Healing My Past: From Guarded To Open

Aug 05, 2023

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In this week's dose, I share about how I learned the power of patience & self-love.
Last weekend I spent 4 days off-the-grid in upstate NY. 
My goal was to build a deeper connection with myself and heal the part of me that is still callused & closed off. 
I've done a TON of inner work in the last 3 years. 
Consisting of meditation, writing, reading, introspection, and the occasional self-guided psilocybin therapy session. 
I feel like a totally different person, yet at the same time, I feel like I'm finally the real me. 
I've worked to become more present & calm with immense clarity on my purpose & mission in life. 
I was a high-motor, highly-disciplined high achiever but I used humor and cynicism as a defense mechanism. 
And after my last major breakup, I've never really let anyone in to get close to me. 
I was highly guarded and never allowed myself to show true emotion. 
Always hiding behind an image of masculinity I thought I needed to portray. 
I learned the hard way that living that way was incredibly challenging and unloving to ME. 
I did my best to bury all the feelings & emotions I thought were "bad" in the name of being strong. 
I tried to build a shield so impenetrable that nothing could affect me. 
But all that did was prevent me from feeling & expressing love. 
To others and to myself. 
The problem with a shield is it blocks EVERYTHING from getting in. 
We can't pick and choose what we want to block out or let in. 
When we numb one, we numb them all. 
Especially love. 
On the surface, I was impatient, unkind, and selfish at times...
And on the inside, I was hurting. 
Yet I didn't know how much it hurt me because I was an expert at distracting myself.
I used alcohol + weed to numb it by partying with friends. 
I used social media, TV, work, exercise, and food to distract myself when uncomfortable feelings came up. 
I remember laying in bed many times after a night of drinking and thinking to myself "I can't wait to not do this anymore."
So I started this journey to find out if there was more to life than what I had known. 
I focused on being more kind, patient, compassionate, and someone who did hard things in the face of fear. 
These were my first 4 core intentions
Every day, I meditated on those 4, I wrote about them, I tried to live them as truths, and I reflected on how well I was doing. 
And it's chipped away at my shield while allowing the real me to start shining through. 
It brought back my motivation and drive but with humility & love this time. 
It's shown me that fulfillment isn't filling my life with things, but instead living true to my core and serving others. 
To use my hardship as my own personal Yoda. 
It's given me a new perspective on life and taken me out of the matrix of modern living to see human existence from a new vantage point. 
And even with all that work & progress, I still have a part of me that is heavily guarded. 
As much as I write openly on LinkedIn and in this newsletter, I still find myself missing out on life. 
There's a part of me that feels 500x more guarded than Fort Knox. It fears that if people really knew me, they wouldn't accept me. 
It's terrified to let someone IN again due to the risk of getting hurt. 
It feels like it can't take another heartbreak. 
But what I'm learning is that hurt is subjective, it's just part of the ego. 
I've learned that the part of me that's hurting, IS the shield itself. 
Not what the shield thinks it's protecting...
The path to healing is to dissolve the shield and reveal what's been behind it the whole time.
Our spirit/soul/true self can't get hurt because all it knows is love. 
Intellectually, I understand this.
But it's been the fight of my life to get this part of me to put the shield down and stop the war within. 
My intention last week at the retreat was to break down the shield.
To chip away at it even if just a little. 
I had the most amazing teacher and what she did for me changed my life forever. 
I came into the weekend wanting everything to be resolved the first night. 
To beat down these limiting beliefs that have been holding me back for years. 
But that didn't happen. 
She held space for me as I went through frustrations trying to speed up the breakdown of the shield.
She heard me, she listened to me, she was patient with me, and she just showed me love.  
She taught me the power of patience and the power of unconditional love for myself. 
She reminded me that time is a construct of the human mind. 
The perception of time and wanting to GET somewhere only causes suffering. 
As someone who likes to achieve things quickly, I needed this reminder. 
My journey is mine alone to bear. 
I learned that the extra pressure I put on myself to heal quickly only puts more pressure on the part of me that just needs love & support. 
Sometimes I forget that a major part of life is our growth & evolution as humans. 
And sometimes the process feels painstakingly slow even though everything unfolds in the precise way and time it's meant to. 
So I thank my teacher for reminding me that it's OK to be frustrated and upset when growth doesn't happen as quickly as we would like. 
And that patience & self-love are always the answer to balance a hyper-critical, high-motor mind. 
I'm doubling down on my meditation practice by committing to 60 mins a day.
I'm also writing every morning, setting firm boundaries with work & social media time, and getting into nature every day. 
Getting back to the basics, being patient, and trusting that it will all be OK. 
It was an amazing reminder that life always gives us exactly what we need for this stage of our evolution. 
Tim 🖤

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