The disowned parts of ourselves are the reason for our suffering. There is a line from A Course in Miracles that says all forms of suffering are the result of spiritual disconnection. Spiritual connection implies an understanding that in the eyes of the Creator, we are inherently perfect, whole, and in need of no fixing.
In this article, I want to tell you about the part of me that I disowned so that I can welcome her into the spiritual circle and so that you can welcome your banished parts back into the fold as we sit in meditation.
She began her judgement of herself in gymnastics around the age of ten. She began to notice how she wasn’t as small and slight as the other girls, how her thighs were bigger and how she felt sort of clumsy in comparison to their grace and ease and perfect hair and sparkly faces. She became fixated on trying to make her body smaller, to stop herself from growing. This was the beginning of the separation.
In this one seemingly brief instance of comparison, she became convinced that she had uncovered what was wrong with her and thus had her mission: be smaller, and look pretty, and everything else will be easy.
By starving herself, over-exercising, and using diet pills, she managed to completely obliterate the part of herself that was hungry. There was a glitch in her system, however. The hunger kept knocking. Food became like a pacifier for her, a way of numbing the existential pain she could not yet understand – the pain of holding the belief that she was not fit for the world in the way she came, that she would always have to work harder than everyone else. She would overeat and eventually come to the overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame which reinforced her original hypothesis that she was too big.
So, she worked harder still to shut out that big problem, eventually finding cocaine to be a particularly efficient tool for slimming, numbing and separating from the hungry one. This worked for a few years. She became so distant and detached she was barely recognizable to her friends and family.
During these years I remember having distinct moments of certainty that told me I was precisely where I was meant to be. I remember a little voice that told me to stay and to keep going. I had this strange lightness around me like a knowing that there was a purpose to all of this, that even in the darkest moments of desperation and disconnection, I was being invited to something important.
My hunger was returning. I felt hungry for art and knowledge and light and warmth. I can honestly say it was a miracle that I got out of those years alive. I pushed the limits on starvation, sleep deprivation, and self harm.
The definition of a Miracle in A Course in Miracles is a shift in thinking from fear to Love.
I remember having glimpses of a version of myself that was healthy and vital, rested and nourished. I decided to enroll in university and move back in with my mom. It was like something else was moving me. For years, I made small pivots toward the Light. I relapsed over and over again, I continued to use food to numb myself and stay afloat. I flung myself into completely unhealthy romantic relationships and I actually became more sly, creative, and even spiritual, in my efforts to keep that pesky hunger at bay -compensating for it but never really taking responsibility for it. Never owning it.
Today I am still challenged, still hungry and still pivoting toward Love. I am learning how to embrace and feed and accept the disowned part of me. Today, I invite my Her to sit in solidarity with your banished selves, with our surface selves, and with our Source.
I want you to spend the next five minutes or so, envisioning this part of yourself. Please imagine all the ways in which you have witnessed this aspect of yourself, from the overt to the subtle. You may look back into your past, at your traumas, and your wounds and then gradually into present day. Notice the ways in which this fearful behaviour still shows up. For some of you it may be isolating, for others, overindulgence, maybe its complacency or judgement, maybe its laziness or defensiveness. You will recognize it by the way it makes you feel. No so hot. What I want you to do here is to imagine just watching the behaviours, witnessing the thoughts and feeling into the emotions that characterize this part of you that you would rather not showcase.
Now I want you to look for the innocence. What I mean by this is to go far enough back into your own story that you can find the place where the distortion occurred. This is the moment or general circumstance that made you feel separate, damaged, not good enough, and so on. What you are looking for here is the spot in the story where you feel compassion for this younger version of yourself, the place where you didn’t get the Love and the acceptance that you needed.
Now I want you to imagine taking this little version of you by the hand, telling them that they are perfect the way they are, that there is nothing to worry about and nothing to prove. Envision yourself telling them that you will no longer need them to carry the burden alone and that you are going to let them take a break while you explore a new and more balanced way of being.
Apologize to this version of you for any judgment or harsh treatment, tell them that you forgive their behaviour and understand that they were simply looking for peace and connection, tell them you are ready to honor and take care of them.
As you finish this conversation, imagine sitting across from this version of you, both of you relaxing into the stillness of acceptance and merging seamlessly.