Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Have You Lost a Part of Yourself?

“To thine own self be true.” Shakespeare

It’s easy to lose a part of yourself as you travel the highways and byways of life.

Have you ever felt that way? Many people do.

Maybe you’ve let go of a treasured passion like my friend Bill Gerlach.  As adult responsibilities edged into his life, he drifted away from the joy of making music.  Now he’s experiencing the door-opening power of reconnecting with what he loved.

Perhaps a part of you felt unwelcomed or suppressed as a child.  Maybe you learned to hide a special quality – inquisitiveness, friendliness, spontaneity, confidence or another trait – when it wasn’t honored by those around you.

Or you suddenly wake up one day and realize you don’t know who you are.  You feel empty. You don’t even like yourself.  You feel like running away.  You want your real self back, but who is that, anyway?

Then again, whole chunks of yourself – even your entire soul – can be overwhelmed or frightened away by severe shock, trauma, or loss.

Why am I painting all these scenarios?   Because I know what it’s like.  I’ve lost a part of myself too.

Whatever You Lost, You Can Get It Back

One day I came upon the photo pictured above.  That’s me as a child.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Questions started to pop into my mind. “What happened to that joy and exuberance?  What happened to that little girl? Who am I really?”

Trauma has altered my life dramatically.  Not one trauma, but several.  But I’m a survivor.  I managed.  I kept going, never realizing I had lost a part of myself along the way.

But then that photo got me wondering, “Who am I really?”  It started a bountiful process of exploration and deep healing that is still underway.

I may have lost a part of myself, but I’m calling her back.  I’m reclaiming all the lost joy, exuberance, confidence, power, and dignity.  Any and all parts that were lost.

Whatever you lost, you can get it back too.

4 Essential Steps to Rediscovering Yourself

It’s impossible to change history.  But we can rediscover ourselves.  We can reclaim our seemingly lost qualities and talents.  And even our very essence, our soul.  It is never too late.

Here are four essential steps to help you rediscover yourself.

1. Recognize the Loss

Are you living life on automatic?  That’s the essence of being lost.  Busyness conveniently covers the pain. But one day, a trickle of grace filters through.  A tiny light illuminates a slice of darkness.

When that happens, don’t hesitate for a moment!  Capture the grace, dwell in the light, and dare to ask:  “Have I lost a part of myself?”  The answer may instantaneously appear. Or, like me, the question may dance for awhile in the deepest recesses of your brain until clarity beautifully dawns.

2.  Identify the Missing Parts

What are you missing? Have you lost yourself altogether?  Or are you missing pieces and parts?  Try using some of the methods listed in part 4 – like writing, dialog, or art – to unearth the truth.

Questions for reflection:

  • Who am I? Is this who I want to be?
  • What am I missing?
  • Which parts am I missing?
  • What am I longing for?
  • What were my dreams as a child, a teen, a young adult?
  • What were my passions as a child, a teen, a young adult?
  • How do I want my life to look?  Today?  In 5 years? When I die?
  • What are my values?
  • What do I cherish most highly?
  • What brings me happiness, satisfactions, a sense of accomplishment?

3. Explore How You Got Off Track

There are so many ways you can lose yourself. From the voice of your own inner tyrant to the people and circumstances that touch you constantly throughout the day.  Any one of us can easily feel swept away by the countless demands, expectations, and overriding commitments that come to rule one’s life in a seemingly inescapable way.

Minute-by-minute, day-by-day, your true self may simply slip away.

Take some time to explore how you lost your way.  Here are some of the most common factors at play:

  • an event
  • a relationship
  • an unfulfilling job
  • family members
  • children
  • marriage
  • friends
  • strong emotions like worry, anger, fear, desire, obsession, depression
  • change and life transitions
  • a move to a new place
  • an accident
  • surgery
  • over-focusing on others
  • your blog
  • a major project
  • childhood experiences
  • trauma
  • combat
  • loss
  • putting on a happy face
  • living a lie
  • getting stuck in role

Recognizing what trips you up,  helps you to understand your vulnerabilities, where you can grow, and the changes you need to make in order to live congruently.

The purpose of the exercise is not to blame other people or external circumstances. You will never be whole or happy as long as you hang on to a hurt from the past.  Even if you can’t forgive in the present moment, forgiveness always begins with the wish to forgive. Make a wish to forgive and set the force in motion.  Then continue on your journey back to your true self.

4.  Reclaim Your Lost Self

Like Bill, reconnecting to a lost passion might be simple and fun.

But often, the process of rediscovering yourself will take time.  The lost parts of yourself need to be remembered, reclaimed, embraced, and nourished fully in order to sprout and grow.  Practices that utilize the right side of the brain may especially enhance your  progress.

Following are some approaches you might try.  However, please bear in mind that in serious trauma, any method can trigger flashbacks and distress.  When trauma is significant, it is advisable to work with a counselor and go at a gradual pace.

Image for Overcoming Trauma

Fearless

Rediscovering Yourself After Shock and Trauma

Trauma almost always involves a loss of self.  In recent years, scientific research has shed light on the somatic nature and neurophysiology of traumatic stress, once considered an intractable condition.

New and effective treatment approaches for healing trauma have emerged.  These include the use of techniques like breath and heart rate regulation, meditation, imagery, biofeedback, energy release work, hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Information Processing Techniques  (EMDR, EFT, TFT, TAT), cognitive behavioral therapy, and others.

You are not stuck with the impact of trauma. Trauma can be healed.

Ancient medical traditions also offer effective methods that can help release trauma.

According to Chinese Medicine, when a severe shock occurs the soul sometimes leaps outside the body.  You may be skeptical about this idea, but bear in mind that ancient medical traditions have been healing people for thousands of years. Whereas modern medicine has a track record of about a hundred.

This is a true story of a young child who fell into a hornets nest.  Stung more than 35 times, he was severely traumatized and subsequently developed grand mal seizures.  He was diagnosed by Western medical doctors with epilepsy.  His seizures occurred in clusters every few weeks.

With no relief in site, eventually he was treated by a highly experienced Doctor of Chinese Medicine using a ritual called a “soul retrieval.”  Now almost 20 years later, the seizures have never once returned.

In his book, Healing with Form, Energy, and LightTenzin Wangyal Rinpoche explains,

“…in many shamanic traditions, there is the notion of “soul loss.”  Although this is an imbalance of the elements, it is greater than the imbalances suffered in normal life.  It is a question of degree.  Soul loss is a profound loss of elemental qualities and a condition of extreme imbalance that usually, although not always, is caused by traumatic external situations and beings.”

The “elements” are earth, water, fire, air, and space in this tradition.  They are considered to be the “substance of all things and processes.”  He goes on to say,

“The same kind of inner damage can happen when someone loses a child, is raped, witnesses brutality, is subjected to brutality, goes through a war, is in a car accident, or loses a house – the catastrophes and calamities that fall upon us humans.  The shock to the soul overwhelms it with fear, loss or some other powerful emotions and the result is the loss of positive qualities, the loss of life-force and vitality, the loss of joy and empathy.  It may also result in physical frailty and the loss of sensory clarity.”

In time honored traditions, it takes profound training to perform a ritual like this. Like Western medical doctors, alternative healers vary in their abilities and effectiveness. If you decide to explore this type of healing modality, be selective.  Carefully check training and credentials.  Don’t hesitate to speak to former clients for a reference.  Almost anyone can beat a drum.  That doesn’t mean they can heal you.

The Paradox of No Self

From the highest spiritual perspective, there is no permanent self.

“Self” is just a verbal designation.  A construct we create to identify a conglomeration of thoughts, emotions, sensory experiences, and body parts.  While this is ultimately the truth, a positive and healthy sense of this “illusory” self is the best basis for personal and spiritual evolution.  As paradoxical as it may seem, often you need to find your “self” in order to ultimately realize the truth of no self.

Never give up!  Whatever part of yourself has been lost, you can call it back.

Have you ever lost a part of yourself?  How did you rediscover yourself?

Resources for Trauma Survivors

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

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62 Comments

  1. Hi Sandra,

    I agree with you. There are so many things going on in life today that it is all too easy to lose a part or many parts of ourselves. There are so many responsibilities that we have to see to that our needs have to take a back seat. Or as you shared, we would have experienced pain and trauma that changes our lives forever. As such, I enjoy reading the 4 essential steps that you have for rediscovering ourselves. Here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I read through them.

    2. Identify the Missing Parts

    This is an important step because unless we know what is missing, we will not know what to look for. And even if that missing part appeared before us, we would not recognize it. I love the questions you raise for reflection. They are indeed very helpful for getting in touch with our inner selves and passion. I believe that it is important to know our dreams and passions. Without them, we are like zombies walking through life.

    3. Explore How You Got Off Track

    Knowing how we spend our day and what occupies our time is a good way to examine how we lose ourselves. I always make sure to spend some time each day doing the things I enjoy. I am a huge fan of epic stories and space operas like Star Wars, so I would read comics or play a game that helps to connect with this side of me. I believe that if we set aside some time each day to nurture the parts of ourselves that are important, we are less likely to lose ourselves.

    Ancient Medical Traditions

    I have not suffered from any shock or trauma, not that I am consciously aware of anyway, but I am well aware of the potency of Chinese medicine. I suppose it is because I am living in Singapore and I am Chinese myself so it makes me aware of these things. I think we should not discard the teachings of the ancients for they often know things that we may not know. But as you say, it is always prudent to check out the qualifications of alternative healers just in case they do us more harm than good.

    The Paradox of No Self

    Many of us need an idea of self to function in the real world. But this idea of self changes as we learn and grow. It is best not to become too attached to this illusionary self because it is not constant and to realize that we can change it as easily as we change our clothes. Of course, it helps to have clothes that we are comfortable wearing and fits us nicely. But in the end when we are ready to advance and strip away this illusionary self, we will discover our essence and our true selves within.

    Thank you for sharing this article! I also appreciate the link to my article! 😀

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hello Irving,

      I enjoyed reading the thoughts that crossed your mind as you read this article. Your thinking is always so insightful. I especially loved hearing about how you nurture yourself each day with epic stories and space operas, and the importance you place on self nurturing each and every day.

      If we could only apply ancient wisdom in the modern world! How different things would be. I agree wholeheartedly that we should not discard ancient wisdom. It’s a tremendous resource for living with sanity and ease, especially in these tumultuous times. I love the way you bring this wisdom to bear on the challenges we face in modern life in your writing.

      You’ve really touched upon a key to working with the sense of self ~ humor and spaciousness goes a long way.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

  2. Hi Sandra,

    Beautiful post!

    I have lost part of myself, but I’m working on getting that part of me back. Thanks for your tips in this post. I believe they will help me reclaim the lost part of myself.

    Take care,

    Evelyn

    • Evelyn,

      I’m glad you are on the road to recovering the lost part of yourself. I hope this article does help in some small way. Thanks for your appreciation.

  3. Sandra, fantastic article. I have certainly lost part of myself. And I know a lot of people who have. The problem is that most of them reach step 1 (recognize your loss) and get stuck there. They have no idea how to move on from it. They let their tragedy define them. They do it in relationships and businesses and friendships.

    Moving on to steps 2, 3, and 4 are critical to building your life back. I ESPECIALLY like #3 – Find out WHY it failed! And own up to the fact that you MAY have had something to do with it. We can’t spend our lives blaming others. Learn what you need to learn from the loss (if anything) and regroup. If you really didn’t do anything wrong, move on anyway. Why stay there?

    I’m thinking too much. Thanks! 🙂

    • Bryan,

      I love your spirited approach to moving forward. It is easy to get stuck in tragedy and allow it to completely define you. So many of us just don’t know the way to unwind, release, and heal the pain. Sometimes it’s so huge it truly does overwhelm us. I hope what I’ve written here will encourage others to know that there is hope and there is healing. I fully agree that uncovering the components of our loss is a crucial step in the process. Blaming never helps, but sometimes forgiveness doesn’t come easily. It can be a lifetime journey. Thanks for sharing your encouraging words.

  4. I think if we dedicate ourselves to a craft, we can only find ourselves. Never losing an ounce of who we smoke up to become…

  5. Hi Sandra,
    Wow, what a powerful article! Reading this has me stopped in my tracks. After I read this I found myself just sitting quietly for the longest time. I have lost myself in relationships, jobs, grief, emotional abuse, debilitating anxiety. Therepy has been a God send for me. It is facinating to reclaim yourself once you get a stronghold on the demons. I’ve discovered things about myself that I didn’t even know. I’ve found lost parts that were buried deep. Journaling is a wonderful tool for self-discovery. I also find EMDR to be really effective controlling anxiety and traumatic memories. Your post is really informative and the advice is spot on. Thanks so much Sandra. You do really do wonderful work!

    • Hi Dandy,

      Thank you for sharing so openly and telling us about the tools that have helped you recover deeply buried parts of yourself. There is so much that we learn from each other when we share in such a heart-felt way. I’m so encouraged by your healing process and the way you have got a stronghold on your demons. I’m grateful for your comment.

  6. Morning Sandra,

    I definitely lost a part of myself during the last decade or so of my working life. I was constantly traveling, constantly chasing more clients and more money, constantly stressed. I’m kind of surprised my family stuck with me during the worst parts.

    Shedding that load in 2001 allowed me to slowly regain my equilibrium. But, it wasn’t until 4 or 5 years ago I found solid footing and began to become human again. I found the parts of me that had become buried after all those years of self-neglect.

    Losing part of yourself is horrible. Breaking free and finding what you had lost is glorious.

  7. Bob,

    Thank you for sharing about this part of your life. We all learn so much from each other when we share freely. I’m sorry you were buried in all the travel, stress, and work demands. I’m so glad you found yourself! You strike me now as someone who is in touch with themselves. I’m always amazed by your openness and the interesting explorations on your blog. It’s encouraging to hear, “Breaking free and finding what you had lost is glorious.” I’m so glad to know you.

  8. Wow Sandra, you kinda floored me with this article. I can tell you really poured your entire soul into its creation….very powerful.

    When I looked at the steps, I see #2 as being the key. It’s what it’s all about– asking questions and then truly answering them. Being honest with oneself. And also writing down the answers. Just by performing such an analysis one is bound to take on a different and unique paradigm.

    Blessings

    Marcus

    • Marcus,

      I really did pour my heart and soul into this article. I really appreciate that you’ve recognized this. It means so much to me.

      Yes, have the willingness to look within and ask questions is so key to the healing process. I’m glad you underscored the importance of being honest with yourself. It’s difficult to heal if we are deceiving our self. Thanks for your thoughts.

  9. Oh, Sandra. I am moved to tears by this post. It is so rich, so beautiful in telling the truth and offering resources of all kinds. You’ve left no stone unturned, and I am grateful for your insights.

    Who among us hasn’t lost our way? I am recently surfacing from a time of difficulty. It’s been painful and confusing. And I have found that the movement in and out of it happens in its own time. If I’ve learned anything, it has been to be even more compassionate and accepting of myself, everyone else, and the natural flow of life. Today, the sun sure is shining.

    I appreciate your including me among your resources. In the last few months, I received one-on-one guidance that provided essential support. Many of us are too reticent to ask for help when just a few sessions can make a huge difference.

    • Gail,

      I am really touched by your appreciation. It means so much especially coming from you given your expertise and experience both in emotional and spiritual well-being. I really did pour my heart and soul into this article. It has been part of my own healing process, but I also want to express the healing potential that exists within each of us.

      I’m so glad you mentioned how we can be reticent to ask for professional help when even a few sessions can make a huge difference. Sometimes there can be so much confusion and pain, it is indeed very difficult to reach out. Thanks for encouraging us to do so.

      I’m sorry it’s been a challenging period for you. Yet I know with your dedication to the truth, you will capture the learning and move forward with grace and ease.

  10. This is a terrific post. At this time of transition in my life, moving from day to day parenting to enjoying adult children, and moving from a career I’ve loved into a retirement I’m looking forward to, has given me a lot of freedom to reclaim old loves and to discover new ones.

    Your section on finding lost parts reminded me of going to an energy healer years ago. He did a soul retrieval, something I had never heard of and was very skeptical about. I asked him how he knew that the soul “part” he retrieved was really mine. He said simply, “It looked like you.”

    Thank you for lots of inspiration. I’m going to have to read this one several times to take it all in!

    • Galen,
      I’m glad life is giving you time to reclaim some old loves and discover new ones. What a beautiful way to see and move through this transition time in your life. I loved your story of soul retrieval. Thanks for sharing it!

  11. Splinteredones

    You’re very fortunate in that you had a self at one time. For many CSA survivors it started so ypung that there was never that plus side to go back to

    • You are right ~ I am very fortunate, indeed. Any abuse is tragic and when it begins so young, even more so. My heart really goes out for all the suffering and pain experienced by children who are abused. Perhaps, in some cases the damage is so deep that it isn’t possible to heal. But many people do heal from CSA though it may be a long and arduous journey. I want to offer hope and encouragement to all those who have been harmed. Even if there is no sense of self to awaken from the past, we can create our very own, new self.

      I don’t remember the day in this picture. I don’t remember the feelings I had. I don’t remember joy or exuberance. What I recount here are just the impressions I have from looking at the photo. The ideas that came into my mind. It’s a new concept I am creating with my mind. That is healing potential of mind.

      I’m sorry for any suffering you may have endured in your life. Thank you for sharing your truth.

  12. Encouraging read Sandra – thank you.

    Sometimes when we get caught up trying to be all things to all people we lose pieces ourselves along the way.

    You have blessed us with inspiration to remember to look when we have gone missing.

    Alex

    • Hi Alex,

      This is the perfect example of how we lose little bits of our self and may not even realize it until quite late in the game. Glad this article was an inspiration for you!

  13. Again, I am so moved by both your words and compassion, Sandra. Who knew a simple Christmas Carol could help so?

    You are here to lead and guide; to let your heart open doors for so many and your words to help lead them through.

    Be well,
    Bill

  14. Hi Bill,

    You are a heart-lifter! Isn’t it wonderful how an unexpected moment can have such a magical and powerful impact in our life. I’m so glad you reconnected with music. It’s an inspiration for all of us.

  15. Hi Sandra, thank you for sharing this with us. I can sense the unrestrained joy in the picture of you, and I hope you can get at least a piece of that back. I think a lot of us have traumas or lesser hurts and we just ignore them. It’s usually easier than acknowledging them and asking for help.

    I appreciate your advice to check out professionals before you attempt to get help from them. I know I’ve been burned by both traditional and alternative helpers who left me feeling worse than before.

    As 2011 will be my year of healing, I’ve decided to work on some of these nagging dissatisfactions and losses. I want to get back to some creative work I haven’t done in years. I’ve also decided that I need some coaching to remedy some lack of skills and dysfunction acquired from many very screwed up work experiences.

  16. Jennifer,

    I’m glad you underlined the point about checking out professionals thoroughly. I’ve also had mixed experiences with both medical doctors and alternative healers. Sometimes the healer may be authentic, but it’s not the right modality for me or not the right time for healing. I’ve learned to trust my intuition and also check thoroughly. If my gut is telling me that this is not the right person, I try not to let my head override the message. But that has been a slow learning process for me.

    I think you are right that many of us have “lesser” hurts and just ignore them. But in time they always seem to take a toll. It seems easier in the short run, but in the long run it can stunt our joy for life and our personal growth as well.

    I’m so happy to hear that you will be returning to some of the creative work you haven’t done for years. That sounds so enriching. I’m wishing you well on your healing journey and glad to be walking along the same path as you.

  17. Thanks Sandra, this is a great reminder to me of my goal for this year.

    This year I am going to make the time to reflect. I think it is such an important thing to do to ensure that you maintain a sense of balance in life.

    It gives you a chance to “feel” because when you rush around madly all the time, your feelings get pushed aside and you do things often irrespective of whether or not it is something that is important to yourself. Then days, weeks, months, even years later, you wonder where the time is gone and why you haven’t been able to achieve what you want to in life.

    It helps us to re-focus and re-think about our lives. Each day we need to make the time to stop, breathe, relax and reflect.

    • David, Your clarity and intention for the year inspires me deeply! You’ve articulated it so beautifully here. You painted a clear picture of how we easily lose ourselves by rushing around madly and not giving time for reflection. I agree: “Each day we need to make the time to stop, breathe, relax and reflect.” Thanks for the inspiring comment.

  18. I had lost the me of myself and worked really hard to find me. When I became a care giver for a family member who I loved dearly I nearly lost myself again. It was extremely difficult to hold on. At times I slipped away, but not far.

    It was heartbreaking to care for another and to have to keep the boundries necessary for my survival. But as his therapist said “if you lose yourself you have nothing to give to another”.

    Importatnt post–thank you.

    • Hi Patricia,

      Caregiving is a wonderfully compassionate act, but also a very demanding one. It’s easy to burnout lose yourself in that way. You seemed to have a very smart and helpful therapist. I’m glad you were able to support your loved one and keep healthy boundaries at the same time, as wobbly as they may have been. Thanks for sharing your story and adding another angle to the ways we can get lost.

  19. Wonderful post, Sandra.

    We lose ourselves when we are constantly looking to others to determine what we should be, say, think, wear, and do.

    Once we start using an internal compass . . . we get to know who we are and how we can access our inner joy and peace.

    • Nancy,

      You’ve really summed it up in a nutshell! I love the idea of an “internal compass.” As always, I appreciate your perspective.

  20. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for sharing your journey and this article. As always well thought out and written. I began therapy at age 27 and continued on and off for at least 10 years both with hubs and alone for my own stuff. Then we told are girls at the time they could go anytime they wished. 3 out of the 4 did.

    I got my masters in counseling psychology while the girls finished high school. It’s been an amazing ride being in both chairs!

    But I still get lost and still have a few things I need to dig further into where I’ve been stuck in the past. I’m 56 flippin’ years old. No sense waitin’ any longer;)
    Thanks for the inspiration! xo

    • Hi Tess,

      I’m glad you liked the article. I value your feedback so much. Evolution is a lifelong journey! Or lifetimes, if you believe in that view. We will all get stuck from time to time until we are fully enlightened. In the meantime, I would say your track record of clarity and compassion is stellar. I see more and more how we all have stuff to work with! We are never alone in that regard. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  21. How could I forget…”I love the photo!”

    • The lion or “me”? 🙂 Thanks! This is the only photo I have of myself as a child. I know my sister probably has a load of them, but I haven’t seen them. That might be interesting one day!

  22. I lost myself so much that I tried to commit suicide. I honestly did not have any idea who I was or what I was about. I had spent so many years being a wife and a mother and trying to make others happy, that I had no idea what made me happy. I was living a lie and did not even recognize myself much less like myself.

    I think it was the “soul loss” you speak of above.

    I have spent years rediscovering myself and healing. I am still in the process. The joy and exuberance I see in my childhood photos is still there and coming to the surface again!!

    • Debbie,

      I am so sorry for all the suffering you have been through. I am deeply inspired by your courage and dedication to your healing process. I’m so glad you are here to day to share your story with us. How wonderful that the joy and exuberance is coming to the surface again! Yipee!

  23. Thank you so much for your article Sandra. Couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately with all the demands that I have placed on myself with developing my blog, and creating connections with others. How can I be a positive influence on others if I don’t take care of myself? Thank you for your insight on this. Definitely an article to hold on to.

    –Blessings, Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      Blogging is without question one way to easily lose yourself! There’s always “more” that needs to or could be done! I’m glad you are slowing down a bit to take care of yourself. It’s part of the learning process and by going through this challenge you will be an even great positive influence for others. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment and sharing so openly.

  24. Wonderful post, and it’s got me thinking about a lot of things. Unquestionably, I’ve lost big chunks of myself, and I know what most of them are and what caused them to be lost. But I am not sure it is worth my time to replace them with the same, because in their absence other things have grown, some good and some not so good.

    I like your list of questions to ask oneself, as they are part of keep in touch with the “internal compass.” The compass will tell you if you are on a naturally happy path.

    • Meg,

      This is a really interesting point —> Do we want to reclaim what we lost or add something new? I’m so glad you added that perspective to the conversation. I love the phrase “naturally happy path.” That’s a good one to keep in mind!

  25. Beautiful post, Sandra! Your comments section is always amazing too! I’ve lost myself in the past, when I tried very hard to please everyone around me. Who was I? I was too scared to really express myself freely, and live the life I really wanted to. One day I realized I could be anyone, and since then I have been trying very hard to find myself, to be myself and live the life I want, without getting pulled into all the distracting messages that surround us. I believe very fiercely in individuality and independence – these make the core of who you are, which transcends the relationships that also define you, and will keep you grounded to weather the tough times.

    • Lynn,

      I too am amazed by the comments offered here. I am so grateful for and deeply inspired by them. I learn so much from the insights people leave.

      It was wonderful to hear how one day you realized you could be anyone. How liberating is that! I see you manifesting your individuality and independence on your blog, which is such a wonder for all of us. Thanks for letting us have a glimpse of your journey.

  26. What a coinky dink.

    Just the other day, I had a great lunch with an old friend where we talked about how you can lose yourself in the process, any process, as a natural part of fitting to the world or making people happy or spreading an idea.

    A few moons back, I wrote a quick guide to give people a firm foundation and to plant themselves firmly in the core. I called it You 2.0 because the idea was to keep unleashing a version of your best self … and for those that needed a fresh start, it’s a reset and a chance to re-engineer who you want to be and create the experiences you want.

    I presented the framework inside and outside of Microsoft and it was sticky. Part of it was because it was based on the story of me seeing my friend rebuild himself after breaking his back. He didn’t just get his life back to where it was, he moved himself forward in a powerful way.

    The heart of the framework is this, and it’s consistent with your approach:
    – Purpose – a one-liner mission
    – Why – a one-liner compelling why that fires you up
    – How – your personal recipe for results
    – Metaphors – how you see life (a game? a dance? a tragedy?)
    – Values – the things you trade up for, move toward or away from
    – Self-awareness – strengths, weaknesses, learning styles, etc.
    – Personal success patterns – strategies that empower you

    • J. D.,

      Thanks for telling us about You 2.0. I want to include the link to the free ebook here because I know your insight and guidance is always on target.

      http://sourcesofinsight.com/2009/06/02/you-20/

      I love the idea of not just getting your life back, but leaping forward in an even more powerful way. I always appreciate the way you over a simple, do-able approach like a one-liner mission.

      Thanks for all you do to help others be there best self!

  27. “The shock to the soul overwhelms it with fear, loss or some other powerful emotions and the result is the loss of positive qualities, the loss of life-force and vitality, the loss of joy and empathy. It may also result in physical frailty and the loss of sensory clarity.” ~ I agree with this and see this in my work: violence, fear, and trauma turns of our light/life-force. I’d say, and this is an analogy, that an energetic veil, like a film of oil prevents us from healing. I’ve had clients lift off the table, as if they’re being pulled, when this veil is moved. Afterwards, they feel lighter, appear to be taller, and look younger. This trauma can’t start to manifest when we’re in the womb: violence, depression, the pathway to be an abuser or victim can be pre-programmed into an unborn child. This is why the question, who am I, is difficult for many of us to answer. Our environment has created us. Energy healing neutralises the frequencies of trauma in our energy fields. I don’t know how it does it, but I know that it does. It’s difficult for people to fully recover while those frequencies are vibrating.

    Sandra, I loved this article, and your steps towards finding your soul.

    I like

    • Simon,

      The image of a client lifting off the table as though a veil has been moved is a wonderfully hopeful one. Due to pioneers like you, may the healing power of energy work be understood widely soon, at least in this century.

      This is profound and deeply insightful: “This trauma can’t [can?] start to manifest when we’re in the womb: violence, depression, the pathway to be an abuser or victim can be pre-programmed into an unborn child.” I think you meant to say “can.” This explains why some people go through their whole life feeling lost. How sad!

      Simon, I’m really glad you liked the article. You know this arena far more than I!

      • It was ‘can’ start to manifest in the womb. There have been many pioneers that have been forgotten, ignored, or misunderstood. Jesus healed the same way. There are similarities between us because we’re both humans. His teachings weren’t about faith, but healing. Followers had faith in him, and he had faith, but he wanted communities to band together and heal. Life is about healing, not suffering.

        All the Buddhist teachers were also brilliant healers—they calmed their minds, one mind, they connected with God-consciousness. Because their minds were so still they often circumvented spirit and went straight to the source. They simply became peaceful, intuitive, and wise, and transference occurred between teacher, student, and community. This is Gegu; I’m busy, my mind is busy, so he has filled the ‘busy’ with conversation rather than tumbling thoughts.
        Thanks for the compliment. I want to travel the world and share my story. Healing is as simple as breathing. First we need to deconstruct what we think it is, tear apart belief systems, make our unconscious conscious, and then start with nothing. The path of no path. Much love for you, my friend.

  28. Sandra: I thought this was a great post and a message of the importance to always continue our self discovery. The truth is that it can be easy to lose our way from time to time, but if we turn our attention inward, we can discover a lot of important things about ourselves. I really appreciated what you said about the paradox of needing to find yourself before you are really able to realize the truth of no self. That was a powerful statement.

  29. Hi Sibyl,

    I’m glad you liked the post! Thanks for your appreciative words. I agree ~ the process of self-discovery is a lifelong one. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Be well!

  30. Hi Sandra! I love this concept of finding a part of us that we might have lost along the way. Sometimes it can be easy to lose parts of what we consider ourselves in the busyness of our lives. I think you closed with a key concept that we often overlook: find your “self” in order to ultimately realize the truth of no self.
    Thanks for this beautiful reminder! Loving blessings!

  31. So nice to see you, Andrea! Busyness definitely pulls us away from our self that’s for sure. I appreciate your dedication to a contemplative life. This helps one to stay in tune. Thanks for your visit.

  32. That’s a wonderful post Sandra. And that’s a very heart warming picture of you as a child. I hope you understand how much (myself included) we all enjoy your writing. You make us pause and reflect and ask the right questions of life.
    Riley

  33. wow… amazing blog.. hope I won’t loose my self reading in the comment section of your blog 🙂 very inspiring posts

  34. beeluv

    thank u for your great article.im turning 21 soon and i feel like i’ve lost a part of me.im embarking on a journey to rediscover myself.after so many truamatic experiences im hoping that your article helps me.

    • beeluv ~ I’m sorry for your traumatic experiences. I think you are moving in the right direction given you name “beeluv.” I know it’s not easy, but there is always hope and healing. Please never give up. You are a beautiful soul, may you heal and shine.

  35. Sarah

    This will help me, thank you.

  36. Emanuela Betti

    Dear Sandra, I’ve been looking around the web for ways to rediscover the lost self, and your entry is by far my favorite. Thank you for sharing!

  37. Finding your article came like a godly given gift. Indeed, I do feel as if I had lost big parts of my soul during my life, wasting it away, not knowing what it is worth. Half a year ago I woke up to “reality”, which was very and still is rather painfull but I do feel alive and as if I am picking up the pieces of my power, one by one. Like phoenix from the ashes if I may exaggerate. Dear Sandra, thank you very much for writing that article. I will let it inspire me.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so happy that your are rising up, feeling alive, and re-empowering yourself. I wish you well on your journey to wholeness.

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