Do I Matter?

I have rushed my entire life. Showing up in force, deciding that I wanted something and making it happen, deciding to be somewhere and getting there, always somewhere other than where I was. It was not conscious, not wanting to be where I was, but somehow inside of me I believed that there was better than here. When I got there I would be happier, better, fitter, sexier, hotter, funnier – some place unknown to me where all seemed like it would be better.

I spent my life in the space of not here and not there but trying to get anywhere other than where I was. And that’s the point isn’t it? To be here, to be happy here, in the now, to enjoy where you are while heading to where you want to be.

But I have never been good at that being happy on the journey, painting pictures in my head and striving to reach the end goal was all I could see. What is it about the thing or place or goal that says we will be better when we get there, get it, have it, be it? Why do we believe we will be better then?

How do you love the journey and not just the result that we’re after?

When I got honest with myself I realized it wasn’t just the goals I enjoyed reaching either. I didn’t enjoy any of it. In fact, I couldn’t feel anything by the time I got there. Big and small accomplishments, smile for the pictures, see others so excited but feel nothing inside. Is that what I was chasing? A feeling? A hope? A thing… thinking it would magically be there? That I would feel something after so long of feeling nothing?

But it was always anti climatic, that thing, that took so much courage and risk and living outside the boundaries of life to get … and nothing… before the ink was dry already moving to the next.

What was it about being here that was impossible?

Big dreams, giant accomplishments that most people wouldn’t achieve in a lifetime, done in record time, but nothing still. The days and weeks and year blend together in the chase, the striving, the not enoughness and the not yetness that permeates the days.

I shorten time, I bend it to my will, an iron strength and a death grip that is both a blessing a curse as I leap and achieve but nothing seems to reach to the depths of where I hold my most sacred self, where few have witnessed or been with me, where I live inside of myself.

It’s odd, isn’t it, how we share the deepest and most private parts of our art, our work, our wildness with the world, but still we hold that sacred part of ourselves so deep that nothing can touch it, too fragile, too shy, too soft for this hardest of worlds.

We can birth our deepest desires and beliefs into it, but still, we hold some back. As we toss parts of ourselves out into the world, to be judged, witnessed, held by others as they laugh, cry and heal with the parts of us that we let rise to the surface to be seen, while really a part of us sits at the stream deep in the forest connected to all that is and disconnected to all that isn’t.

I used to think that I had to be all open in order to be healed, to be whole, to be well, but now I know that to be healed, whole and well, is to know what parts of us to let out and what parts of us to hold back.

We can be both open and closed. We can be both vulnerable and hard. We can be both healed and hurt. We can be both woke and silent. We can be both loud and proud and silent and powerful.

We don’t have to be all of anything to be it. As our traumas and our dreams and our pain and our goals swirl about together, some days we are vibrant and on fire and other days we are bathing in the glow of the forest staring at a twig for hours. Some days we are fire and others we are ice. Some days we are earth and others we are water. Some days we are all of those before breakfast.

Open doesn’t mean always open. Open doesn’t mean 24/7. Open doesn’t mean unlimited access. Open doesn’t mean out there. And closed doesn’t mean problems. Closed doesn’t mean cut off. Closed doesn’t mean triggered and trauma.

What it means is instincts of what we need. Sometimes the most powerful thing we can know is when to open and close the gates. We don’t owe anyone our energy or our attention.

We live in a world that always wants something. People have expectations more than they have appreciation. People want access to places to which they have not earned access. People want places at tables that don’t belong to them. People will suck your bones dry if you let them. And they will be angry when you sit at the lake, with your feet in, ignoring their demands for your attention…

But it’s been my experience and inner wisdom that has taught me that those who want access when you have closed the gates, those who want spaces that don’t belong to them, and those who don’t respect boundaries are the very reason you need to enforce them.

And they are not your people. If they want your oxygen they are not your people.

It took me a long time to realize that I mattered, that I didn’t owe anyone anything, just because I could help, didn’t mean I had to. There is nothing to be gained in draining ourselves to serve another, for that is not done from soul service, it is done from wounds. It is done from no boundaries. It is done from filling a void that cannot be filled by giving up yourself.

And I realized that I couldn’t feel because the more I rose the more they wanted from me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t proud, it wasn’t that I couldn’t feel, it was that I could feel them draining me, pulling on me, tugging me, asking, demanding, taking up space that I didn’t want to give, telling me I had to give it, needed to give it, owed them somehow… And the rushing to be somewhere was to be away from the demands on my soul, my time, my energy as if I owed it to someone.

I wasn’t in a rush to get somewhere, I was in a rush to get away from somewhere.

It took me a long time to realize that because I shared my story and I was open, it didn’t mean I couldn’t be closed, it didn’t mean I couldn’t have limits to how much I gave away. It didn’t mean I owed anyone my space, my time, my soul.

As the accolades pile higher, and will continue to do so, because a creatrix I am, that I realize it’s ok to have a place by the river, just for me and my most sacred. And it doesn’t mean I don’t care or that I don’t feel, it simply means, for the first time ever, that finally, I matter more than they.

And that has taken my whole life to remember… that I matter… and I didn’t need to be open 24/7 to be good enough…

And so the gates I closed… as I felt my deepest parts sitting by the river in the forest… really feeling the magnitude of life in my smallness in the universe.

Stay wild,

Tonya

PS… you can get a copy of my book at any of your favourite retailers or you can buy a signed copy here -> Unchained, The Book.

 

4 thoughts on “Do I Matter?

  1. Victoria says:

    Well geeze. Doesn’t it feel that this was written for me. Haha! But seriously… I love this and the points about being able to be all of those things. I tend so hard toward the all or nothing, this way or that, give to some means give to all and then often there is very/too little left for me. And who is there reaching out and giving to me? Not many. Not in the way I do. Unless they also need something and/or will benefit in some way. And I know I need to change this – working on it daily – it feels good when I do :). I’m at the point these days where my body forces me sometimes. As it will when we don’t listen for long enough :).
    Thanks for this. I appreciate you and all that you give to so many. You’re an incredibly generous and special human ❤️.

    Like

    1. Tonya Whittle says:

      Gah! So happy this landed! I did think of you when I was writing this the other night. It’s incredible how we think/believe we HAVE TO. But that’s just more conditioning we must overcome ❤️

      Like

  2. Carla says:

    Very true. Being open and honest (and telling your story) doesn’t mean open access to your energy at any time. The idea that I don’t owe anyone anything has taken awhile to sink in, but I’m glad that it has. Thanks for your words and the valuable work that you do. xo

    Like

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