“I peeled away, layer by arduous layer, the parts of myself I was no longer convinced were mine. The lesson in the wallpaper.”
When I was younger, my family moved into an old Victorian home that had been built in the late 1800s. It was surprisingly in good shape, as it had just needed some updating and cosmetic changes before we could move in. Being well over 100 years old when we bought it, it became clear the many families who had called this house home had all left their marks upon it. From initials carved into the thick wood of the barn walls, notches on an old wooden window frame showing the heights of various children, to 515 layers of wallpaper that needed to be stripped off.
It was the wallpaper that stuck with me after all these years and what came to mind the other day when I was pondering something that was occurring in my life. After many hours of work peeling and stripping off the layers of old wallpaper, we discovered the original walls were made of the most beautiful mahogany wood with the magnificent carvings along the edges. Simple, stunning woodwork that once some love and polish had been applied, became lustrous.
These beautiful walls had lost their magic by years of taking on what everyone else thought they needed. Becoming reflections of everyone else’s dreams and visions of what they should be like and in the process of becoming something else entirely, they lost everything that made them unique.
Kind of like me.
I have been so many different versions of myself over the years, depending on the situations I found myself in; I didn’t know who the real me was anymore. Honestly, I am not sure I had ever even given myself a chance to get to know me before the world got in the way. I had become a chameleon, changing myself to fit the needs of others, morphing into what my mom needed me to be, my family needed, work needed, friends needed and never once giving a second thought to what I needed. I took on layers and layers of life and covered up everything original in the process. I had a lot of learned behavior that just wasn’t working for me any longer. I made the decision to figure out what treasure laid hidden behind all the years of experience, outside influences and expectations of others.
I spent a week alone in the north woods of Maine. A time when I did not have to be anything to anyone. A time when all I needed to do was lose myself in the woods and have long overdue conversations with my soul. I traveled parts of my mind and thoughts I had never adventured in before. With the cacophony of the world silenced for the first time in my entire life, I heard the fledging sound of my own voice urging me to learn how to fly.
I peeled away, layer by arduous layer, the parts of myself I was no longer convinced were mine. Learning something about myself underneath each and every one of them. Just because we have done something the same way for many, many years – doesn’t make it the right way or right for our souls. Just because our motivations and wants in life feel like our own, doesn’t mean they weren’t the result of what others wanted for us or from us. Sometimes we convince ourselves that something we believe or dream about came from within, only to realize after it never was ours to begin with.
Within the silence of a moment can we converse with the inner workings of our mind and discover all our hidden layers, the treasure we have kept hidden for so long. My silence in the woods was overwhelming and with each layer discarded – soul affirming.
I pulled and peeled; cry and shouted out in anger. Anger at myself for becoming trapped while trying to please a world that never once took my soul into consideration before burying it under what it wanted from me. I found and dusted off the woman I was born to be. I stared into her eyes and begged forgiveness for the years I never took care of her. I took her hand as the sunshine streamed through the canopy of trees over my head and led her finally out into the light. Eyes shining bright with tears, I embraced her for the first time and fully revealed her inner light, beauty, and true empathic nature.
Never again will the layers of what the world wants, bury her. She has come fully into her own power, strength and vitality with a clear understanding that now the world she walks in will be one of her own creations. Where she can live, love and laugh with everything she has. Buried under layers she waited patiently for me to find her. The work was tedious; the results – beautiful.
Do you know who you were before the world got in the way? Do you remember? Peel back the layers of experience and learned behavior and start the renovation of your soul – live and breathe you. The world will adjust. Honor yourself and make sure your thoughts and actions are a direct result of what you want, believe in and hold true.
The lesson in the wallpaper.
The time is NOW to heal what is within ~ mind, body and spirit.
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