Thursday, April 10, 2014

Soul Work

In my last post, which was really my first post, I came out of the mental health closet. This was one of my most extreme acts of vulnerability to date. And so far, people have received my messy, beautiful truth so kindly.  

My best friend wrote: "You are more than the sum of your anxious and ambitious parts."

A family member offered a prayer: "May your journey become easier and easier - until the trudging becomes floating."

And from my sister: "only good can come from honesty".

Each of these touches me deeply. Each shines a bright, warm light on the broken places and memories that I had closed off in the dark.

Messages of support have come from all over, representing even those times and former relationships that make me cringe in self-criticism. A friend from high school said she remembers me as an "all around fun, joyful, curious, sensitive (in a good way) and full-of-light person".  This truly blew me away. My own memory of myself during that period is that I was critical and kind of an outsider, faking my way into acceptance. Because many of my childhood and high school friendships faded, I assumed that others remembered me the same way. What kindness, then, for this friend to reflect back to me a light-hearted version of myself from the past. 

We are all responsible for figuring out our own selves, and fixing our own shit. Because it turns out that if you can't handle your own self then you can't handle much at all.

Unfortunately, it seems that we can only figure ourselves out through risk and vulnerability, as the ultra-wise truth-tellers Brene Brown and Glennon Melton have discovered. They are both empowering others to come forward into the light, and many of us are going for it. Doesn't mean we aren't scared. But here's why we bother (from the Momastery blog): 
"Our sacred scared is our deepest fear- the one we hide because we think that if anyone knew about it they wouldn’t love us anymore. What we find when we share our sacred scared is that it’s the very thing we should be sharing more. Because our sacred scared is the key that unlocks our humanity. When we share it, people love us more because we’ve given them permission to love themselves more. Sharing our sacred scared is like handing a world full of messy, waiting people an invitation to show up as they are."
It took me all of the last 35 years to name and share my sacred scared. I guess that is the first step. I'm just beginning to discover the corrupting power of my inner critic, and to see those parts of me that have been exiled. It's time to invite them each back into the light.

This is difficult "soul work," and so it is holy. We cannot feel the God inside ourselves when we are all broken and hidden. We cannot do our best work in the world when we are riddled with holes.

I don't expect to be perfect. Actually, I don't even want to be perfect anymore. That is impossible, and also would be kind of boring. But I would like to live without shame, and maybe shine a light forward for some others as well.

Walk with me, friends. I have a feeling there is some awesome stuff up ahead.

Photo credit


  1. Shine on my love, and I will walk with you.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, Katherine! It takes so much courage to write what you did and I feel so much compassion for your suffering, having had my own battle with anxiety and an inner critic. Just two days ago I re-watched Brene Brown's TED talk about vulnerability and so I can't imagine it was by accident that I found your post today. My heart goes out to you as you grow and make peace with all of the parts of you that make you the wonderful person, wife, and mother that you are!

    1. Thank you, Jenna, for these kind and beautiful words! We are all in this together, eh? All the best to you!

  3. I love you, I love you, I love you!