Taking a step forward can feel like taking a step backwards. For instance, upon completion of my first reading, I was overcome by shame. It surprised me! I had not been aware of feeling ashamed before then. I asked myself, “Why do I feel so much shame?” I realized that— until then— I had been around people who were more ashamed than me. Surrounding myself with people who carried shame was comfortable because, in their presence, my shame could hide. Being with my regular crowd did not challenge me to look at myself.

It was not until I began psychic training that my environment was clear enough for me to recognize and experience my shame. At psychic school, I was surrounded by people who had processed (some of) their shame— which allowed me to see my shame. I knew that I had a choice to make. I could surround myself with people who had more shame (and pain, generally), which would enable me to mask— and perhaps accumulate— my own shame and pain, or I could choose to take a step by facing the discomfort of experiencing and acknowledging my imperfections in order to grow.

When we decide to take a step, we must release the energy that holds us back. Discovering my shame did not feel like taking a step forward; however, I had to release it in order to move ahead, and I could not let it go without recognizing it. In this way, moving towards our dreams can feel like heading into our nightmares. It is a strange process: we must clean out what we do not want in order to have what we do want.

Taking steps is not always fun at the time, but it becomes fun eventually. If we avoid facing certain experiences, we never learn to recognize, process, and release them. If they stay with us, they influence our actions and attitudes, usually unconsciously and undesirably. On the other hand, when we learn to navigate something new, life becomes less scary and more enjoyable. The fun increases with the willingness to face whatever is happening.

As I have learned the power of allowing that-which-I-do-not-like to surface, move through, and release, I have come to relish the process. After all, the space that was once inhabited by negativity fills up with delight. After telling a friend that I was releasing disappointment, she asked, “How does it feel to release disappointment?” I replied, “Disappointing.” While it is disappointing to let go of disappointment— and shameful to move through shame— it is satisfying to view the world with less disappointment, and it is freeing to move with less shame. Life feels much lighter on the other side of these releases!

Addressing these unfamiliar aspects of ourselves requires that we loosen our tendencies to protect ourselves in favor of faith in our abilities to handle our lives. Facing ourselves and our lives honestly is not for the faint of heart! Knowing, though, that we have the tools to look at our experiences, understand them, integrate the learning they provide, and release them, increases our comfort in ourselves and our lives.

Each step helps us to breathe easier!

Written by Heidi Szycher, a staff member at the Boulder Psychic Institute. Check out her personal site at healings.biz.

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