Last year at this time I was in a very different place. I had just finished my album Serenity. The garbage that surfaced during the process of writing it was still clinging to my bones. Stuck.
I was exposed. I was afraid. I was uncertain.
I wanted to explore the attic of my heart, which for so long had stored and accumulated all of the lies I believed about myself. I wanted to open up, let go, and heal.
But I didn’t know how to.
I was in constant conflict with myself. Both empty and heavy at the same time. Depleted, yet filled with all of the wrong things: Self-judgment. Self-loathing. Self-destruction. I was trying to uncover myself, and resisting it at the same time. A single crack was enough for my self-criticism and perfectionism to sneak in, so I’d slam the door of my heart shut again. I was banging my head against the impenetrable wall of self-guardedness.
There’s nothing that keeps us stuck in ourselves more than self-judgment. Self-judgment is destructive and counterproductive. Amidst tearing ourselves down, we simultaneously build walls. We close off and block our own selves – and others – out.
Oftentimes, the process of opening up and letting go means stepping back and letting in. Rather than trying to force the barricade of my heart open, I stepped back and gently knocked. Knocked and listened.Space opened. Instead of resisting what came up inside me, I let myself into it. No forcing. No Resisting.
This was a process. It wasn’t intuitive. My reaction was to run and hide from myself during these moments of discomfort, but instead, I chose to make a home inside it. This created a safe space for my unresolved pain to speak. And I listened. Slowly, my heart started to shed its walls. I began letting myself in for the first time. One small crack at a time. Behind these hidden valleys, was me.
Not monstrous me.
Not who-I-thought-I-was me.
Not I’m-disgusted-with-myself me.
During this sacred time of transformation, I lay down the heavy backpack of life that I’d been carrying. It was filled with fear, perfectionism, broken relationships, anxiety, self-destruction, shame, depression. Every lie. Every belief. Every unshed tear.
I was none of the things I’d believed for so long. I realized, self-judgment-criticism-condemnation-destruction-loathing does not reveal who you are.
It hides you.
Dear reader, I know what it is like to be hidden behind those bars. To be beaten and battered by a berating voice inside. I know what it is like to be stranded outside the walls within your own self. To be spiritually hollow. Both empty and heavy at the same time.
But I also know every wall and barricade built within us can be torn down. That love will unlock the door to who we truly are, and not who we believe ourselves to be. Our imprisoned hearts can be freed when we open up and let go of what encages us. Come out from behind those bars. Allow your hidden heart to open. That is where the healing pours through.