Two beautiful baby girls sit in the crib next to one another for a photo op. Their big brown eyes being their most common feature. They are not touching or smiling. The little one, must be around 6 months old, wearing yellow footie pajamas, and no hair to be seen on her bald head. The other one is a year older, by the day to be exact, for these sisters share the same birthday. She has a little ponytail on top of her dark haired head, with fly away hairs everywhere, as if she had just awakened from a nap.
I wonder about these precious babes. What were they thinking? Do they like each other? Is one jealous of the other, even in their infancy? Have the circumstances of their arrival to earth shaped their relationship today? I am transported to this picture of me and my older sister after listening to a tragic, moving story narrated by Rob Lowe from his latest book, “Love Life.” I had been enjoying his stories audibly as I met the mountain for my early morning hike each day. I was not expecting a story from Rob to suddenly have me gasping for breath between hiccups of sobbing tears. Rob was sharing an experience that occurred during his time at rehab from early in his career. It is his story, not appropriate for me to retell it here, but I highly recommend reading or listening to this particular chapter. I can honestly say that it changed me forever. My breakdown on the mountain stemmed from the empathy for the peer in his group that underwent one of the most horrific experiences I have ever heard. I was reminded of the incredible power of our childhood and how deeply it can affect us as we continue our journey into adulthood.
I have known this truth my whole life, having heard so many stories from clients well into their older years, as they still wept recounting injustices from their own childhoods. I have seen firsthand the paralyzing pain that can grip so many who are never able to shake its affects, causing mental illness, diseases, and even drug addictions as a way to escape the memories, to numb out the pain.
I thought about those 2 babies in the crib. I wish I could speak to their little hearts and minds today. I crashed Trish’s first birthday by arriving that same day. How did it feel to be so little and so quickly trumped by another little soul who needed a lot of attention? Mom admitted to being incredibly down trodden about her pregnancy with me. She did not know how she could do it. I do not blame her one bit. The thought of raising 3 children so close in age, for we had an older brother, was more than daunting. She has shared how she tried desperately to make sure we each felt equally loved.
Our past does not need to have power over our today. Sometimes it requires taking a closer look at it in order to find the root of our actions. As we all know, patterns are hard to change. As I heard Rob expose the trauma of one man’s childhood, which dictated the stifling life he had in the present, I pondered way back into my infancy. Trish was just a babe upon my arrival, removing the limelight from her. I inherently like attention, my Mom said I made sure I had it.
My reflection caused me to have softness and compassion for those babies in the crib, and also for the grown women they have become. My awareness has freed me even more as I contemplate our precious innocence. Delving more into the recesses of adolescence, I saw my younger self become obsessed with being accepted. I did not like what I saw in the mirror, so I spent hours trying to transform my unruly hair in an effort to be prettier. If I were pretty, then I would be loved and accepted, I thought. How obnoxious this must have felt to my sister, no wonder she did not hang out with me. She went on to become the popular pretty one in my eyes. These early coping strategies carry into our adult lives until we become aware and don’t want to carry them anymore. It was not until about 4 years ago that I dug really deep, sick of my life and my choices, and made some drastic life altering changes, focusing on inner beauty. I am still me, but my inner beauty is very bright, I feel as if I carry a secret treasure inside. Healing the heart is the only way to a happy fulfilling life. The power of self healing is like waving a magic wand, healing those around us as well.
Take a look at your childhood, are there behaviors that need to be extinguished? Is it time to leave the past where it belongs, in the past? Is it time to live today, free?
Release to Unleash!
What childhood behaviors are you still using that no longer benefit you and are holding you back from living happy and free?