In the process of living, abandonment showed up. I was in my thirties when I realized that I had been left behind. This expression of abandonment had gone undetected, although it was always there, just under the surface, I didn’t recognize it. No one had died, or walked away, mistreated me or called me names…I wasn’t a school girl who was ghosted or a teen with a left to nurse a broken heart. Over the course of my life I had experienced seismic losses, where people I loved died tragically in unexpected ways. It was sharp and startling—the loss of them. These were events that happened outside of my control. Abandonment was triggered by someone else, or by life circumstances, but this one was not that. This type of abandonment was self-inflicted.
I was living the dream. Married with a house full of kids and fur babies, life was a spectacular display of finger paint and the lingering smell of breast milk. I was spinning plates like it was my religion, running as fast as I could to keep up with it all, until I’d hit the inevitable wall of exhaustion. Busy was my badge of courage, which I wore proudly. Doing it all and having it all was the scene I subscribed to. Other mom’s made it look easy-breezy. Hey, maybe I did too. But, the price was high. In small, seemly unimportant ways I lost my way. I abandoned myself, taking on too much for too long. And to be clear, most of it, I loved. Kid arts and crafts, two-year old pancake breath and bouts of uncontrollable belly laughter around the kitchen table. It was a culmination of the other have-to’s, some imagined and others expected. I had given my power away and forgot the essence of who I was.
I took on projects sometimes because I loved them, but often, not consciously, I took on more responsibilities as a way to escape. A beautiful distraction from being still, from being quiet, from feeling left behind. The emotional traumas from the past, the losses I experienced, remained underneath etched scar tissue. At the time, the pain was too overwhelming, so I ran. My pain found other deep-rooted hurts that lingered in the dark recesses of the heart. If I was busy, than I wouldn’t have to feel. If I was busy, I had worth. If I was busy, I had something to hold on to. I filled myself with “stuff,” in many ways and in many forms, but in the end I lost my footing. I was looking outside of myself for love and acceptance. I had not realized yet, that my opinion was the only one that mattered.
As I took in the creative ways I had abandoned myself, the cloaks of deceit I crafted to hide the truth of my pain, shame came to visit. Ego was there holding court, ruminating in my poor choices. Within the insidious cycle of shame, I knew the only way out was through it. To dig in the past to understand. Little by slow, I did the work. I healed old wounds, sat with myself and allowed feeling to flow freely through me. In the process, I identified bold and subtle ways I abandoned myself, which have become signposts as I continue to move and heal.
Below, I have listed some of the ways I have abandoned myself, and sometime still do…
- Not showing up
- Not committing to self
- Doing something over&over&over again expecting different results
- Ignoring my intuition
- Believing illusion
- Believing lies—mine and others
- Not setting boundaries with self and others
- Lack of self-care: Spiritual, Emotional, Physical
- Devaluing my needs
- Giving away my power
- Asking someone to “fix me”
- Believing someone can “fix me”
- Forgetting I am worthy, just as I am
- Forgetting who I am
- Being too busy—over doing, over scheduling
- Loss of energy when I am focused on other people, places and things
- When ego is my driving force
- When I don’t use my voice
- When I don’t honor my gifts
- When I lack gratitude for all that is, including me
- When I blame others
- When resentment takes space in my heart
- When I become bound by fear
- Lack of reverence, love and compassion
- When I don’t forgive, myself and others
- When I lack empathy
- Internal anger, judgement or negative narratives
When something is revealed to me, I remind myself that I am human, understanding practice, not perfection is what I subscribe to. I choose to observe my actions or non-actions with care and compassion. There is no room for shame. No need to regret or feel bad. I have the ability to adjust my actions, thoughts and intentions at any time. By inviting love, forgiveness overflows, and finds its way into the cracks and creases deep within my soul.