At some point along the journey I make with clients, we begin to talk about the way we were welcomed into the world.
The way we were welcomed initially. The stories we have about it. Who we were, what we were like, what it was all like. And no matter who I talk to, I have found that there is a very significant thread between our birth stories (or the conception stories) and the deep-seated story that the little child inside us carries about who we are. When we spin the story of ‘what is wrong with us,’ it’s often connected to the very one we were told about how we came into the world.
The shame and guilt we carry, the stuff we work so hard to liberate ourselves from, is often so interwoven with the stories we were told about how we came into the world. It’s difficult to do the healing work without understanding its impact. If we don’t wanna go there, it’s going to be hard to heal.
There is a significant piece of our soul waiting to be retrieved from sitting with this story.
Over the years, I’ve had time to sit with clients and groups as we dive into the work of healing the inner child and to date, nobody has ever said to me, “You know Robin, I don’t know my story. I can’t tell you what they said about me…” even when someone could not know their birth story because they were abandoned or had been adopted, they knew a story. There was someone in their lives who at least told them the story of being very small once… there is a story there for all of us, one which is often asking for healing.
I was a surprise!
I was early.
I was late.
I was unexpected.
I wasn’t wanted.
I was given away.
I sent them away.
They said I was a mistake.
A ‘happy’ accident!
They wanted a boy.
They wanted a girl.
The vasectomy didn’t take.
The birth control failed.
This story and the experience of it has informed our identity.
We’ve carried these stories deeply. We’ve moved from that place of knowing throughout our lives, believing this is who we are. Believing this is how we are seen. We’re not wanted, we are a problem, we cause harm, we’re an accident, we’re an inconvenience, we’re difficult. And those inner stories cause us to behave in certain ways. Perhaps we’re apologetic. Or we’re afraid to take up space. Or we play it very safe and small. Or we have great difficulty expressing our needs. Perhaps we don’t want to make waves. We don’t want to cause problems for others.
We go about life trying NOT to be difficult. And at the same time, those are the exact experiences we continue to have. A self-fulfilling prophecy. We behave in ways which appear to the outside world as the very thing we are trying not to be.
We carry this stuff forward into our lives.
The birth story follows us throughout life. It is very very real. You are probably already making connections to what I am saying. This is a good thing. And I want to say right here and now, this is difficult to write and to read back because I am also a step-parent, and there are stories about the kids too… you know? So let me say right now, we can all take a deep breath and practice a lot of kindness as we make these connections, ok? Deep breath and kindness… deep breaths and kindness.
There is a little self inside, just waiting to be seen and acknowledged.
This little girl or guy really just wants to take up space and not have to apologize for it. Or have to do anything weird to get love. This little one has needs and wants to have them met without doing a thing for anyone else. Without having to explain or control or justify. Or manipulate. We just want to be exactly as we are–fully out, fully seen, fully loved. This little one is wanting to heal and very much wants to be loved and accepted exactly as we are.
My own story was that I was the original problem.
My mother would often tell me that I turned sideways at 7 months and I would not get into the correct position. “You refused to budge, you would not turn! Every time I saw the doctor we’d talk about what we were gonna do about this difficult baby,” she said. I was born cesarean. I had to be forcibly removed because I was transverse (sideways). Think about the connections there to feeling difficult, to being a problem, to causing others pain. Consider the connections to not wanting to make waves for others, not wanting to have needs.
Throughout my life, I had the experience of being difficult or problematic. I entered places in difficult, challenging ways. Often, to me, it seemed things would just screw up and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get things to work the way other people did. And every time I experienced a problem or challenge, I would have the old shame come up that said I was being difficult, a problem. Can you relate to this in your own way?
These very old and very deep stories are working on our insides.
They are really trying to break free, and receive healing – but we don’t always get it and instead continue to work to try and stuff it all back down and conform somehow, someway. We go about life trying NOT to be difficult or cause problems and at the same time, those are the exact experiences we continue to have.
The last time I had a challenging happening where I felt like the big problem was when I was going to a sacred mountain retreat.
Reading the literature, it seemed to be plastered everywhere: don’t be late!
All that tight-butted direction created such a fear in me of being late, of being the problem that I got there two days early. By mistake. I am laughing as I write this but seriously, imagine being so disorganized in your nervous system that you leave for a long distance road trip two days too early. I got all the way to this mountaintop to see that nobody was there. I went back down from the mountaintop, checked the website (which you can’t do on a mountain top), realized my mistake and then had to go find somewhere to stay for the two extra days.
I had two extra days of feeling embarrassed. Ashamed. Alone. I was not about to admit to anyone what happened. Keep it hidden away, this stupid ugly problem part of me. I didn’t want anyone to know.
Two days of spinning out.
The day the event began, I became horribly lost. You probably already guessed that would happen. I cannot find my way back to the mountain top, I am hours late. HOURS LATE! In fact, I am so late, the big “don’t be late for this” opening bonfire is already going in the distance. I can see the smoke rising from the fire as if to say, here is where you were supposed to be hours ago, Idiot!
Of course there is only one road into this thing and of course it’s a very dusty dirt road, and of course, my car is making a huge plume, announcing my ‘I know you said don’t be late and I am the asshole who is late’ arrival. Of course of course of course.
And then it happened…
As the car made its I am not lost and I am not trying to hurry because I have done nothing wrong‘ way along the very long and dusty road and I was in the middle of beating up on myself I remember having such an intense panic that it felt like something cracked inside my ribcage.
I’d love to tell you that this was the moment when poof! everything was healed and say that the controller in me died right then and there but no. The intensity of fear was so great, I was having an out of body experience – I was driving the car and I was outside the car. A part of me began to shed away. I was waking up. The old story: Robin is difficult, she will not cooperate, she is a problem, she refuses to do life right, she ruins everything – was beginning to break right there inside my chest.
At the same time, I realized: I matter! I deserve a place at the table no matter how I arrived! Shit happens! I can’t control this! I am NOT a problem! I am NOT difficult! Life is happening for me! I am healing!
So I arrived. I wish I could tell you that it was all magical from there on out but no. And please tell me why is it that at these spiritual retreats there are often one or two tight-butted types with their clipboards and stinky cheese faces? These were the first people to greet me at this retreat. Looking at me like that transverse baby, ready with their forceps… “We’ll take your car from you now,” they said.
As I watched my car (and all my stuff) being driven off to God knows where, another woman approached me and said, would you please go undress and bathe yourself in the sacred yurt? I looked at her, blinking. After all of this, there will now be nudity? In public? So she said again, “Please remove your clothing and please bathe yourself in the yurt and emerge naked and let yourself be in the fresh air.
Enjoy the nature, she said. I went inside the sacred yurt. I took off all of my clothes. My legs were trembling. I continued to speak to myself, telling myself I am not difficult or a problem. It’s okay, I said, you do not need to explain it to anyone. Nobody needs to get this but you.
I cried. I tried to be brave. I was here now. I already felt like I got what I came for. Except it was day one and I was naked in the yurt… I began to see all the ways I continued to place myself in harmful or challenging situations because of the original story ‘Robin is difficult’ operating on my insides.
I had plenty of time to sit with all of this. Plenty of time to speak to my heart: Not one more time are you gonna apologize for being late! Because nobody will ever understand how hard you worked to get here on time, nobody will understand the depths to which you did NOT want to stand out and rock the boat. Not one more time are you going to repent for things which are out of your control. Don’t even worry about the a-holes who greeted you and made you feel like shit because they thought you weren’t doing it right – guess what, it’s not about them, you don’t need their forgiveness or absolution.
Nobody will ever know how hard you tried to hold it all together.
Nobody ever needs to get it. You are the only one. And nobody will ever understand the way life is conspiring to open you up because we are not supposed to continue on being so tightly wound, protecting our story. These are very sacred happenings and they are asking us to awaken. What if we could remember this and do our best to sit right here and just be, rather than beat ourselves one more inch?
You and I are healing big things
And they are things we don’t always understand in a linear way… this is exactly why it’s good to travel in the spirit bubble with people who are on the journey too.
All of us can connect to not feeling welcome, or wanted, or feeling like a problem. All of us. Which means each of us needs this message: You have a right to be here. You are beautiful and perfect and whole, exactly as you are.
There is a significant piece of our soul waiting to be retrieved from sitting with this story.
Will you go there? Will you look?
I believe in you, and I want you to know you are not alone.