Self-Preservation or Self-Limitation?
SELF-PRESERVATION OR SELF-LIMITATION?
Friction mounting between teeth and tongue.
Determined to articulate.
Yet resolute in maintaining censorship.
My mind rehearses.
Seeking precise expression.
Shame persuading me to honour my vow of silence.
Rejecting pieces of self –
Convinced they are native to my inner landscape alone.
I know for certain they are not.
Like a dog, turning in circles before retiring in an act of self-preservation.
I heed my safety.
Forcing my tongue,
Words crawl forward, spilling awkwardly.
Releasing the binds of my inner world.
Exposing immediate relief.
Met with resonance,
Tightly woven weaves of
Inhaling my fullness.
I can b r e a t h e again.
When I wrote my first book, Body Conscious – A woman’s guide to holistic pelvic health and feminine embodiment (BC) I did not consider myself a writer. After self-published BC, I did not think of myself as an author. Sure, I played with the titles on my Instagram bio, but, when I tried the words “I’m an author” on for size (speaking to myself in the mirror) – they felt wildly pretentious… Not that I’m not authentic on IG – I see IG as a creative playground – an avenue for experimentation. The point is, speaking the words made my body want to shake them off – they didn’t belong to me.
Do these titles even matter!?
The titles are not at all about how people see me. The titles (and particularly my discomfort with them) are actually about how I see myself. Over the years I’ve learnt that my work doesn’t define me and I don’t feel particularly attached to any career path. But, when the underlying tone of pushing something away is “I’m unworthy” I know there is something for me to explore.
To me, being a ‘writer’ or an ‘author’ required a particular level of innate creativity and intrinsic flair – both of which I did not possess… I was a someone who could learn things and acquire the necessary skills – not someone born with special talents that only a morsel of the population is endowed with. Or so I thought…
Excavating narratives that don’t belong to me has taught me that EVERY human is creative. Embracing my body wisdom has shown me that we are all born with unique gifts – soul codes if you like – that we are here to share. And, (I feel) it is our birthright and our duty to offer these gifts. They are our contribution to this world.
I believe the creative soul seeds that live within us are essential to fulfilling our life’s work (*note – not necessarily paid work*) and to living a full life. Creative expression matters!
Years ago, when I heard the call to write BC, I followed the thread in spite of the fact that I didn’t consider myself a writer. Yet, I also felt somewhat restrained in my writing because I didn’t consider myself a writer. Certain ways of expression felt out of my league. Sticking more to the facts and a little less to sharing my inner world felt comfortable, but restrictive. Don’t get me wrong. Putting Body Conscious out into the world is by far one of the most vulnerable things I have ever done. Writing that book was the result of much self-exploration, self-discovery, and practising self-expression. BC shares thoughts and insights that place me as quite the ‘left of centre’ therapist. Yet, when I look back, I can see a level of self-restraint. Partly perfect for where I was when I wrote it, and room for growth. A little more of a safe stretch was possible. The subtleties are intriguing – We need to feel safe in our vulnerability – and stretching beyond that safe zone can be more painful than not exposing our vulnerability at all. And, self-doubt can limit expression. It is a tender and delicate balance.
Continuing to listen in, the calls pursued, asking me for more. More depth, more mystery, more experimentation, more sharing, and more VULNERABILITY.
At its core, creativity is vulnerable. To share our soul codes, we need to dive deep into our inner landscape and share our unique perspectives through the lens that feels most right. Exposing our inner world, no matter the canvas, is vulnerable. If we don’t appreciate what vulnerability is asking of us, self-preservation can play out as self-limitation.
In my experience, vulnerability is calling forth our wholeness. As we move past the sense of uneasiness and into the art of creation, trusting in our innate wholeness, we heal aspects of self that we thought unwelcome in this world. As our creative canvas expands, healing and growth occur. And vice versa.
For me, laying to rest the thought that I’m not creative and leaning into my creative desires, opened me to an entirely new world. Heeding the call to write, I’ve written and shared pieces that women have found surprisingly resonant. Oftentimes women have said my writing has offered words to feelings they have been unable to describe or articulate. This is thing about vulnerability and creativity – they gift us opportunity to shine light on pieces of humanity otherwise held in the dark. When vulnerability and creativity intersect, healing happens.
Breaking through the vulnerability barrier is no easy feat. And for creativity to prevail, we must. The world needs our creative gifts. So I offer you – what is my vulnerability asking? Is this so-called self-preservation or self-limitation?
With love and vulnerability,