Since I was a young girl I have been judged, chastised and shamed for being so many things, mostly behind my back; weird, overly expressive, too loud, too sexual, Italian, different, strange, a temptress, too spiritual, too emotional, overly "touchy feely", dark...and the list goes on. I've been told my head is too much in the clouds, that I need to live in reality, that I need a social filter...in short, that I need to conform.
On a personal level, it has been very difficult. I have so wanted to just BE FREE to BE ME and in the past, when I was still ruled by my external environment, I thought I couldn't do that. I was so affected by what people would say. I would feel sad & angry and try to make myself more "normal". I would also slip into shaming, judging and chastising others and myself...sometimes I still do...but I was always aware of it when I was doing it, and am still aware...and it never feels good! I don't like this personal or collective shadow and intend on growing it up into the light and helping others do the same.
As far as being a victim of this shadow, or still allowing others' judgments to make me feel small, I can honestly say I'm mostly done with that journey. I fully accept who I am now, and for the most part, fully accept others .I love being me and I love my brothers and sisters. I don't let society or anyone cage my authentic being and I always make it part of my life's work to empower that same authentic expression in others. What I have learned is that there is never anything wrong with being authentic, as long as that authenticity is with awareness for those we love. So, on a more transpersonal level, I have come to powerful realisations which I hope are helping others to feel more free to be themselves, including those of you reading this...What has become very obvious to me is that the human world is so caught up and obsessed with conforming to what makes most people comfortable that it allows or excuses gossip, judgement and shaming to those who live their lives "outside of the box".
I am holding a challenge at the moment, to the 50 amazing women attending my Life Tantra course which is: no back stabbing. Defined most simply - speaking badly about someone behind their back or in a way which is overtly or covertly judgmental or non-supportive. The Life tantra women are getting so much out it and everyone is realising just how rampart gossip is, especially in the sisterhood.
Spirituality and Tantra merges with life when we no longer need to judge others. When we can sit in the fire of our own emotional reactions and responses and allow anything to burn that is not our authentic self: Love. I am finding that when people are truly living in their own integrity and loving themselves, including myself, there is no longer a need to put others down. We are living in true integrity.
As a Tantra Teacher and as a woman brought up by a very non-conformist Father and Mother, I clearly do not fit into "the box" or what is considered normal by society. I have always asked too many questions, gone about things differently to how other people do them, broken what I perceive to be outdated traditions and acted on what FEELS right rather than what society tells me is right. From living a polyamorous life, to Tantra, to living with my ex-husband for 5 years after separation and co-parenting our children together, my life has always been non-conformist and attracted a lot of gossip. Most of it untrue mind you. When my best friend got together with my ex-husband, you can imagine the tongues wagging then, especially because we are all so close!
More simply, I make decisions based on my heart and intuition even when I know these decisions will disappoint, attract disapproval or do not conform. I trust myself because I know that a) my decisions come from an intention to love deeper and to serve more authentically; and b) where I fail in this unconsciously, I will receive the lessons I need so I can come more clearly from a place of love next time.
When assumptions or judgements are made about me or those I love this still hurts, of course. People saying things about me behind my back beings up feelings of betrayal, fear, rejection etc. But now I can sit with the pain, the sadness, the anger and just be with it without having to do anything about it. Then, it actually dissolves. This has been a big lesson in itself. Not needing to defend or explain my actions, being okay with people's reactions to decisions and situations that may seem strange or "unacceptable". Life's too short.
I remember when I was younger, and still now in certain instances, I couldn't even understand what was weird about something I was doing! I would try to figure it out so I could change and not get the reactions I was getting. Well that didn't work! I also went through an extremely rebellious stage of thinking "I'm getting judged any way, may as well take it to extremes and really shock the fu#% out of everyone!" Now, I am older and wiser and it is a relief to move through that shadow of "needing" validation, approval or shock value from others. It is also easier to no longer feel I have to to climb into any of society's boxes nor climb out of any boxes to prove anything to anyone. I know who I am and I think that is the work. Know who you are and live in your own integrity rather than concerning yourself with what anyone else is thinking or doing.
There is your business, there is my business and there is God's business - stick to your business!". Byron Katie
So I extend my Life Tantra invitation to whoever is reading this: How would it feel to not talk about others in a way that does not support their Being, Choices and Soul Path? How would it feel to not gossip about or judge your brothers and sisters behind their back? How would it feel to ask someone when they are talking badly of someone else "why are you doing that to yourself?" I am being vigilant in asking these questions myself and I take a pledge today to commit to staying in my heart always so that I never again fall into the temptation of back stabbing my brothers and sisters in any shape or form.
A deeper question I've been enjoying is; Can you hold your awareness when someone is triggering storms of fear, terror, anxiety and sadness inside of you? Can you go inward rather than outward until you can either accept, embrace and feel everything with love or talk to the person with maturity about whatever requests or boundaries need to be made?
You are the Creator of you life and if you focus on shifting your internal state of Being rather than trying to go "up" by putting someone else "down", miracles will start to happen. You will then be able to magically draw to you all that you need to be in your joy, ease and grace when you relate to others. Eventually, you will be a part of a beautiful. supportive conscious community who you can trust and who trust you.
My next Life Tantra journey (K.I.S.S.) begins June/July. You can read more about it here.