When you were born, you were a beautiful open house. All the doors and windows swung wide open. Light and air and fresh breezes dancing through you. Then slowly as we encounter others something begins to happen. We express emotions and needs to those around us. Those who have a very complicated house of their own, due to years of their own encounters.
Sometimes these individuals are unable or unwilling to meet or witness our needs and expressions. Sometimes these individuals can react strongly to our expressions and requests. “Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about!” “If you’re going to be ugly go in the other room!” We can be punished, scolded, shamed, or left for what we express.
Now as a child we are dependent on our caretakers, a primal nervous system level attachment to our caretakers is there. We know on a deep level we need them to survive. We need them therefore to approve of us, to like us. Because if you don’t love me, you won’t feed/protect/shelter me. So the little psyche of a child cannot be open to the possibility of parental failure to meet or witness their needs. To do so would mean to be open to the fact that the parent will fail to protect them. To do so would mean being open to the idea they could die.
Little psyches in order to survive, unable to see the inability of the caretaker, see something wrong with themselves. And so we begin to close doors and windows. We say that part of me is a little too much. That part is just too needy. I just expect too much of others. I am just being selfish. They are doing the best they can. I’m a lot to handle.
Over a lifetime as we encounter more and more individuals who might not always be open to rooms in us, especially rooms that they themselves have felt the need to close. So attics get bolted, basements get locked. Whole hallways are suddenly off limits. The house can become smaller and smaller, darker and darker.
The ego sees safety in predictability. It loves smalls spaces. It operates through a great deal of fear. We become afraid of our house. It seems haunted. There are strange knocks and rattling doorknobs. Creaking floorboards and whispers from keyholes.
We try to stay busy and distracted but you always have to come back to your house, your home. We can sit for hours in front the television, get wrapped up in gossip, sneak to the fridge for another bite of cake, or a drink. But you will always wake up in the same house.
But something beautiful can happen if you are brave enough, or sometimes due to circumstance, desperate enough to try something new. You listen for the noise down the hall and you go to it. It feels foreign and familiar all at once. The process of making room within to listen, to love again, to welcome back every piece that had been shut out.
The gift we give ourselves as adults is to love ourselves fully. To love every bit of us back to life so that we have more to share with the world. To restore ourselves to the haven that is our birthright. To dance through your beautiful house freely without fear. To sit still, feel your heart, close your eyes, and say, ‘Welcome home’.