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Beyond the Mask

In a recent discussion with a friend we were reviewing how to identify those moments when we weren’t being authentic.  For many, it seems that our masks have played such a role that we often forget we are wearing them.  They become comfortable.  With the limited vision we are frequently unaware of those inauthentic moments until it’s too late.  Sometimes we even believe the façade.

How do we recognize ourselves in those times when our truth is too painful to face, or our vulnerability too great to accept our true selves or reveal ourselves to others? Sometimes it was the pain of anger, guilt, or shame.  Sometimes it was disinterest or discomfort with others. Always in some sort of fear. Often those old lessons of ‘never tell the truth if it’ll hurt someone’ affixed the mask of the moment.  At those times we seek to hide: we look for something to deflect, divert or avoid the threat of discovery, exposure, and judgment.  This behavior holds us separate because what we are presenting with our words and our actions is incongruent with our energy vibration as it’s felt by others.

As energy beings our frequency affects those around us with or without conscious awareness of it.  This aspect of ourselves connects to this aspect of everyone we are in contact with.  We’re essentially walking in each other’s soup all the time. It’s another reason to make sure you have alone time to clear yourself of the energy of others.  Clearing your field allows you to start feeling and sensing your own energy.  It allows the fog of confusion to lift so you can clearly see what it is that feels good and where there is discomfort that needs attending.

When we talk about healing, we know discomfort is the symptom that draws us to focus on what needs attention in our lives. This is true regardless of the type of discomfort or pain we experience.  When we connect with another in discomfort, we must be able to discern what that discomfort is.  It gets confusing when we wear masks: When what we see and hear at face-value doesn’t match what we are feeling inside.   So how can we restore our natural expression in a way that makes us and others feel safe?

It all starts with awareness without judgment in the present moment. You need to be able to know how and what you feel.   Learning to sense and hear your body talk is a key.  Well, while we’re out there busy living, engaging with others, connecting here, there, and everywhere, we have opportunities to receive information, guidance, and lessons in every moment.  The kind of knowing that helps you avoid more discomfort, save a few steps, move you closer to your goals and more ease.   However, you must release the past blocks, remove the old barriers, and take deliberate action to be observant and present.

Most people who know me or my personal journey will laughingly admit, sometimes I’m like the “smartest kid in the slow class”.  It often takes getting hit over the head with the proverbial sledgehammer before I get an important lesson.  I’ll flail around an issue, bumping into, and tripping over the obvious-to-others lessons, until I injure myself enough to stop throwing myself at it relentlessly and study the evidence of my experience.  Almost always, when I do this, I can quickly get clarity on the heart of the matter.  When I take the time to stop, get quiet, clear the field, and listen to what my body and heart are telling me needs attention, I can hear, see, and sense what I need to release the pain or discomfort.

Start with staying focused in the present or near present.  By being open in the present, you can pick up signals and impressions about what’s happening around you.  Set an intention that you wish to be more observant and less reactionary to the events occurring around you.  From this state of being, you can sense your body with more awareness.  Notice when you grabbed and held a breath.  Did your palms start to sweat? Notice when your jaw clenched or your muscles tightened.  Notice when your heart started to beat faster.  Can you feel the tension in your body building? Something is happening in that moment.  Observe it. Look for clues to what’s happening in your environment. Is an old story being told? Is there someone who feels threatening?  Is the situation bad for you? Who is sharing this experience? How does being with then make you feel.  Safe? Scared? Angry?  Are you elated or joyful? Is it an old story, an old belief?  Does it require review?

When you learn to read your body and hearts signals then you can determine exactly what is causing the pain and you get to choose what you’re going to do to remedy it. Are these new feelings? Is this just like every other time when….? Do you feel ignored or shut down?  Do you feel praise or acknowledgement? There are many people who hide their joy as much as their sorrow.  So, anything can be a block or barrier.  Each of us has individual learning experiences, honor yours as unique.

We spend our lives learning the projected fears of others and how we to project those fears ourselves. We learned right and wrong good and back set against the backdrop of rigid outdated mores.  You aren’t required to do what works for others.  You aren’t required to be self-sacrificing or denying your needs.  So, when you get quiet and listen, notice what your thoughts are. What is your breath and body telling you. What are you afraid to say or do? Is the fear real or just projected? What does your heart tell you that you need?

What can you do differently the next time without a mask? How can you express yourself in this moment or take an action that allows you to take a different step forward? Can you step out onto the hot coals of vulnerability knowing that worst case scenario, your scars will belay the courage it takes to discover how to walk the rocky times in life.

For me as I mentioned, I often only come to these greater understandings long after my experience, when I sit in the discomfort of not feeling safe to be myself.  I review the interaction. I look at why I held myself separate and in fear.  I examine those stories and beliefs; the reasons for my position, to find out how true and real they are now.  If they are old, untrue, or no longer relevant, I commit to a greater presence in those situations so I can choose to respond differently.  I can choose to stay or go, I can choose to speak up or stay quiet, but these choices come from what feels right and true in that moment.  I don’t hold that same expectation or response for all future situations, just the one in the moment.

As I move through my life now, I spend much more time in the present.  The lessons come easier and quicker.  By choosing what is right for me in the moment, I can stay true to myself and allow my free expression.  There are times I know I don the mask without awareness; an ingrained, unconscious action to protect myself from some vulnerability or fear.  The discomfort of disfiguring myself always alerts me to something that still needs work and healing.  I can stand in that truth without discomfort. My early story includes long stretches through dark tunnels, hairpin turns that sometimes toppled me, and left me bruised and hurt. At times throughout my life I felt broken.  Those journey-shaping experiences gouged deep grooves into my life.  I’ve been working a recording over that for some time.  My life is a work in progress.  Everyone’s is.  We’re all just working on different projects.  Not to mention that each day we are part of all the energies that abound.  Those energies of fear and love that vibrate around us are the clues to understanding our hidden pain.  Being present and aware, feeling your way through your life is how you will identify the barriers and blocks you hold to unleashing your most authentic self.

To stand in your power, your realness, your YOU, takes courage.  It takes a deep knowing that you are worthy, valuable, and unique.  It takes a self-understanding that doesn’t require explanation to others and the knowledge that we each create our own happiness from the inside out.

From the inside out with love…

Nora Helbich

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