a blog on the challenge of making requests. You can read it here.
It’s good. I nail some of the basics for making effective requests. I have always had a lot of difficulty in making requests and I explore the difficulties and resolve them for my benefit and my reader’s. Or so I thought.
Making requests is a significant and very complex gesture of selfhood. Each of us in our experience of self has a relationship to saying “I need and deserve help. All I need to do is ask.” I know this, but my reality around requests has always been painful, even traumatic.
I remained in trouble and troubled when I needed to ask for anything, particularly help.
All my programs and products support self-development. I teach and guide with the confidence of being well-prepared and authentic and with the vulnerability of a participant. I am always seeking self-development – I don’t teach from the mountain top, I’m on the path. too. And sometimes I am wowed by what I learn about myself as I guide and encourage others.
This summer I had a powerful breakthrough at the end of an Inner Life course, LIFTING THE VEILS: BIRTH TO AGE 7.
Now very few of us have clear memories of our first seven years. I don’t. The program is not about sharing memories and creating a storybook, it is about lifting the veils to see clearly the root shaping of the challenges and obstacles appearing in our lives today.
Let me take a moment to define a clear memory. A clear memory is not a video in the mind of what happened, nor is it a story about an event. It is an understanding of what happened to your soul through an event – seeing the inner soul-shaping consequence of the experience.
My “requesting” dilemma was a major inner consequence of something.
I also had memories of two events involving the same person.
The memories and the consequence came together as I was preparing for the course, the veils lifted and I found healing, liberation and empowerment and it all made sense, beautiful sense.
The last two sessions of Lifting the Veils the focus is on the key encounters of our first seven years. I direct the particpants away from their immediate families to the soul-shapers that are more distant: perhaps the pediatrician, the postman, the neighbor, a dog, the little boy in your nursery class or his mother. These are the minor players and brief encounters providing major and lasting consequences.
Here’s the story of Gladys who took away my voice.
Gladys was a neighbor. I don’t remember her face or her voice. I just remember two key events and how she responded to me.
I am about 4 years old.
My mother had invited Gladys for lunch. She rings the bell and I run to open the door. I look up at her and with delight I say “Oh Gladys, you look gorgeous!” She responds, “Little girls don’t use words like that!” My heart feels crushed.
Lasting Consequence: Throughout my life, I block myself from expressing enthusiastic and genuine compliments. I feel terror and lose my voice.
Memory # 2
I am about 5 years old
I am going to kindergarten at the local elementary school and I take the bus. One afternoon I am walking home from the bus and my little bladder is about to burst. I am passing Gladys’ home and bravely decide to ask her if I can use her bathroom. I ring the doorbell. Gladys opens the door and I make my request with my knees held tightly together.
Gladys stands there and gives me what felt like a long lecture on how I should go to the bathroom before I get on the bus. I was so upset by this harsh response that I peed right there down my legs and on her porch. I was scared and incredibly embarrassed.
Lasting Consequence: When I need to make a request, a request which exposes any kind of vulnerability, I don’t make it.
For sixty years I have felt stupid and silly in both circumstances. How ridiculous to go speechless when I want to compliment. How pathetic to not ask for help when I need it. It seems I have an inner Gladys.
But I realized as I applied the insights and worked the exercises for those last two session of the Lifting the Veils program that I had kept secret from myself my feelings of humiliation and confusion, particularly, around peeing in my pants. When the veils lifted from my feelings, I shook and cried, a 5 yr old in a woman’s body. I comforted myself and I understood.
Gladys was a key encounter. It was karmic. The karma has resolved and now when I have the echoes of feeling that I’d rather die in silence then speak and risk harsh correction and devastating shame, I know they are truly echoes and that I can put the feelings back to the past where they belong, and in the present speak in the freedom of self-knowledge.
I encourage you to participate in the upcoming Lifting the Veils Birth to Age Seven. Here is the link to the description of the course. Lifting the Veils
My Gladys Poems
Participants are encouraged to lift the veils creatively: to sketch, paint, write poems, use expressive movement. I share the poems I wrote about Gladys and the veils here.