All things in this life are made up of opposite sides; yin and yang, up and down, light and dark, high and low, happy and sad....I could go on and on and on. However, when we speak of the ego most often times we refer to it as something negative, something that we must get rid of, something that steals the light from our lives, that crushes the spirit. I have come to learn ever so recently that the ego is just like all things, it can carry you forward and it can hold you down. Being a person with quite a substantive ego I am finally able to see the damage it can and is causing in my life but I can also view it fondly in the sense of what it has given to me, how it out performed against great odds only because it always believed it was better than maybe it really is. Maybe it had to be such a big part of my life to carry me through to find me in the very place I sit today, contemplating both the wings and the weight of my very own ego.
Back in November of 2015 I wrote a piece on change...I knew in my soul something was coming, I asked for it, heck I begged for it. I had no idea what was in store for me, for my soul, for my ego, for my personal growth on this earth but I can tell you this is the hardest lesson I have had to learn. I am facing off with the 2 sides of my ego and am finally seeing that it has grown to be a monster that has consumed Renate, she is just a tiny ember in the fire of life right now but that ember caught my attention just long enough to make me take notice, to want to fan it and bring it back to life.
My life as a young child, teen, youth and young adult were marred by lack, fear, loss and overall need for survival. I didn't have that comfort that children should have, the familial security and warmth, praise and reassurance...I grew up in fear. Fear that I was not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, not lovable...just not enough. I remember when my ego started to grow, when the real Renate stepped aside to bring in the beast that took her place, I developed this front facing Renate, this brave, funny, outgoing, "I don't care and I don't need you attitude" Renate. She came in when I was about 12, she has watched the moves of all around her, she steps carefully, she mimics the movements of people much smarter, braver than her, she plans and she never ever takes a break or even contemplates sleep. Over the past 36 year she has grown, she believed in the real Renate, she took chances, climbed up the corporate ladder, always watching and planning each move strategically. She became a force, a force that was unstoppable but that in itself became the worst part of Renate's ego....she never 'arrived' as soon as she obtained something she started climbing higher.
I recently started coaching sessions and the archetype that I was compared with hit me harder than I could ever express, I was labelled an "Exhausted Free Climber." A free climber is a person that climbs mountains without tethers, they don't attach themselves to people for fear of being tied down, stopping their constant journey to conquer higher summits, they just keep moving. The Exhausted Free Climber spends all their time planning their next move, watching those around them to learn from them, to be better. Once they reach a summit, the never stop, they look for a more challenging summit...but at some point the exhausted free climber needs to take a break. I never ever saw this part of me - I didn't even identify with my ego or how it had gone from being the wings that helped me grow and believe in myself and take chances to the ego that weighs me down, turns me into someone and something I do not like.
I see it now, the ember is burning brighter and it's shining a light on the darkness that has become me.
I am awake now. Guess what? I don't have to keep climbing, I have a choice to stop and enjoy the achievements of my life. Where am I heading? Who am I trying to impress? Why do I never feel like I have arrived? Why can I not feel whole? Why do I think I should be and have more than others?
I'm almost 48, I am lucky to still be healthy, to be on this earth enjoying the finer things that life has to offer. I can and I will look back at the wings of my ego, thank it and love it for getting me here today but I can also now see clearly the weight of my ego and stop it from controlling the person I am meant to be.
This change that came in the form of a new job has nothing to do with the change of jobs, it was the test I had to take to bring me to a place of seeing Renate and all of her sides, accepting her, loving her and moving forward in a way that is kinder and gentler towards her.
Thank you Ego, you are an amazing teacher of light and dark....and another log goes on the fire!