Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Power of Image in Knowing the Self

Last year my adrenals crashed - panic attacks, hypoglycemia, heart palpitations, and extreme
sensitivity to dairy and gluten. I've been getting care from my doctor, chiropractor, and acupuncturist, all of which has really helped. I've been clear, though, that underlying the physical aspects of this healing has been spiritual rebirth. That work I have had to do myself.

When I was really sick, phases of my life would come up in dreams, images, and synchronicities. They began with my youngest days and moved forward in time. This wasn't something I consciously called in; it just happened. I cleared emotional stuckness from each of these periods by feeling old emotions, crying, and letting go. I did a lot of forgiving things I hadn't realized I was even holding onto. Carolyn Myss talks about the power of forgiveness in healing in her book Defy Gravity. I recommend it to anyone dealing with healing. I also gained insights into these periods of time from my perch in the present. Reframing also helps me release and evolve.

Then recently, after being carried into the present in this life review, two images came to me. One is a photo of myself at age two or so. It's black and white, and it's a close up of my face. I had it on my mirror when I was in high school. I love it because it is a picture of Me. You can see my soul in my eyes. They are centered, relaxed, and wise. When I feel disconnected from myself, I recall this image (I don't have a copy of the picture but remember it clearly). I instantly settle into my body and my soul. I re-inhabit myself, no longer pulled in the directions my ego thinks I should be to make everyone else happy. Which is purely illusion, based on old fears. I am ready to let these illusions go. I need this image to help me do so.

The second image actually came from reading a young adult novel called Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee. In this book a girl stays for a month with her veterinarian uncle on an island in Puget Sound. When I was nine, that's what I wanted to be, a vet on an island in Puget Sound. I enjoyed the book, but also what came out of it had more to do with my soul journey. The image that arose was me as a young girl peering into tide pools. Not a memory, but more a sense of my soul, sort of the me that might have been. The me that is inside, unbound by the limitations of real life. Don't get me wrong - my childhood was actually spent peering in tide pools. And it really wasn't horrid. But we all have limitations from the outside, and from the ways our egos interpret these limitations. As we grow older, part of healing and becoming whole is to see who we really are underneath the surface, and work to live that authenticity. That image of soul-child-me playing at the beach, my hair whipping around my face, barefoot, smiling and unrestricted - that is part of my authenticity. My Real Self.

Holding both of these images in my heart helps bring me back to myself. What images have come to you in dreams, while reading, or in old photographs of yourself that remind you of your connection to Spirit, Earth, and Authentic Self? Or perhaps for you it is a song, a phrase, or even a movement? What path returns you to You?

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I recently framed a small painting I did many years ago. It's of a pretty, homely little ficus tree that Ryan and I had when we were first married. We had rescued it from my father-in-law's garage where it somehow managed to live mostly in darkness and very neglected for at least a year. She (yes, "she," we named her Sylvia)never fully recovered and was always a very naked, very little ficus tree. But I thought she was beautiful. And one day I decided to paint her. It was one of those luxrious afternoons in my early 20s where I had nothing to do and busted out some water paints. I have always been tentative of my self as an artist, but I have always loved to paint with watercolors. I did this painting of Sylvia on the back of the cover of a pad of watercolor paper because I was afraid to commit to real paper. But I loved the painting. So I've saved it all these years because something about it spoke to me. I just framed it this week and put it in my living room.

I think it speaks to me because it reminds me that I am the kind of person that sees the beauty in unlovely things. And it takes me back to a time when I was young and free and hopeful. And I like the girl who spent an afternoon painting an ugly plant. At the same time, it reminds me not to sell myself short, that I can create beauty as well as appreciate it.