I was recently asked by a friend that I love, who is in the thick of a profound transformation, "What is this all about!?" during a particularly challenging part of her own journey. Admittedly, the process is painful and involves periods of immense confusion. I don't claim to be an expert, but here's what I know based on my experience.
When we are born, we are unique. We are one of one. As we age, we begin to be conditioned by the world we live in. The adults around us tell us who to be, who NOT to be, and how to live. We accept their guidance because they have authority over us.
That begins the process of moving away from our uniqueness. We are told to become one of many. Dress like others. Think like others. Live like others. Act like others. In all dimensions of life, we are conditioned to conform to something else other than our individual nature.
Sometimes, major traumas occur that further separate us from ourselves. Our minds are rewired through blunt force, and the lens through which we see ourselves and the world changes. We become less of what we once were. Societal conditioning exacerbated by traumatic conditioning.
Later in life, our situation may become so dire that we can't imagine living like that anymore. We work jobs we don't like, hang out with people who zap us of our life force, pay for shit we don't need, and engage in behaviors destructive to ourselves and the world around us.
However, decades have passed since the conditioning of the world took over, and we haven't noticed that the conditioning is the root of our suffering. We become the frog in the pot that's slowly boiled alive, unaware of the damage that the conditioning has done to us.
The individual YOU has been repressed for so long that we've forgotten about what we were like, what we desired, and who we were. Yet it beckons us from beyond the conscious mind to set YOU free. To return to what we once were before conditioning and trauma perverted our nature.
The process of healing and personal transformation is the journey toward realizing that who we have become is the result of what the world told us to be, not who we truly are. And to invest in the journey is to invest in stripping away the influence of the world on you.
When we begin stripping away the layers of worldly and traumatic influence, the YOU that has been repressed begins to come through. At first, it arises with a brief gasp for air. And then it gets drowned out again by your conditioning, and by the world around us.
Yet with each new layer of conditioning you strip away, the real YOU comes up for longer breaths of air. It begins to fully emerge, year by year, as you continue the journey toward rediscovering who you are before the world turned you into something else.
And if you stick to it long enough, turning over any rock along the way in search of the clues back to yourself, eventually you'll arrive at the real YOU. And when you do, you'll experience a freedom and wholeness only obtainable by answering the call to heal and transform.
The journey of healing and transformation is about giving yourself the gift of becoming YOU. Implicit in that is the emergence of a deep sense of self-love. Accepting any and all parts of yourself, and pointing them in the direction of the life YOU want to live.
The journey is rough. I won't lie. Mine involved changing friends, where I live, leaving my career, challenging ALL of my prior beliefs, reliving old traumas to release myself from them, and more. It's a launch into the void. It's the death of what I once was. But it's worth it.
That's it. That's what I believe it to be. That's what it's all about.