Remembering the Inner Me


I remember feeling free.

Free to play.

Free to create.

Free to believe.

When I was younger, I was so in-tune with my higher self, so connected to my spirituality and the world around me, that these became the tenets which seemed to guide me through my childhood.

Maybe that’s simply how it is when you’re young—you remain open until the pressures and conditioning of society begin to shape your beliefs, before your own experiences shift some of that focus away from the internal and onto the external, before you begin listening to others’ guidance instead of trusting the soul of yourself.

These past few months, as I heal some long-lingering emotional wounds from those experiences, from that conditioning, from trusting outside of myself instead of believing in all that I already am, I can certainly see how my external experiences have shaped me. More than that, I can see how I lost sight of the divinity that I still carry within, that is instilled in every living being.

But back then I didn’t feel so restricted by my thoughts. Back then, I didn’t have all these layers of harmful beliefs that I’ve been working so tirelessly at shedding as of late. Back then, I wasn’t in survival mode. Back then, I knew how to live joyfully. Back then, I knew how to feel alive.

When I was young, I knew how to play.

When I was young, I knew how to create.

When I was young, I knew how to believe.

I’d spend hours in the basement playing with my Barbies—not so much making up stories for them as just picking out their clothes and styling their hair, getting lost in my own daydreams. I realize now it was a type of meditation—much like washing the dishes or doing the gardening.

Active hands calm an active mind.

Throughout middle and high school, I spent all of my free time writing in notebooks—terrible first novels that won’t ever see the light of day but that had me excited for what I was creating, for the words that were flowing through my hand to the page. During class, these characters’ voices would be so strong, I’d write snippets of their dialogue on the corners of my worksheets. In the quiet moments before first period, I’d drop my backpack, lean against the lockers, and furiously jot down notes in a little hand-held Five-Star notebook I carried around. Study Halls were godsends—homework aside, I’d pull out my notebook and spend the next hour lost in another world—a world of wishes, a world of imagination, a world of my own creation, coming to life.

The words came effortlessly.

I distinctly remember sitting on the pink carpeted floor of my childhood bedroom when I was somewhere around twelve years old, cutting out quotes and stories from a magazine about angels, taking the time to absorb the wisdom contained within the passages. I believed in angels then. As I grew older and experienced heartache and humiliation—and especially when I got sick—I became so angry at God that I denounced their existence. Because where were my angels then? Where was God?

“Right here,” I hear them say now. “We were always right here...”

But I closed myself off back then. I sacrificed my spirit to the will of others, let myself become so influenced in even the smallest of ways that I buried myself down until I became nothing more than a shell of who I’d once been.

I forgot how to play.

I forgot how to create.

I forgot how to believe.

On one of those days, sitting on that pink carpet of my bedroom, I remember diligently cutting out quotes to hang on my mirror—as every pre-teen does, of course—when a thought came to me: Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing!

It’s a phrase that’s pretty commonplace, but back then I’d never heard it, and it struck my young self as something so incredibly profound, I had to write it in my quotes journal.

Yep. I kept one of those, too.

(This was clearly a pre-Pinterest childhood.)

I didn’t entirely understand what it meant back then. It was like a tiny little nugget of wisdom that flowed into my mind and buried itself in my heart, occasionally popping up in my conscious thought over the years before being pushed aside again.

Over the past decade, as I’ve been finding my way back to myself, learning to listen to the guidance of my soul and trust in a loving God, deepening my spiritual roots and nurturing the foundation for my own growth, I’ve begun to see the manifestation of the seed that had been planted so many years ago—what has just recently begun to blossom into new understanding.

The Buddhists have a beautifully simple concept for this: As within, so without. That is, there is nothing outside of ourselves that isn’t already somewhere within us and that to believe—in ourselves, in others, in whatever we choose to believe internally, positive or negative—is to then see the physical manifestation of it in our external world.

For so long I believed I was meant to suffer. And so I suffered.

For so long I believed I had to experience lack. And so I lacked.

For so long I believed that life was about survival with only small glimpses of joy, mingled with fleeting instances of love. And so I experienced loss.

How very wrong I was.

Because I’m remembering now.

I’m remembering what it is to play with wild abandon.

I’m remembering what it is to create without care for how the world might judge.

I’m remembering how to believe unabashedly in the magic of the universe, in the beauty of a sacred connection with strangers and soulmates alike, in the power and will of divine love to overcome anything that keeps us from our purest, most authentic self.

I’m remembering how to be myself.

And I feel free.

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