In my last blog post, I talked about a breakthrough I had at a luxury manifestation retreat in the Bahamas. This post is part two of that. It relates to the breakthrough I shared in my last post, but was a much deeper experience. (The events I’m describing here happened after the events of the previous blog post.)
The last morning of the retreat we had a guided music meditation, hosted by an incredible musician who goes by “A Soul Call Joel” on all platforms. He is a guitarist who works with India Arie, and an all around amazing guy. You know those people who make you feel immediately calm and grounded when you are in their presence? That’s Joel.
When I first saw this music meditation on the schedule (before I met Joel), I wasn’t overly excited about it. Full disclosure, I usually don’t like affirmation songs and music.
The morning of, I found a spot sharing one half of a giant plush white chair in the living room of our villa, put my notebook on my lap and my water bottle on the floor next to me and settled in. Joel did a sound check and got everything set up while we chatted and enjoyed the ocean views through the massive walls of windows that surrounded us. After sitting next to Joel at dinner the night before and getting to know him, I went into this meditation thinking it was just going to be a chill, laid back time. It was not.
Joel instructed us to focus on our breathing and close our eyes as he played and sang. He started a song called, “I am the love of my life.” We took some more deep breaths to the hypnotic sounds of his guitar, and he said, “Now take two minutes, and watch the movie of your life from birth to now.”
Mere seconds into this exercise, I started to hear sniffles and quiet crying from the women around me.
I’ve done a lot of therapy and trauma processing, so going back over my life in this way isn’t new to me. My first thought was, “Oh, fuck, I’m about to watch a very sad movie.”
I followed instructions though, and started at my birth. I thought that what would strike me would be the trauma and the sadness I remembered from my childhood. The isolation and the loneliness.
But when I watched the movie of my life starting from birth, it wasn’t at all like my memory of it. What struck me was not the trauma, but the love. I was shocked to see so much love and support directed at me from so many different people. (By this point, I am also crying enthusiastically.)
I couldn’t believe it. My whole life, I had always vaguely felt like it was just me on my own, isolated and different from other people. I thought that I didn’t feel love and support and belonging because people weren’t giving me enough love and support and belonging. I really believed that on a subconscious level.
And that’s kind of a shitty thing to admit, but I had this really deep unconscious belief that if the people in my life loved me enough, I would be able to feel it.
And I couldn’t feel it.
But when I watched the movie of my life, I was so blown away by how much everyone in my life was loving me, supporting me, rooting for me and genuinely wanting me to succeed. And meanwhile, I’d been going through life feeling alone.
I had been feeling like people didn’t love me enough, feeling like I couldn’t be vulnerable, I couldn’t show any weakness, because people would want to exploit it and take me down. It was a very unconscious me vs. them attitude and this pervasive thought of, “I need to protect myself from these people.”
When I could see everything from a different vantage point as an outside observer, I could see that these people never wanted to hurt me. They love me. They’ve been trying so hard to support me, and love me.
And that’s when I realized that the loneliness and the isolation and the lack of connection that I had been feeling was not because people weren’t giving me love, it was because I wasn’t receiving it.
That realization blew my mind.
It was like I had a jar with the top on, and people were pouring love into it. And it’s just hitting the top of the jar and bouncing off. And then I’m saying there’s not enough love. There’s not enough love being poured on.
In truth, there was a lot of love being poured on, I just wasn’t receiving it. The top was on the fucking jar.
I realized that my way of being – not wanting to show weakness, not wanting to be vulnerable, not wanting anyone to see me sweat – was the reason I couldn’t feel love. I wasn’t being authentic. I wasn’t letting people see the real me.
They couldn’t see the authenticity, the “weakness,” those times of struggle that I hid. And that’s why I couldn’t connect with them.
I had noticed with my business partner and with my wife that when I would have these (rare) moments that I would label “weakness”, true moments of vulnerability, of humanity, of struggling with something or crying about something, I could tell they were happy about it. I could feel them leaning in and smiling.
And I interpreted that as, “These assholes. They want to see me weak! If they really loved me, why would they want that? I’m not going to give them the satisfaction.”
It’s crazy to admit that I had these subconscious thoughts about people in my life who loved me, but it made me mad that they were happy when I felt like I was weak. And what I got during that meditation was that they weren’t happy that I was feeling bad. They wanted to connect with me, because they love me, they wanted an opportunity to support me, and to actually connect with me.
And when I’m in those moments, that’s when they’re actually able to contribute to me.
I realized that it feels so good to contribute to other people. I love doing that. And I had been withholding that gift from the people in my life, I had not been letting them contribute to me in any real way.
I’d been letting them contribute to me in terms of doing things for me like implementing things for me and doing tasks for me, but in terms of actually letting them see me at my most vulnerable, and show up for me and support me the way that they want to, the way that we all want to, the way that allows us to truly connect, I had not been letting them do that.
I was so scared that if I opened up, I would get hurt.
Before this exercise, when I looked back on my life, I remembered the people who were mean to me. I remembered the frenemies who tried to sabotage me and make my life harder or make me look bad. I remembered the kids who told me I was ugly or told me I was fat. That stuff that really stuck with me.
I made those painful events mean that people are cruel and I can’t trust them with my sensitive heart. But when I watched this movie of my life, I saw that those people who were mean to me were such a minority, and that 95% of the people in my life or more loved me. The vast majority of people in my life had been loving me and supporting me and I couldn’t see it. I was so closed off because of those few people who didn’t love and support me (which I now understand was for their own reasons that had nothing to do with me).
I closed myself off in response to the pain, and then I was closed off to all the love and support, too.
So the commitment that I’m making after seeing this is to be vulnerable, to be honest, to be open, and to allow people to see who I really am, and to contribute to me in a real way,
Because I understand now that that is the only way to feel true connection and to actually receive the love and support that has been all around me for my whole life.
I decided to share this breakthrough with you in a very warts and all way, because I hope that it helps you.
And if you feel that lack that I felt, I would encourage you to ask yourself if there truly is any real lack, or if you merely need to open the jar and let in everything that is already there for you.
Note: This blog post is adapted from a live video I did sharing this experience. If off the cuff, live talking is your jam, check that video out here.