When I was 19 years old, I moved to a small town that I’d never been to, where I knew no one. I was in college with people who had known me since elementary school and I wanted out. I wanted to see what would happen and whom I would attract as confidants and co-conspirators all on my own.
My container of growth had shrunken so tight around me. I could not expand and change because it meant that I was “acting different” or not being other people’s version of what Erin was supposed to be. My mirrors were reflecting back to me an iteration of myself that needed to stay the same for their comfort and security.
I wasn’t comfortable playing the role of that person anymore and knew I needed to become a stranger in a strange land to see what I was made of. It worked. It was scary and lonely but I got what I needed. I got to be me and see what that was like without any preconceived ideas of whom or what “Erin” was.
When I was 29 years old, I moved to New York with no job, only knowing two people. I had always felt too brash and loud for the west coast. You would not believe how many eye rolls I used to get for speaking my mind.
It was again time to grow beyond myself and see who I could become by letting go of who I was. I got bigger and louder. I learned how to stand up for myself and to value my "out there" opinions and ideas.
Last night I read that great Alan Watts quote as I was scrolling through Instagram: “Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” I see different versions of that quote quite a bit, as it is a popular one on social media.
Usually I see it and think, “Yeah, yeah, I’m on that already. Totally becoming myself over here. Check.” Last night it was like, wait a minute. THERE’S MORE.
Every decade has brought some major soul shedding. Aging has done this wonderful thing for me where I feel increasing permission to get weirder, more eccentric and less hung up on cultural norms. At 40, it feels like the only permission I need comes from me.
I haven’t always felt that way. There is and was pressure to be appropriate, to be relatable, to fit in, to not turn people off or turn people away, to not narrow down your options. There is a really subtle social culture of shame and reward for behaving in ways that don’t ruffle feathers or make people uncomfortable.
Our tribal instincts are very strong even in this age where many of us live alone or far away from family. Being different is not celebrated as being different can get you cast out. Being the same can become about survival.
Our bodies feel it and push back against it even though we might be straining against invisible chains. If you follow the stars you may know that we entered Mercury Retrograde officially yesterday. The common story about this planetary transit is that it’s emergency mode with travel and technology. People groan and lament about it. Much like anything that is common public knowledge, that information only scratches the surface.
We have a chance for the next few weeks to dip into the underworld. Everything may feel like it slows to a halt. Travel and tech snafus are telling you to slow down and pay attention to what’s in front of you.
This is the perfect time for a self RE-view. Retrogrades are associated with all words with the prefix ‘re’ as in revise, reconsider, renovate, reevaluate, re-do, realign, reavow, reassess, realize, rebel, reality! Let yourself be shook.
Muse on where you might be allowing preconceived notions of who you are allowed to be to affect you. These can be so so deep that you may not even recognize them. Take a peek though.
The world needs you to be as fully self-expressed and creative as possible. We don’t want to miss out on you. YOU don’t want to miss out on you.
The clearer you are about who you are, the more you call in your tribe. The more willing you are to slough off the old skin, the more you will energetically align with the beings who will support and uplift the new you. You become a beacon for your soul partners. What a blessing that is for all involved! Have fun while you explore this, as fun is one of the most important ingredients in next wave healing!