They say that in the moments before death, your life flashes before your eyes. It has also been widely reported that after death, your soul spends a significant amount of time in life review. Looking back over your life, your relationships and decisions, seeing what you did well and what you could have done better. This also happens during the spiritual awakening process, while still alive. Many times I’ve had the sense of reviewing my life so far; usually this is apparent when I have dreams featuring LOTS of people from my past. At those times I know I am having a period of review and reflection, laying the past to rest so that I can move forward.
Right now I find myself doing a kind of review that I wasn’t expecting. I am doing a life review, not of my pre-awakened life - which I have been processing and healing for years now - but my spiritual journey itself. I am reviewing the way I’ve navigated this journey as an awakened being on Earth. And the moment I realized that this is what I was doing, I burst into tears.
It took me a while to move through the emotion to understand what it was about. At first I thought it was an acknowledgement of what a big journey I’ve been on. Because it has been HUGE - much bigger than what I was expecting. But no… in fact after a minute I could feel that upset part of me saying “I’m sorry. I messed up, I’m so sorry.”
Again it took me a while to delve into exactly how I felt I’d messed up. And what I opened up was a pit of fear that has plagued me throughout this whole journey. I feel it arise every time I connect with spirit, whether through journalling or a card reading or an external person, there has always been some part of me tensed up, waiting to hear that I am not doing enough, not pushing myself enough, I’m letting fear get the better of me and I’m letting myself, my higher self and my team down. I have felt this again and again and again… this fear has always been there, niggling away at the back of my mind and churning up my stomach just a little bit.
The reason? Because I have said ‘No’ to things so many times, because of fear. And I have judged myself so harshly for it.
Most of these times have been about socializing. I have been plagued by social anxiety my whole life and spent 25+ years burning myself out by pushing through it. But although it felt awful, on some level I STILL THOUGHT THAT THAT’S WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING. I still thought I was one big fat failure every time I decided to stay in and ‘hide myself away’ instead of ‘getting out there’ and facing my fear of social interaction.
I have carried this for so many years, and the reason I’m writing this post was because this morning I finally got through to the truth of the matter, and I wish someone had told me this years ago:
IF IT SCARES YOU AND EXCITES YOU AT THE SAME TIME, THAT IS 100% YOUR PATH.
IF IT JUST SCARES YOU BUT YOU THINK YOU ‘SHOULD’, THEN IT’S 100% NOT YOUR PATH.
Such a simple and basic distinction, but SO IMPORTANT. All those times I said ‘No’, there was NO excitement or inspiration for me. Instead I was feeling urged to say ‘Yes’ from a place of pressure, judgment, old programming and feelings of unworthiness and failure. And yet, until today, on some level I had still convinced myself that it was my higher self urging me to ‘go for it’ and I let myself down by saying ‘No’.
When I look back on my whole life and my spiritual journey, I can see that EVERY SINGLE TIME I felt terrified AND inspired to do something, I DID IT. I fucking did it. Every time. With shaking hands and a pounding heart and a racing mind, I did it. These are the times when I felt propelled outside of my comfort zone by EXCITEMENT, passion, inspiration, and big dreams of a new path, new doors opening up. It was always exciting, and I always had every resource within me to navigate the fears and challenges along the way. These are the times that lead me on the greatest adventures and connected me to the greatest people, including my husband and the sisterhood I’m now so blessed to be part of. This is the fear and excitement I get whenever I post a new blog, speak my truth, bare my soul or create in some new way. THAT is coming from my higher self.
The times when I have said ‘No’… it has been a completely different feeling. I have written many times about wishing to be an extrovert, in fact believing that I WAS an extrovert who just had to get over her shyness… and so my pressure to say YES was coming from that place, of wanting to be someone other than who I was, of believing that the real me wasn’t good enough. Other times when I have said ‘No’ to different fears and opportunities, the pressure to say ‘Yes’ has come from this society programmed belief that I am wasting my life if I don’t, that I have to ‘live every minute to the fullest’ etc etc etc. But what the fuck is the point of jumping at every opportunity that comes my way, if that’s not even my path?
I feel so sad that I have carried this deep self judgement for so long for absolutely no reason. All this time I could have been celebrating and congratulating myself on all the times I said YES to things that were most definitely for me, and instead all I’ve been able to think about are all the times I said ‘No’ to opportunities that were not aligned with me. What silly things us humans do to ourselves.
All those times I said ‘No’, I was honoring myself! The NO was coming from my higher self! Isn’t that crazy how backwards I had it all this time. It was so much more aligned with me and my highest path to say ‘No’, to care for myself, and to go within and deal with those fears, judgement and programming that made me feel like a failure for not jumping at the opportunity. Because oh yes, it triggered me. All those nights where I knew other people were out partying and ‘living the life’ - I was at home dealing with the shame and dread in my stomach. And all those times I was brave enough to dive into that emotion, took me one step closer to this giant revelation today.
I feel like a big weight has been lifted off me, and it’s going to take a while for that part of me that was crying not that long ago to really believe this. She has been cowering in shame, encased in a false truth for so long now. Poor thing. She is scared to believe that what she’s been telling herself is not true, because isn’t pushing yourself the way to grow? Isn’t throwing yourself in the deep end even when you’re screaming with discomfort, the right way to go about things? Isn’t that true courage and bravery?
This is such a symptom of the masculine world we live in, isn’t it? I think about this every time I see the quote that says something like, “You will never be fully ready, so just do it.” I really don’t believe that’s true! What it’s probably saying is the same thing I’m saying - that you’ll still be scared but if you’re excited enough then it will be fine anyway. But what I read it as, and I’m sure lots of other people have too, is that you’re wasting your life if you don’t just face your fear and jump in. Because if you don’t, you will procrastinate forever and never get it done.
When I was a teenager I learnt to drive in Auckland, but I was only on the road for a year or so before I moved to Australia and lived there for several years without a car. I then went traveling and once again, never had the opportunity to get behind the wheel. By the time I settled in NZ again, I was TERRIFIED of driving. I felt like a learner all over again. I tried it at one point and totally freaked out, believing I would crash and kill myself and my sister who was in the passenger seat. In the coming years this pressure to drive would come up and punch me in the face again and again - people needing a lift or needing a car transported somewhere or needing a sober driver and I was the only one not drinking. I had a license and people could not understand why I wouldn’t just do it. Some of them even got pissed off. I felt so shit about it, but I was so scared that I had to keep saying ‘No.’ I honestly wondered if I would ever drive again.
Then, as time went on, I naturally started missing being in the driver’s seat. I started feeling like it would be so fun to drive around listening to music and singing at the top of my lungs like I used to. I began to look forward to it. I began to get EXCITED about it. I was still fucking terrified, but the excitement and inspiration was there. And so I started driving again, and yes it was scary as fuck at first but I also got into my groove with it much faster than I expected to because I WAS READY. I hadn’t succumbed to pressure from others and done it while I was still just terrified. I had waited until it actually felt like something I would ENJOY, and THEN I jumped in the driver’s seat. And it turned out great. Now I love driving again and feel confident with it (although city driving still stresses me out sometimes!).
Imagine what might have happened if I’d started driving again when OTHERS thought I should, when I was utterly terrified but feeling pressured to get over my fear. I could have easily caused an accident. I could very likely have freaked out and given myself a traumatic experience and never driven again. If I’d listened to society I would have thought I was wasting my life by giving into fear. But actually, I was listening to my deep inner wisdom. I WASN’T READY. And that readiness came ORGANICALLY over time, I did NOT need to force myself into it. In fact I know now that the more pressure I feel, the more I push away that natural opening into readiness. If I accept that I’m still too scared and it’s not the right time, then it will happen at the right time. If I push myself to get there early, I could create a disaster.
Sometimes facing your fears is NOT your path. Or not your path YET. I have put so much crazy pressure on myself to get over my social fears and just DO IT already - and you know what happens when I do that? I end up being the girl who drinks too fast because she’s feeling so fucking awkward… I drink enough that I can be that confident person I always wanted to be, but inevitably as the alcohol wears off, the persona dissolves and I end up being the girl bawling her eyes out at the end of the night. Does that sound healthy and positive to you? No, it sounds like a bloody trainwreck. Those kind of experiences make me LESS likely to want to socialize, not more.
Now I have entered my thirties and am well into my transition from girl to woman. A new me is being born, I am moving from maiden to mother in my spiritual journey, and guess what? THE WOMAN IN ME DOES NOT HAVE SOCIAL ANXIETY. I can feel that. She is becoming more and more embodied in me and she knows who she is, she is grounded in herself, she does not need to impress or be liked by anyone, and she’s more than comfortable to sit in silence instead of feeling the need to be the social chatty one. She is HERE, and becoming stronger and stronger every day. So once again, all the pressure to socialize for all those years was for no reason. I WASN’T READY. And the readiness is coming now. Slowly bleeding in. Not in MY timing but in divine timing. Because Wow there was a lot to work through to get there. So rushing it was not only pointless but very unwise.
Today I release myself from this cage of pressure, judgment and failure that I have kept parts of me in for so so long. I was never wrong to say ‘No’. I never let myself down, I never let my higher self and my team down. When I thought I was being weak, I was actually being wise. I was actually listening to myself, honoring myself, nurturing myself and trusting in divine timing. Because all those fears are fading and will in time be gone. And the day when I feel totally free of them will be a beautiful day indeed. But in the meantime, the journey to get there is just as beautiful. And it is all the more glorious as I honor each step along the way, instead of always trying to reach my destination tomorrow.
I hope this post can relieve some pressure for others as well. No one in this world should walk around feeling like a failure for not facing their fears before they are ready. Wait until you feel the excitement, THEN you will know it’s time. If you feel excited about it and you still don’t do it, that’s when perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and wonder why you won’t allow yourself to create the life you dream of. But until then, let your journey unfold naturally. Your fears are deep dark ancient caverns in your soul that need time to air out. Keep diving deep but be gentle with yourself. Facing the darkness within you is the bravest thing you will ever do. It doesn’t need to manifest in your external reality until you are ready. And you WILL be ready one day, at the perfect time. I promise you that.
My deepest love and respect to you all, to all those who walk this path with me. Thank you for being here, thank you for being you.