A year and a half ago I wrote this piece about writing and why I write. In it I write about my nervousness in sharing my words with the world, and how yet I am drawn to share “my truth” which really is my experience, with others.
Now, a year and a half plus later I feel like such a different person. I have found my voice and no longer feel sad or frustrated or small when my writing style may be criticized. I’m on the other side of my graduate school education, in my final year and know more about the work I want to do both as a therapist and as a women’s guide than I even had dreamed of back then. I have settled into my skin and found a new confidence that even a short year and a half ago I didn’t quite have this fully yet.
I wonder what I will think when I look back on these words in a year or two or more. What will that future self think of this current present self. How will this present self become a past self to guide me in dark times tomorrow?
A year ago I cleaned out a footlocker I have that contains all my high school memorabilia. In it are journals and short stories, reports and notes to and from friends. I read through much of that writing and while some of it was definitely cringe worthy, some of it I still found to be good, even twenty-plus years later. All of the writing held my experience and oozed of who I was at that time in my life. And perhaps that is what made me cringe more than the poor writing of some of the pieces, that young woman revealing (or not) who she truly was through her words. Those pieces of my past self that I don’t really want to claim, and yet they are a part of me, and always will be.
This doesn’t mean I am the same person I was at fifteen. It means that fifteen year old still lives inside of me, her fears and dreams, her vulnerability and bravado. She has lessons for me still, just as my twenty year old self does, just as my eight year old self does, just as my thirty-seven year old self does. Yes, there are pieces of those women and girls I am glad I no longer am, and yet each offers a lesson in strength and resilience, a lesson in joy and abundance, that are still good for me to review and soak in every now and then.
Dwelling in the past is not helpful, certainly. Wishing for things to be like they used to be or how we used to be blocks us from enjoying our present and future. However checking in on our past selves, and seeing them with our new eyes, and allowing them to guide us through their strengths into our future can be so revealing and freeing. It can allow us to see how some of those personal myths that hold us back originated and aid us in shedding those myths and moving forward. It can help us write a new story of who we are.
So every now and again I look back. Sometimes back to my college years, sometimes to my high school years, sometimes to my thirties or even my first couple years into my forties. I look at photos and read what I wrote and I look into my past self’s eyes and deep into her soul. I smile and laugh and cringe and learn. I take in the lessons I see and allow my current transforming self to do what it will.
This is part of all our Being and Becoming. Understanding who we were and seeing our past selves with new eyes. In the fall circle we will spend about three weeks with our past selves, exploring who we were through visualizations, meditations, collage, blackout poetry and of course, mindful stream of conscious writing. We will explore those strengths we think we have lost, those stories about who we were and are that hold us back and we will start to shed the layers that stop our own glow from radiating out.
Join us in this journey. It will be amazing.