Back in 2006, when I sat down to create this mandala, I asked myself the question: “why do I keep myself hidden away?” This is a key question for me. By nature, I am highly introverted. This does not mean that I am anti-social. It simply means that I need time and space to be alone to recharge my inner batteries / energy. Being in groups of people drains my energy. When it comes right down to it, the person I feel most comfortable with is ME. Other people drain my energy, so I tend to spend a lot of time alone. This is a choice I make.
When you add on top of that innate desire to be in solitude, the fact that I have a crippling disease that causes strong feelings of pain and isolation, you have a killer combination that results in the intense desire to hide myself away. After 40+ years of living with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and all the joint damage that comes along with that disease, I battle thoughts that I don’t fit in with others and that I can’t keep up with others. Sometimes I feel like I am a burden and other times I feel like no one understands what this life is like. I feel trapped in a body that does not move that way other healthy bodies move. I have crooked joints and less physical strength than most people. My young nieces and nephew are far physically stronger than me at this point.
And to throw another fun complication into the mix, as I wrote about in my blog from August entitled ‘To Cry or Not to Cry’, I hate to cry or express the sadness I feel about my illness and how much pain I experience. When you mix all of those things together, the imagery of this mandala makes perfect sense. The center of the mandala is made up of tear drops. They are the profound sadness I feel at my core. They are surrounded by four layers of walls to keep them buried and to keep others out. Then those walls are surrounded my even more reinforcements. Talk about Fort Knox! Nothing is getting in or out. I hide myself away on so many levels: the physical, the mental, and the emotional.
Last week, I had an epiphany that ties into this mandala on an even deeper level. During a holistic therapy session, which is known as Body Talk, my practitioner was able to see information about one of my past lives. Now, I know many people may not believe in past lives. I respect each person’s views on this topic. My personal view is that I do believe in past lives. I believe in the spiritual evolution of the soul, where souls come back to earthly life over and over again to learn lessons and evolve. I believe that things that happen in one life can have a carry-over effect in that soul’s subsequent lives.
The particular past life that was revealed to us, was a pivotal one for my soul. In that life, my soul was a young woman in the 1800’s. She was full of life and had an idyllic life: nearly perfect on many levels with love, family, friends, wealth, and great happiness. She had every opportunity open to her and a bright future. In her early 20’s however, she became gravely ill with a disease that was incurable. Back in those days, the terminally ill were shuttered away. This young woman was literally shut away into a dark room to suffer in solitude until she died. She was devastated to lose all the good and promise her life had held. She felt profound sadness, grief, and agony at how life was snatched away so quickly. She died young and my soul made a decision at that time that it will never, EVER be that happy and fulfilled again. It will do whatever is necessary to never feel that profound loss and sadness again. If it is never that happy again, then it can never feel the deep loss and devastation. This ingrained belief got carried into subsequent lives. It is with me in my life today.
I came into this life and within 6 months of my birth I was showing symptoms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. That is a very early age of onset for this disease. I’ve always felt that my soul chose the challenge of this disease. I couldn’t really describe that feeling as a child, but as I got older and more spiritually aware that sense grew stronger. What better disease to ensure that I would be locked away into a sick body than rheumatoid arthritis?! I’m not locked away in a dark room anymore, but my soul is locked into this body that limits my abilities. That past life resonated so strongly with my current life. In my mind, things suddenly clicked into place and I recognized that I continue to choose to keep myself hidden away. I play it safe and don’t take risks. I keep myself surrounded by walls. Well, I don’t want to choose that any more. I want to break out of those walls. My first step was to write this blog. I was afraid that people would think I am a freak by writing about past lives. I was afraid to put this intensely personal story out there to be critiqued or judged. But I am going to stand in my truth and say, “No more fear.” I choose to be free and fulfilled! I choose to open up and believe I deserve to be deliriously happy and live fully!
What part of yourselves do you keep hidden away? What can you choose each day to open up your lives?