I spoke to a dear friend of mine yesterday over FaceTime, and from the moment he clicked on, I was hit with a powerful wave of distressing energy as it cascaded off of him. He has been going through a dark and gnarly time in his life of late, one in which conflict has seemed to come at him from all angles; one that has left him feeling bereft of allies and disenfranchised from where he once stood socially and occupationally. My heart broke for him, for we have all been through times that test our resolve, that try our soul, that threaten to thrash our entire belief system into shreds. As he spoke, however, I became increasingly aware of the growing vibration emanating from between the two halves of his breaking heart…it was a profound dissonance…and one that I had felt before, coming from inside my own chest, during my darkest of times. This growing and persistent discord had been responsible for reflecting my inner dissonance onto my outer realm; my internal battleground mirrored the external chaos that kept appearing in my life at the time. And having gone through it before, I had a inkling as to how to help him.
Feeling the familiar clash galvanized everything that I had learned from surviving my most significant challenges of loss, loneliness, sexual assault, violence, fractured family, physical brutality, and all else that had brought me to the brink of death more than once. It galvanized what I have come to know as truth about our life experience. And one of those truths was the fact that fear-based negative emotions are the most corrosive toxins we can hold inside our body, our mind, or let erode our soul.
In order to harmonize our mind/body/spirit, our internal and external being, our soul with our life…we must purge that negative emotion. We must express it. Get the gnarly, hurtful, wretched thoughts that we host or hold onto, out. Monsters grow exponentially in the dark. The biggest of them being feelings of shame, guilt, unworthiness, anger. I know, intimately, that these emotions are the most corrosive things to our hearts, to our bodies, our lives, our communities, our human spirit and our experience in this world.
If you do whatever you can to identify, vocalize, and exorcise these feelings inside of you—and the surrounding circumstances to which they are attached—from your very being, then you will change the tenor and experience of your life forever. Release, erase, eradicate their imprint on your very soul, by any means necessary: find a licensed therapist in which to confide, journal until your hand threatens to fall off, scream into a void, find a body-worker and get Rolfed, just as long as you find your method of all-encompassing catharsis.
I’m not encouraging you to repeat old stories for the sake of wallowing, eliciting pity or staying in a victim mentality. Quite the contrary, if you are waking up each morning, grabbing old baggage, and emotionally slogging it around with you all day long, STOP. Take this opportunity to open your psychological suitcase. Go through each article, each inciting traumatic experience, each resultant emotional issue, or pot-shot at your own self-worth. Express how you feel about it. Hold it, bury your face and cry into it, chuck it against the wall in radical fury. And then LET. IT. GO. Get rid of the entire suitcase. Even if this poisonous pain is a family heirloom, inherited from your mother, father, aunt, uncle or cousin. It is heavy, caustic, cancerous. It is exhausting. And you most assuredly DO NOT DESERVE to carry it.
You may think that your strength of character—the muscular spirit that you have built—has been the result of carrying your heavy baggage, but I assure you, it is not. Your strength has come from picking yourself up after each fall. It has come from pushing yourself up after each perceived failure, injury or loss. All of these things that you trip, slip, and stumble upon are life’s burpees, the opportunity to workout your mental, emotional, spiritual muscles. Your openness? Your willingness to show up to life’s obstacle course fully present, aligned and accounted for? THAT is where your strength comes from. Choosing everyday to live an authentic and aware life—free from the discord that misaligns you and creates resistant drag in your soul, in your life—garners invaluable results, unmatched by any gym workout.
And one of the most essential steps on your way to a healthy, whole, harmonious and happy state of being, is to purge the corrosive feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness and anger. You owe it to yourself to get it out. Do the work. Dare to put yourself, your health, your wellbeing first. Challenge yourself to let go of all that weighs you down, so that you can allow yourself to start fresh each day, unfettered, untethered. Get to know yourself, every dark and gnarly corner. Allow yourself to understand from where the dissonance comes. Give yourself a break. Allow yourself to feel good about who you are presently, and who you are becoming.
I told my dear friend what I knew to be true. I encouraged him to start within. I pled for him to look inside and focus on all of the brilliance, creativity, and talent that he possessed, and to purge the opinions, expectations, accusations that outsiders have hurled at him; to sort his suitcase, and only keep a D.O.P kit’s worth of essentials so that he can move forward, and contribute at each destination along his journey, picking up what he needs along the way, and moving, henceforth, with happiness and ease. He will be surprised by the way the world conspires on behalf of his new-found alignment, his new found love for himself and harmony within. For, it cannot help but be reflected back to him…
Polo REO Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile. Growing up, [...]