“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.” – Goldie Hawn
As a kid I hated change because it happened so often. My Mom was an alcoholic and life was a little rough, to say the least. At age nine, my parents got divorced and it seemed like between the two of them, we moved a dozen times. I never felt like I had a real home with warm memories - but instead they were spread out. At school, I had a couple close friends but other than that, I was shy and didn’t feel like I could relate to anyone. I dreaded anything that required me to speak, and avoided the spotlight at all costs.
"I dreaded anything that required me to speak, and avoided the spotlight at all costs."
At a young age, I developed a defense; a way to protect myself. It became my default. If I was in an argument, I would shove every emotion down, lock the door, and turn my back on it. It was easier that way, even though I knew I was hurting myself in the long run, and I didn’t care. I didn’t care because in the moment, the problem was solved, the argument was over. I always did my best to feel normal, but most importantly act normal so no one would ask questions. Asking questions meant I would have to speak and that wasn’t going to happen. I realize now that turning my back to my emotions meant that I was turning my back to who I really was. I had no idea how to speak my truth. I denied my truth and in turn, denied my soul a chance to grow and thrive. Now, at 30 years old looking back at that little girl, she was lost and confused and had no idea who she was.
"I realize now that turning my back to my emotions meant that I was turning my back to who I really was."
Being so closed off hindered a lot of my relationships and made it difficult for people to really get to know me. How were people supposed to really know me if I was too afraid to step out and wear my heart on my sleeve? I thought I was a lost cause. I thought I would be stuck inside the walls I built around myself forever.
Then suddenly I met a special person. Life has a funny way of presenting people to you when you need them the most. We are meant to grow and life will always find a way. Like the lotus flower, we will rise from the mud. I guess you can call him my knight in shining armor. He had a special way of seeing through my walls and loved me at first sight. He opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself and I realized just how thick my walls were. I remember our first date; we literally sat at his kitchen table while he tried so hard to get me to open up. He asked me questions about myself, and I had the hardest time answering, or even speaking for that matter. Any normal person would have given up; trust me, it was that bad! Somehow he knew - he knew we were meant for each other.
If you knew me then, you would not recognize me now. I rose from the mud. I now understand I needed to go through the hard times in order to see the light. In order to reach my full potential. I am opening each petal one by one; excited to learn and grow, to challenge myself and practice speaking my truth.
"If you knew me then, you would not recognize me now. I rose from the mud."
Like the lotus, we are all born in the mud. We eventually find our way up through the darkness and into the light. This is what life's about, finding our way out; recognizing the gifts life gives us. I was lucky enough to have my husband come into my life and give me a push, but I still had a lot of work to do.
Here are a few things that have helped me progress - to open my petals:
- Keep a journal. If something is bothering you, write it down, process it, and then express it.
- Have the willingness to be vulnerable. Wear your heart on your sleeve.
- Listen. You can learn a lot from others, hear their story. You might be surprised about how much you have in common with the people around you.
- Pay attention! Life is always giving you clues and it is always trying to make you a better person than you were yesterday.
“Out of the mud of your fears, struggles, pain and confusion, the lotus flower of your inner heart will spontaneously grow.” – Anon I Mus