A while ago I sent out a wish to the Universe. I had been looking for a place to go on a retreat – possibly a silent retreat. There didn’t seem to be anything to fit what I wanted. A little while later a friend told me about their caravan beside a shore in the middle of a forrested area. It sounded great to be going back to Nature so I said yes when it was offered to me as place to stay. With no real idea of what it would be like I’m now in that caravan enjoying an almost silent retreat. There are hardly any other people around on the site, no phone or wifi, and towns are a drive away.
We don’t often get chance to step off the world completely. Being left to make our own entertainment can seem rather strange after all of the busyness of our everyday lives. It’s interesting that I wished for solitude but today, having been in a mostly people free zone for a few days, I’ve been restless. Perhaps because the silence has given me plenty of time to think. Or that there is space for my fears to move to the front of my mind. Self-doubt is a very powerful voice. Somewhere between the time of being born and now a strand of thinking has been growing, taking root and influencing my life. It’s the ‘I’m not good enough’ thought, the ‘I’m rubbish at that’ feeling, the anxiety in the pit of my stomach at having to put my abilities on show to other people.
We all give room to self-doubt one way or another. My Guides say it happens when we forget to affirm to ourselves that we have all the abilities and talents we need for an abundant life. When we listen to the external judgements because we feel like we need to belong to a group or community. When we become busy judging others because we fear that they might look too closely at us and find us wanting. Self-doubt is the absence of unconditional love for ourselves. We have learned to limit our love. My Guides sat with me today as I worked my way through the fears that underpin my self-doubt. In the silence of this place and space I let doubt emerge so I could feel the effect it has on my creative energy.
This inner retreat, stepping away from distracting myself from my doubts, has been a challenge. It’s often easier not to look or acknowledge where I am self-sabotaging. Then I can always say it’s someone or something else’s fault when I’m paralysed by procrastinating. Finding the courage of my convictions is hard when the roots of self-doubt go so deep. A big part of it is about the attitudes to women I soaked up when I was growing up. Lots of ideas that women were only ‘good’ if they stayed in the background, were modest and humble in a subservient way and that a women’s power was all about running a home full of children. Boys and men were the people who deserved praise and the opportunity to show their skills. I even think I was ashamed to be a girl.
The saying is ‘old habits die hard’. Patterns we soak up early in life can be hidden so deep we don’t even realise they are driving our current lives. They are assumptions about the way we believe we should live our life that are hard to shift. This time of retreat has been perfect for letting me see what is holding me back. Of how I am reacting to old stereotypes and being fearful of stepping past them. My nature has been modified by the nurturing I received. I have no animosity for the way in which I was socialised. My parents did what they thought was best for me based on what the community around them was doing. However, I have choices. I can continue to react to an old pattern and be the stereotype woman of that nurturing. Or I can rediscover my true nature.
Stepping out of old patterns is a choice. Doing so is honouring the person you are on the inside. Have you taken a retreat into your true nature recently? Do you find silent times and spaces in places that let you check out who you really are? Try sitting for a while in silence and let your inner self speak to you of all the abilities and talents that you possess.
Day 192 of my blogging challenge. Written on Thursday 26th May 2016.