Positive about Change September 2013 - Page 19

Getting Out of

the Grave

by Shelly O’Connell

A handful of dirt tossed on the coffin, that’s the image that has prompted this reflection. It started me thinking. For some time in the not too distant past I was living in the grave. I didn’t quite know it of course, but looking back I see that is where I was; buried under mounds of dirt, barely breathing and constricted in my ability to move. That is until I started digging my way out.

That involved looking at “the lies

I told myself” as one of my friends

puts it. I had to get radically honest about my life and the fact that I was in the grave. Not only that but I had to be clear that people I thought had my back were in fact doing their best to toss a handful of dirt on my coffin or in some cases they were using shovels. In one instance that person actually had a backhoe! It’s a wonder I made it out alive! Just so you know, I’m laughing as I write this now.

The coffin was of my own making. It consisted of the walls I put up to keep myself safe or so I thought. If I act in this way then these folks will love me, not hurt me and I’ll be alright. It will keep the pain away. If I stay small and constricted to this tiny space and way of being then no one will have any reason to throw dirt in my face. These were thoughts in my mind but they existed well below my conscious mind. They impacted all of my actions and lack of actions.

Guess what? It didn’t work! I was in terrible pain and then it started showing up in my body. That’s actually what woke me up. I injured my back and had two months of being laid up in bed to contemplate the truths of my life. That was when I started digging. I uncovered some interesting things, most of them painful...