Have you ever been in a room of people and everyone has the same exact opinion or experience... but you. So you lie and make something up to sound like you are the same. But in reality, you feel like shit because you are the outcast or because you didn't get to share what you really thought and felt.
I had a similar experience recently but I decided to go for it and be the outcast. I recently went on an all women's retreat to Huntsville, Ontario, Canada. Each day we gathered and had "circle time". This particular time we got together and we being led to do some light writing. I had never heard of this concept before but I'm open to trying new things.
We started by telling our stories in a deep dark cave. What do you see? How do you feel? Who are you surrounded by? How did you get to this cave? Tell me everything about this cave. Mine cave experience was not pleasant. I have been through some very unfortunate times that I don't wish upon anyone. I have seen deep dark caves before and I didn't want to go back. But for shits and giggles, I started writing.
I wrote about how I was alone and afraid. I felt like I was wondering around into the darkness and not sure where to go. I knew there was light somewhere, but I couldn't find it. Part of me believed I belonged in that cave because in there, I could hide the pain from the world. I could see all of my negative experiences blasted on the dark, wet walls. It was a horrible site. Around every corner was more fear and darkness. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
The next part of the exercise was to give advice to someone you love about the cave. This is where things got heavy...real heavy. I was one of the last to read mine in the group. Yes, we had to read them out loud! Oh my, was that hard. As I sit there listening to these women, I am becoming more nervous and scared to read mine. They all said the same thing! They were saying thing like "Oh you have to go through the cave to get to the other side. Don't worry. The cave will make you stronger. Blah blah blah.'
I seriously could not believe what I was hearing. I was thinking "wtf is wrong with these women! These mothers! Why would they say such a thing?" The closer they got to me, the more I panicked. I had convinced myself that I had done the whole exercise wrong because I did not sound ANYTHING like the others. Then it was my turn.....
I cried. I could barely speak but I read what I wrote...
" Dear baby girl, whatever you do, DON'T GO IN THAT FUCKING CAVE. It's dark, scary and lonely. You don't have anyone there to help you in all the dark loneliness. It is so dark that you can't see the light. But I want you to remember that I love you no matter what and you are never really alone. I love you and want to guide you. Give me your hand. You don't have to do this alone like I did. Let me show you the way. I don't want you to struggle in the cave like me. I want to break this cycle and show you another way so you can live freely without the same shit I had to go through. I want to be there for you, anytime and always. You do not have to be afraid. I am here to help you when you need it. I am here to show you that you can be your truest self and not be scared or judged. You were brought into this world for a reason and that reason is to be you, no matter what anyone says or does. Do what makes you happy. Do everything your heart desires in life. The sky is the limit. I want you to spread your wings and fly so very far away from the cave I found myself in. I know you will have your own struggles, but I am determined not to pass mine down to you. I love you with my whole heart baby girl. Fly high."
Yep, that's what I wrote. I just let the words fall out of my mouth. As I type this, I want to fix my grammar, add some sentences, remove some sentences but I am not going to do that. This is me. This is how I felt and I still cannot believe that I read this out loud
to a group of complete strangers that I had never met before that trip. I was so afraid but I did it anyways. That is courage.
So my take away for you is to BE YOU! Be so CONFIDENT in yourself that no matter what situation, you speak your truth, even when everyone else around you is saying something different. I believe I gave that group an entirely new perspective on how to interpret "The Cave". Not everyone has to follow in our exact footsteps. We can break the cycle before we pass it on to our children and families so they can have a fresh start!
Today, ask yourself what can you do to break the cycle? Break the patter? What can you do TODAY to make you more confident in your ability to speak your truth? How can you be more confident in your ability to live, work, play and speak your mind.
As always, if you need help.. ask.