An exert from Stephanie Clark’s book, “Inspirations”.
Exercise 6: Acceptance A Lone Path
A human life is one of connections. These connections come from relationships and experiences. Many crucial interactions happen early on in life, such as the relationship that a child has with his parents or caretakers. A child learns about the world and his place in it from his parent’s actions and words.
A vital parenting role is to make children feel that they are loved, valued, and safe. However, many parents are not able to provide this love and nurturing to their children for whatever reason. Parents may be unable to love themselves and have limited love to offer anyone else, and thus, this lack is passed along to their child. This results in a child growing up and feeling incomplete, deficient, or unsafe, and living from a fear-based perspective. Going through life this way is difficult. This child grows to be an adult who learns to use coping skills to deal with the lack of love. Sometimes this involves self-medicating with drugs or alcohol to numb the feeling of being unlovable. Others may become perfectionists to protect themselves against future rejection by trying to never behave in a way that would be seen as undesirable. Perhaps a person may put up a barrier between himself and the world, to keep people at a distance, as the child in him still remembers the feeling of being rejected and unloved, and strives to keep all possible rejections at a distance. These patterns and defense mechanisms can go on indefinitely, demand much energy, and steal much joy out of life.
Know that there is another way to approach life, even if you are someone who came from a challenging background. Yet, having a different mindset requires that you examine a few truths. The events in your past cannot be changed. There is nothing that can be done now that will erase the painful memories from your past. Know that you are no longer a helpless child. You are now a capable adult and have the luxury of being in charge of your own future. You are not dependent on others to meet your emotional needs. You are able to open up your perspective to new possibilities.
It is helpful to think of your life as a path that began when you were born and will physically end when you die. If you had parents that did not meet your needs, you might harbor resentment towards them, that they did not fulfill their duty. That they selfishly walked ahead of you on your path, not looking back, while your little legs hurried to catch them. Your eager hands were hungry for their touch or comfort, and you may believe that your parents withheld it from you purposefully, leaving you grasping. This is a perception that invokes loneliness and may have given you the impression that you were somehow left behind on the highway of life.
However, consider the following alternative. Your parents have never left you behind, as they have never set foot on your path. You walk on a solo path from the time you enter this earth. You are currently on a lone path, not a main walkway that everyone travels on. Your feet are the only ones that have ever tread on your particular avenue. Your parents and other people all walk a solo trail also. As a child, your path started out parallel to others. This is because a human child cannot live alone for many years, needing nourishment and protection. Yet, as time went on, your path and your parents’ path started to drift apart, the distance in between the trails widening. As a child, you may have seen this as being abandoned and forgotten. Yet, it is the natural course of life for all paths to take twists and turns in a totally unique way. Accepting this truth does not excuse or condone any past hurts that happened to you. Just because you are on a lone path does not invalidate or lessen any of the traumas or difficulties that you endured in the past. However, it does allow you to see that this past hurt does not have to live on your path anymore unless you choose to continue to allow it to. You are free now, there is no one forcing you to believe or to do anything further. Your path is completely your own, no one else’s.
Remember that you cannot change how your parents chose to raise you. Their actions, their own path, directed yours for the majority of your childhood. Then you were left to direct your own path, only knowing the directions that you had come to follow, operating on a set of principles that you were taught. Looking back with bitterness in your heart for your parents misses the point. They were fulfilling their role in your lifetime to allow you to come to this juncture. They provided you the early experiences (both good and bad) that have made you the person you are now. You are exactly the person now that you need to be. You are able to see your life differently moving forward if you choose to. You can see your path ahead and you are in total control of it. Believe that your path is special and unique. Believe that your path matters. There are likely other paths closely linked to yours, but none that is going exactly where yours will end up. Paths are both separate and intertwined, infinite and personal, a massive network of existence.
To accept that you are alone on your path may initially seem isolating. But, remember that it is an illusion that you are ever “alone.” Inside of your physical body lies an inner spirit that is connected to all life. A piece of Spirit, which is the universal life source, lives inside of you. This unites you to every other living thing. Spirit is not only holding your hand along the path, Spirit is the path. It is every stone along the way. It is in every space around you. Spirit loved you when you chose to start this journey. Spirit was there when you were scared, rejected, and alone, helping to keep your foot on your path, providing you a basis to move forward. Realizing that you walk your own path is the ultimate creative freedom. You literally have the power to take your pathway anywhere. Love yourself enough to quit looking back. It is hard to see the possible future opportunities with your focus to the rear. Allow yourself to move forward now, and see your path clearly for what it truly is, a gift from Spirit.
1. When you imagine that you are on a lone path, what emotions does this bring up for you? Are there certain people that you are holding responsible for your current position in life? How would your outlook for the future change if you believed that you were in sole control of your destiny?
2. For today, sit in a quiet, meditative state for 10-15 minutes. You may want to set a timer to go off at the allotted time, or you may choose to just do the meditation experience until it feels right for you to stop. To start, sit in a comfortable position and try to limit interruptions. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Focus on your breathing, inhaling and exhaling. Next, visualize yourself standing on a lone path that was made just for you. Look around and take in the details of your surroundings. Remember that you are safe and loved on your path, as your path is from Spirit. Continue to breathe in and out and sit with the fact that you are only responsible for yourself on this path. Allow whatever feelings or thoughts this triggers to come forward. If it is an emotional response, let the response happen. During your meditation experience, if you find yourself getting distracted, focus back on your breathing until you feel centered again, and then continue with your exercise. Journal afterward about any emotions or resistance that came up for you during this experience.
Daily Mantra: “My path is solely my own and full of potential.”
About the Author: Stephanie Clark is a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner living in Idaho. She is passionate about helping others live an empowered existence and has worked in the mental health field for ten years. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and exploring the beauty that life has to offer.
Life can be a long and complicated journey. Every life is different with distinct challenges. Yet, even with the uniqueness of each individual, there are common issues that emerge which impact our lives.
In Inspirations 21 Daily Reflections for Rediscovering Your Authentic Self, Stephanie Clark, a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, shares 21 uplifting stories and exercises on releasing doubt, overcoming limiting self-perceptions, and living from a place of authenticity and fulfillment. The messages provided are both simple and profound, specific and expansive. They encourage us to reject fear, embrace love and trust our own inner guidance.
The stories and reflections are messages of hope, reminding each of us that we are worthy of love and deserve an abundant existence. You can purchase the book here.
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