It’s the second day of a yoga retreat and we are getting into the good stuff. Tapping into the wounds and the baggage in order to dump our energetic and emotional baggage so we can each move forward into the more powerful parts of the weekend.
Inner child work. The best and the worst work. It’s the most healing, and the hardest work to do. Sita Rajprem, our teacher and guide for the weekend, issued an invitation to the circle of closed-eyed women to listen to the little girl inside.
So many wounds, so much repressed sadness and powerlessness. Not because my parents were bad, they weren’t. They did the best they could, like all of us parents do, but everyone’s best looks different, and there will inevitably be wounds that we each leave in our children, and that our parents left with each of us.
Like so many in that room, the emotional upwelling that this invitation triggered was overwhelming and cleansing at the same moment. My mind saying “Oh god no, not her. If I let her out, she’ll never stop.” And the soft voice of a little girl who never felt good enough, never fit in and was never entirely sure which way to turn rising up out of my belly, whispering and crying her own truth.
I leave her alone a lot. I don’t want to deal with her because it’s hard, and yet that is where the work to heal the wounds that keep me small needs to be done.
I went to Pelee Island this weekend to put some distance between me and everything that has been going on around me. All deeply tied into my own heart, but most of which is not my job to fix. I can only witness, walk with and beside, and surrender, surrender, surrender.
It’s fucking hard because my drive is to fix it. I want everyone that I love to have magical, wonderful, happy lives. I mean, don’t we all? And I have this sense that I could help everyone have that. I have done so much of my own work that I must be able to help point the way for them too, right?
Except that’s not my job.
I am my job. That’s it. Me. No one else.
It is not my job to fix, save, or rescue anyone (as much as I might want it to be)
What I can do is lead by example. I can live my own life, and walk my own journey with confidence, vulnerability, and courage, even when it feels impossible. I can be the lighthouse.
The lighthouse doesn’t steer the ships, it just shows the way.
And I need to stop trying to steer other people’s ships. It’s giving me grey hair.
I can only do what I can do. The rest is up to others, and it’s not their job to live their lives in a way that makes me happy, to mould their lives or their choices to honour me. Because they are also not the general contractors for the universe.
Happiness, as they say, is an inside job.
And I would even go a step further to say that eternal happiness is not an achievable goal. Peace? Maybe. Contentment? Maybe. For me, the goal is to take full responsibility for myself on all levels. I am my job.
Where are you trying to be the general contractor for the universe? If you, like me, find yourself making yourself crazy with wanting to fix, save or rescue other people, I want to gently invite you to really ask yourself if that is really your job. And if, like me, you realize that it’s not, what is it keeping you from? Do you have work to do in this world that you aren’t getting to because you are so busy fixing others? Which would you rather be: Universal General Contractor or Lighthouse?