We are all caged birds waiting to fly

I came to the self realization long ago that expectation was the ultimate buzzkill. We subconsciously set up expectations of other people, experiences, and even of how our goals will play out. I thought that if we don’t label potential outcomes with an expectation, we can stay in the present and go with the flow of life.

I thought I had it all figured out. With this revelation, I thought life would be smooth sailing. I used to scoff at those who would get hyped up, only to be let down. I never hyped myself up about things, so I ended up remaining neutral if things didn’t work out as planned. I never visualized potential outcomes because I was convinced that doing so would somehow cancel out whatever ideal outcome I had. This worked for me well over a decade.

I recently discovered that having no expectations helped ruin my faith and trust in the Universal flow of life. I stopped imagining what life could be like one day, thinking I was successfully staying in the present. I was slowly but surely becoming increasingly bitter. Living life without expectation was the same as living a life with no dreams. My life became stale and a new life seemed unattainable. What was the point of dreaming when everything we expect to happen never ends the way we thought it would?

I now realize how deeply this affected me. I had actually blocked myself from the Universe. I thought that by not having expectations, I was surrendering control to the universe. I was going with the flow. Nope. Doing so was yet just another form of the ego trying to control myself and my thoughts. This one-way thinking was just camouflage for my true feelings and blocks inside.

I discovered that I had actually replaced where my expectation energy went. You see, energy does not just disappear. It is transmuted into something else. Well, I ended up moving the energy of expectation into blocking myself from my true self; my inner child.

Children are the ultimate expression of excitement and expectations of wonder and delight. As a defense mechanism, I refused to let my inner child have excitement! Instead of allowing my inner child to be free, I have locked her away in a self imposed prison. I did not allow her to dream and be free to explore.

I have blocked myself so much so that I stopped all of my artistic endeavors. I see how my expectation energy has transferred itself here. I began to expect my art to be a certain way, thus leading to disappointment in the outcome. I used to paint everything. Furniture, murals, canvas, even shoes. I used to draw endlessly, even dabbled in tattooing. I looked back to find that I didn’t do any of these things anymore. I realized that every time I began a new idea, I would become blocked in my inspiration, and would just quit before I even really got started. Eventually… my art degree turned into a science degree and I joined the rat race of life. I literally ditched my inner child.

How have I become so unrecognizable to myself? When did I start to lose myself?

I decided to make two lists. One list was all the times where I could see trauma. Those times when people made fun of me in school, traumatic experiences in life & with guys I dated, and times when I went down a different path than I had planned.

The second list was of all the times I was the happiest in my life. I compared the lists and couldn’t believe what I saw. I found that all the times I was happiest was when I was painting or doing some form of artwork. The gradual downfall of my artistic endeavors synced up perfectly with the traumas of my youth. All I could see was this damaged inner child going deeper and deeper into her inner prison over the course of my life. All this time, I thought I was protecting her from further damage. However doing so only hurt her even more. My inner child is literally a caged bird unable to fly.

This is a perfect example of that saying:

“Your outer life is a reflection of your inner life”.

Understanding where my blocks began helped me finally figure out how to fix them. My biggest take away epiphany is that all of our blocks are of the inner child.

If you feel guided, try to make your own trauma vs happy list to see how they mirror one another. See what timeline you were in when your happiest moments started to fall away. What were they replaced with? Knowing these triggers is a great way to find where our blocks lie.

Another bit of homework is to check out the book ‘Reconciliation: Healing the Inner Child’ by Thich Nhat Hanh. Just reading the introduction helped me realize how poorly I have treated my inner child. Thich Nhat Hanh explains how important it is to just recognize the inner child is there with us. Just giving the inner child attention and recognition helps heal ourselves from the inside out.

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