How to fully bloom and swiftly identify what is holding you back.
When I was between 4-6 years old, I had a phobia. Although I do not remember my exact age, I do remember being really freaked out by any kind of deep water.
I grew up nestled in a small valley outside of Durango, Colorado. It felt like a safe bosom in the country. In my backyard, there was a stream trickling down from the mountain that was filled with snails and water bugs. I loved the stream because it was meek, simple, and gentle.
My fear of deep water eventually led to swimming lessons which were an attempt to lessen my fright. After all, we had the Animas River in town, and my family loved to camp at the beautiful nearby lakes; Lemon Dam, Vallecito, and Haviland.
I remember the day of my first swimming lesson very clearly.
Although, the female instructor was very outgoing and friendly, there were lots of kids splashing around which felt intimidating. I refused to get off the first step. I was perfectly content to keep only my feet in the water and stay securely on the pool’s edge.
Eventually, the instructor swam over and asked me to come with her. After a little persuasion, I agreed and grabbed on to her for dear life as she peeled me off of the pool’s edge.
She walked with me on her hip, bouncing us gently, into the deeper waters. She reassured me every step of the way, “You are safe. You are ok. It’s ok, you can trust me. See, you are ok.” I was petrified, but felt safe grasping to her and feeling her strong presence by my little side.
And then... the game changed.
She proceeded to hold me tight and dunked us under the water without warning.
Seconds felt like an eternity. I wanted out. I was drowning! The rug had been pulled. The idea of “us” being in the water together, shifted into ‘me’ feeling desolate and abandoned. I held my breath in sheer terror, not knowing how long she would hold me under. I squirmed trying to free myself to breathe again.
Finally, we came up to the surface.
I think I screamed... probably for my mother’s arms.
What came of this? I look back and realize this woman had the full fledged intention of showing me I could survive when going under. However, what was accomplished was very different.
Without knowing it, my perception of the world shifted that day. I started to believe:
“Adults are not trustworthy.”
“Just when I feel safe, the rug gets pulled.”
“Life is chaotic and unpredictable.”
“I’m not safe.”
New filters formed for how I looked at life.
Filters can be created for one reason and then persist for other reasons. Although, they may have had meaning in the past, in a single moment of fear or trauma, there can come a point when they no longer serve us.
“Adults are not trustworthy.” This perception does not serve me because it is not true for the majority of adults.
“Life is chaotic and unpredictable.” This is a great belief... if I were a ninja. However, when I desire solace and peace, it is limiting.
The brilliance of these beliefs is that we take them with us, consciously or not, to keep us safe. The limit of them is that they eventually keep us small, keep us from fully blooming, and keep us looping in predictable patterns.
Think back to the first fearful experience you can remember. What beliefs did you take away from that event? Write them down.
Are these beliefs true today? Do they serve the mission of your Highest Self? What becomes possible without them? How can you let these perceptions go in order to fully bloom?
By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty