Know Thyself

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”Lao Tzu

Almost five years ago, I embarked on an intensive and exhaustive journey of self-discovery. I wish I could say it was because I felt the need to know myself better- to embrace and grow from my past. But it wasn’t. Up until October of 2009, I was living the life that I thought I was supposed to. I had grown up without severe emotional or physical damage, had managed to graduate from high school with relatively good grades, got into my dream university where I met my dream man, fell in love, got married and started working on growing our family. I was industrious and creative. I used my musical talents to teach lessons while keeping house, sewing, crafting, painting, creating beautiful weddings, throwing elaborate parties, you name it. I was the queen bee of busy- and in all honesty, I was good at every one of those things. I probably could have continued on that course and had a pretty good life. But somewhere inside, I had this nagging feeling that I was using those talents as an excuse to run away from myself.

Anyone who knows me might wonder what the heck I am talking about. I get along with all types of people, I make friends easily, I am the life of the party, and I am a brave outspoken soul who has never backed down from a good debate or fight. I do my best to be happy with myself, my marriage and family and do what I can to lift and inspire others. Yet, through the grace of a very patient and loving Father in Heaven, I have also come to know that these outward expressions of “I’ve got it together” were a way of coping with who I am.

Let me explain.

From the time I was quite small, I had an uncommon ability. I could see things that others couldn’t. I stared for hours at vibrant colors that would swirl around objects (especially electrical ones like the tv and microwave), animals and humans. I loved observing people’s interactions with nature and with each other. I was fascinating by discrepancies between words and actions. I witnessed incredible displays of struggles for power between people, quickly determining that humanity sucked. (People literally suck energy out of each other.) I saw beings filled by amazing light that made me so happy I felt like I could fly. And I saw such deep and ugly darkness that I wet my bed on more than one occasion because I was too terrified to move.

That wasn’t all. I knew things about people. My parents always thought it odd that I was surrounded by adults who would converse with me as easily as they would any other grown-up. I’m not exaggerating when I say that random strangers shared stories that, I’m sure, they wouldn’t tell a priest. Looking back, I wish I collected a dollar every time someone said to me, “I don’t know why I am telling you this.” or “I’ve never shared that with anyone in my whole life!” But even if they didn’t speak their dramas and crisis’ with a 5 year old kid, I would still have known something hidden about them because of what I could see. Additionally, I felt things. If someone was hurting, I hurt with them. If someone was sad, I was sad. I laughed when others laughed and quickly got angry if others were angry. And I intuitively sensed how to temporarily ease their pain.

These abilities separated me from my family and peers. I was looked at strangely when I would remark, comment or speak out about something. I heard statements like this all the time:

“[Your daughter] must be an old soul!”

“You are so mature for your age.”

“How did you get to be so wise?”

or my very favorite,

“Who told you that???”

This was the story of my life. Frankly, I didn’t like it.

It was a remarkable challenge to understand that I was different, unique even. I always wanted to fit in so badly but was deathly afraid of what I could see around people. Ultimately, I made up stories about my life to cover my insecurities and doubts about my place in the world. Sadly, it also left me feeling very alone. I was sure that whatever I could see was bad and that I couldn’t tell anyone because they wouldn’t understand- or worse, not believe me and think I was bad. So, I lived my life never making any truly close friends, but constantly surrounding myself with people. The illusion worked! Well, at least it did for many years.

During my adolescent years I unconsciously learned how to “make” things happen for me. For example, I would tell people that I had won a poetry writing contest before results were back. I did this with song writing competitions, band and choir solo competitions, speech and debate competitions, selections to committees and state youth representative programs and national ones. I won them all. And anytime something happened that I didn’t like I would actively seek out something else to become accomplished in. These were my first experiences manipulating creative energy. And I liked it. I found a strange sense of pleasure at the thought of being able to “control” energy. Little did I know…

Fast forward to October 2009.

My picture perfect life was not so perfect. A series of miscarriages, failed adoptions, job losses, moves and constant struggles to make close friends left me wondering if I knew anything. My incredible husband encouraged (begged) me to seek answers to my visions and feelings. He really wanted me to try and find out what they meant and what I needed to do with my “gifts” (his words at the time, not mine). I think he was at the end of his rope with late night phone calls and knocks on doors from the broken-hearted, sad, or depressed who wanted me to listen to them and “make them” feel better. I had a hard time not being flattered, somehow managing to make my identity all-inclusive of anything that would feed my drive to feel important and needed. Unfortunately, his request fell on deaf ears. I didn’t want the answer to be that I was cursed. So I didn’t ask. Despite the fact that inside I was stretched, tired, angry, and thoroughly confused about what I saw with my eyes, dreams, impressions and, what felt like, inescapable calls to jump into action and save people. From volunteering time in my community and church to filling every ounce of my free time with activities, I was definitely not at peace.

I ended up asking my friends and some acquaintances generic questions about how they coped with this problem or that. What a mistake!! The barrage of advice (some completely un-solicited) was unbearable. I ended up with more people who felt like I could fix them. It didn’t help. I asked for help from my clergy, but never felt like I could divulge everything. I was sure I would be excommunicated for seeing things and I really didn’t want that. They were always kind and loving, with great words of wisdom and encouragement- but it didn’t help. I thought that maybe I needed professional help. So I started going to therapy. After a year of giving half answers, minimal effort to attempts at delving- I quit going. It didn’t help.

Desperate for a different result, I finally confided in my husband that I thought I might be crazy. I trust him more than any person on this planet, but I really didn’t want to hear a lecture. Instead, I was amazed by his courage to hear my pleas with patience and love. He simply repeated the counsel to ask. He didn’t judge me. He didn’t think I was less of a wife or a mom because I was struggling. I felt his surety and faith that Heavenly Father knew the answers. He held me in his arms as a realization began to form and before I knew it, I was doing something unexpected- something I had never done before. I was asking Heavenly Father out loud to help me see myself as HE does.

Over the following months, I poured all my free time into finding answers. My past experiences prompted me to approach the threshold of self-discovery with great caution. This time felt different. Instead of relying on my inward initiatives to power my search, I felt fortified by a different kind of energy when I asked out loud for help. Interestingly, I also became acutely aware of a drop in my personal production when I would forget to accept my need for help and tried to force the answers or my changes prematurely. Somehow using my voice was making the difference. My ears could hear my pleading, and I truly feel God was listening and answering.

These were the first drops in the bucket to understanding myself and the world I live in. It’s been a humbling, relieving and awesomely exhilarating experience! Drop by drop, one step at a time I have come to a clearer knowledge of at least three things:

1. My abilities are gifts from God (Yes, husband. You were right!)

2. I am loved more than words could ever describe, and

3. Willingness to examine self through a divine lens can change your world.

It’s been four years since I got those answers and they still apply today. For the first time in my life, I feel settled about my gifts, who I am, and what I’m meant to do. Who would have thought that all it took was asking? EnerJourney has emerged from this continuing experience and I am honored to share what I have learned with you.  Whatever your reasons for stopping by, I hope some snippet of what I’ve written will help you as you navigate your personal path to self understanding and mastery. Please visit often.

Until next time, Light and Blessings to you!

LuanaLei