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Braving the Beast on a Bad Day

In times of self-doubt we are obscenely comforted by what we "know"—even if it hurts us. It is familiar and unchallenged, and somehow speaks to us in a voice that sounds true.

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Photo Credit: Malicki M. Beser on Unsplash
Photo Credit: Malicki M. Beser on Unsplash

Excerpt from Exhilarated Life: Discovering Inner Happiness

The Dragon Dies
1 of 3

Today was a bad day. It didn’t start out that way, but a series of
events—innocuous, small, some positive, some negative—started tripping me up, and the next thing I knew, I was on a spiral of dark feelings. I didn’t want to be alone with myself and I didn’t want to be with anyone—especially the one who loved me. I thought of calling afriend to see if she’d like to go to a show last minute, but decided she just might. Then I would be committed to either pretending I wasn’t bleak or else inflicting upon her my useless whining about not being
good enough!

Gawd! I grabbed my coat, shoved my phone and wallet in an inside
pocket, and headed for the door.
My son asked me where I was going
and I called over my shoulder that I was going to a show.
“Alone?” he asked, surprised. “You can’t go to a show alone! I’ll go with
you if you want.”

“Uh uh.” I was not fit company—even for myself—so I was going to
plug into a big screen comedy and shove popcorn in my mouth.

I’d never actually been to a show by myself before. I was early even for
the trailers and sat listening to Lou Rawles singing ‘You’re Gonna Miss
My Lovin’.’ I had a vague notion that life had been easier when that
song came out. But that was no more true than the so-called “truths”
my inner beast had been dishing me since mid-afternoon.

I couldn’t grab hold of my usual assurances and concluded for the
evening that it was so much easier to be negative than positive.
That
the chance of things turning out badly in spite of positive affirmations
was so much more real than the chance of things turning out well.
That, somehow, good outcomes would take more energy—more
discipline—than bad. I knew I just had to ride out this night, and I
believed a glass of wine followed by a good sleep would have me back
to my sunny little self in the morning.

My phone battery was dead—natch—and after the film I called Athan
from a pay phone. I was sure he would find my disappearance odd.
He lived in the city and I was in the netherworld, halfway between the
city and my home. Athan offered to meet me for coffee. Consistent
with my mood, I halfheartedly tried to deflect his offer: “Are you sure
you want to?” What a little girl!

I was glad he overlooked my lameness and said he was on his way. Times
like these are not alien to me, as I am sure they are not for most from
time to time. But I do know that when one is consciously reaching for
a higher level of awareness and connection with spirit, the frequency
might lessen but the intensity strengthens. Through my writing lately I
have been dropping into a deeper place of remembering and integration
of past events and their purpose and significance on a soul level. Clearing.
Lightening. Ridding myself of what does not serve me.

I have always followed alternative and natural healing therapies, to support
the physical plane of heredity, environment, emotion and spirit. In fact the
piece I had been working on all morning had me thinking about the many
layers we might use to interpret our state of balance in body, mind, and
spirit. We are like filo pastries of information if we only knew how to read them. Herbology, naturopathy, and reflexology are some and of course all the Chinese medicines read the body like a finely charted map.

If the body doesn’t efficiently process nutrients and eliminate all waste, stuff builds up, accumulates in corners and crevices, and becomes a breeding ground for toxins sapping the host body of nutrients and
energy, until the depletion leads to weakened systems inviting biological
predators.

When the body is in optimal health and not a fit environment, these
organisms move through and are evacuated harmlessly. The body is
efficient and intelligent, and is a natural healing organism.
But if the
body is dealing with various stresses and toxins, even natural therapies
may lead to conditions getting worse before they get better. A battle
rages for the supremacy of the strongest.

The soul also has such beasts, or “dragons,” as I call them here. As
we take in the information of life from the moment of birth, we
ingest nutrients and toxi
ns. We take in information and are left with
emotional byproducts. We are pre-judgment at the outset, and by the
time we may be questioning an external authority, often the parasite of
negativity—in shame or unworthiness—has lodged safely in the dark
of the mind and the soul.

The beast of self-doubt feeds on negative emotions and grows stronger as it goes unchallenged. In fact, we set up circumstances to recreate the scene or script as it was laid out unconsciously, purely because it is with what we become familiar. Just as a beaten child will often end up in an abusive relationship, we are obscenely comforted by what we “know”—even if it hurts us. It is familiar and unchallenged, and somehow speaks to us in a voice that sounds true.

Negativity generally cautions us against failure, blame, embarrassment.
It sounds so protective—a warning voice. It does this by warning you not to speak out because you might be wrong. Don’t love because you might get hurt. Don’t trust because you might be betrayed. Don’t be different because you might look stupid. Negativity keeps you safe. It also keeps you prisoner—and worse, it will eventually bring to bear all
the circumstances from which it kept you “safe.”

Negativity also tells you to be like this person or that person
because he
or she is famous, successful, rich, beautiful. Of course, you can never
be just like anyone else, so your inner negative voice will jeer at you
for failing.

Once you begin to detox (through therapy or practice, psychologically
or spiritually), you get lighter.
The dragon is no longer so easily
integrated into your personality. It becomes more obvious when it
lashes out.

Then, as you gain strength in your own light of authenticity, the beast
begins to writhe in its death throes. It even tricks you by staying really
quiet until you begin to tip the scale into autonomy and authentic
expression. With this comes confidence, esteem, and self-value. The
dragon hates that. It cannot compete with true pleasure. It cannot
thrive in love any more than cancer can in an alkaline host. Cancer
needs an acidic body. The dragon needs fear and shame. Like a rat
cornered, the beast fights to the end.

Unless we slay the dragon, it will go into remission and find some
cranny of negativity to sustain it until it recovers. It will move us subtly
into wrong decisions that, if we are not watchful and aware, will trap
us in a cycle of disappointment or victimization.
When we default to
living unconsciously—reactive rather than proactive—the dragon rises
up and the familiar voice will chide, “I told you so.”

When I met Athan for hot chocolate after the movie, he said that my
words on the phone had frightened him. I had said them “unconsciously”
but, of course, it was the dragon speaking. They were words of fear and
failure at the very time when I was being most successful in my heart’s
desires.
It was the indication that the dragon was raising its ugly head
in final assault and, if given the chance, would annihilate its very host.
I realized even as I took myself off to a show alone I had purposely
avoided the one who, with love, would hold the light for me. The
dragon was in control.

So tonight I slay the dragon. I—who carry spiders outside—will slay
the dragon. It’s not what “nice” girls do, but I’m done with pain. I
choose pleasure.

As I write, I reflect on the past week. Three days ago I said to my son,
“You know, I am finally living the life I always dreamed of.” It was
that statement that sent the beast of negativity and unworthiness into
stealth and final ambush today.
Now I get it. In a way the dragon
coming out so ferociously in daylight is good. It proves that I—and
“all that I might be”—am alive and well, and the dragon is a myth of
my own illusion.

A myth is a belief system that forms our life. Either this one will steal
my joy, pleasure, success and health, or I will destroy it once and for all.
My truths are daggers and my love is fire. The dragon dies!

~mh

If you enjoyed this chapter, please follow me on Thrive Global as I share Exhilarated Life – Discovering Inner Happiness in chapters, weekly, here on Thrive Global – or you can begin your own journey right away.

Check out my podcast Exhilarated Life on YouTube, Anchor, Spotify, Pocket Casts or your favourite podcast platform.

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