“Skeletons and Demons”
It doesn’t take much to get me babbling about how awesome Mindfulness is and how it can literally change the brain, help us make wise decisions, realize our authentic self, get still enough to find our passions and purposes, and help us to create our happiest lives. I can give you a list of dozens of ways to start practicing Mindfulness and start changing your brain. You don’t even have to add time in your day to do it; just focusing on a task at hand and being fully present with it is a great start.
There’s this thing about being human, as it turns out, that we tend to desire self-growth and discovery. Not only do we want to be successful (whatever that means to you), we also want to be more loving, more creative, learn more, give back to the world. This is beautiful! It can also be scary.
Why scary? Because we have demons and skeletons along with us for the ride. We don’t get to adulthood years without having made mistakes, having regrets and/or resentments. Further, most of us have not been guided or taught the tools needed to confront these in a way that actually helps us heal and move forward wiser and more prepared for whatever life is going to throw at us. So, we tend to take our demons (fears) and skeletons (the things from our pas that we don’t want anyone else to know about, and we even deny them ourselves) into our friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, and decisions about how we spend our free time. When something in life pokes at a demon or skeleton we aren’t wanting to look at, we get defensive, take the edge off (sometimes in unhealthy ways), and continue our ostrich approach (if I stick my head in the sand, maybe it won’t see me).
I’ve tried the ostrich approach for years. It worked to a certain degree for some time, though eventually made things a lot worse. I didn’t want to even acknowledge that something from my past was still haunting me, even when it was staring me in the face. So I did a lot of the denial thing, blaming other people thing, and hiding behind other “positive” things (i.e., being busy, focused on the next achievement, etc.) thing. As the Universe has it, the skeletons and demons just kept coming back.
At some point, the skeletons and demons were so in my face that there wasn’t a door to close or a place to hide. I somehow reached deep inside to find a willingness to see them and feel them. And oh boy did I feel them! The emotions were strong, my mind and body seemed to almost be detached from each other. I remember recalling stories I’ve read about Buddha inviting Mara (essentially the representative of our fears, urges, etc.) in instead of pushing her away. I realized I was tired of carrying around baggage and could really see how it was impacting me, my approach to life, and even those around me.
Since then, it’s been a practice of Mindfulness with my skeletons and demons. Being gentle and understanding with myself about how those skeletons and demons got there was a difficult, though necessary first step. My negative-biased brain wanted to go to a place of loathing and shame at first. I was able to use a witnessing awareness and gently guide myself back to a place of understanding and compassion.
The next step was wanting to learn. Using your skeletons, demons, and baggage as your teachers can be an invaluable approach to finding the path toward healing. I found it comforting knowing that there was purpose in these skeletons and demons; such as guiding me to be who I want to be, being more emphatic, creating more compassion for myself, understanding how I can help give more love to the world.
We all have skeletons and demons. The journey of acknowledging them, allowing them to be our teachers, and finding a path of healing is at times scary, though the most rewarding and liberating work you will ever do.
Peace and love on your self-discover journey!
The time has come to be your happiest self!