Here I am in Yuma, AZ, parked next to a casino in an RV parking area.  Now those of you who know me probably recognize that an urban, RV-by-RV, generator-rumbling, lack-of-dog-freedom area is not my scene!  However, spending time here has offered many deep lessons.

As I re-chart my life and seek my own authenticity, various tests and mirrors have presented themselves and allowed me to see my own behaviors in a new way.  I have discovered many behaviors that certainly don’t serve my higher self.  To shed this festering layer of skin, I have to journey within to see the true picture, thus allowing the shedding and then birth of a new layer of authenticity.  When I first started this process in Soulcraft (Animas Valley Institute & Soulcraft), it was a surprising and hard lesson to see how very imperfect I am.  Then the most important lesson sunk in – perfection does not exist!  Being wrong is not only alright, it is where the gold exists.  Mistakes are not mistakes when looked at with a different perception, one of seeing that within the “mistake” is a beautiful lesson and a step to a higher self.

In Soulcraft, ineffective behaviors are called “Loyal Soldiers”.  Loyal Soldier is a metaphor for the WWII soldiers lost on deserted islands for decades.   When found, they could not be convinced the war was over and were still as loyal to their cause as the day they enlisted.  We enlist these Loyal Soldiers as we grow up, conditioning our behaviors on what society, family, and friends deem as acceptable.  The Loyal Soldiers are a part of us, fiercely loyal to protecting us from being hurt.  They base their behaviors on what was learned as a child and adolescent, and these behaviors can lose their effectiveness as our egos mature.  I am honoring how my Loyal Soldiers have protected me to this point, and I am finding I need to find a new job for a few as I wake up in my life.  Identifying some that need reassignment is the gift I found in Yuma.

In my last post (A (slightly crazy) Isolator’s Epiphany), I discussed my “Inner Council”.  In particular, I named my fun-loving girl and my analyzer.  I don’t want to get lost in lingo, but my Inner Council equals my Loyal Soldiers.  I concluded I had been giving too much power to my analyzer and ignoring my fun-loving girl.  The lessons in Yuma furthered the same journey discussed in the post.

More than once I have wanted to leave Yuma, to head down the road.  Turmoil starts tearing away at my insides, and I pause to really feel into it.  What is at the core of my compulsion to leave?  There are the obvious things like the noise and lack of natural environment, but what else?  I might just find more noise and urban environments down the road of my life, so what then?  My friend, Laurie (Laurie’s YouTube page), repeated to me a saying I have heard numerous times but this time I really heard it, “wherever you go, there you are.”  I don’t want to get lost in the grass being greener delusion, so I better sit with this one.

Okay, I’m sitting.  Now I need to look in the mirror of truth and ask the hard questions.  Is there a Loyal Soldier at work?  Truth Kathy…even if it isn’t so pretty.  Ah, there it is.  I’m drained.  Why am I drained?  Shit, there it really is.  In my own fear of hurting other’s feelings, I participate outside my own boundaries.  I listen beyond my daily budget of intake.  I take the input (others’ output), put it in my digester, process, and spit out my output.  All the while I’d rather be lost in my own thoughts, just observing nature, or thinking and observing nothing.  In the drained state, I start dodging others.  Dodging leads to resentment.  Does anyone see any problem with this strategy?  I sure do.  It doesn’t feel good!  I lose more energy in dodging and resentment, so the cycle doesn’t end and I want to run.

I think this is something that is inherent in women in our society.  We are taught to sacrifice our needs for the needs of others, especially men.  God forbid the men should have hurt feelings!  Here’s another part of the epiphany.  It is only my perception that I will hurt others’ feelings.  My belief is:

If I say, “No, I need my time now,” the other person will feel hurt in some way, perhaps rejected.

But this is only my belief, it isn’t truth.

Truth is:

I am only responsible for my actions and my reactions; I am only responsible for myself.

I am not responsible for how others perceive my need for my own time.  It is their choice to believe what they will.  My intention is to honor my needs, not to hurt others.  I don’t have the power to hurt someone; it is their choice to take things personally.  See the difference?  I do now.  Putting this lesson into practice and honoring my needs feels a little choppy right now, but with time, it will gain its polish.  The knowledge of the core belief behind my behavior in itself feels like the shedding of this old skin.  The newly exposed layer is a bit tender and will take some care, but I am committed to myself, to take care and honor my own needs.

I’ll add some photos of Yuma later so you can see it isn’t all bad!