When my father died in 2008 I remember feeling like an above the ground swimming pool caved in and all the water just flowed out into the earth. It was like all that he “held” for me was no longer holdable. It was freeing actually, even through all the sadness and loss. My father held a lot of expectations for me, especially around my looks. My physical appearance was very important to both him and my mother. As a child I remember feeling very awkward and gangly. My mom literally looked like Jacqueline Onassis. And my father looked a lot like Sean Connery. They were individually very attractive, but together, as a couple, they were downright stunning. When they walked into a room, every head would turn. Mom and dad cast big, big shadows. And, as a child, I was quite happy to hide in those shadows. I was painfully shy and socially awkward. They were forever trying to get me to come out of my room so that people could “see me”. I would resist and mom and I would have big fights about why I couldn’t just put a dress on, comb my hair and parade around the room so everyone could comment on how much I’d grown and what a little lady I’d turned into and how beautiful I was. It was sheer torture.
One of the biggest struggles in my childhood was with my hair. I’ve heard many clients and friends relate to this over the years as well. My mother struggled with my hair constantly. She said it was too silky and the baretts would slide thru and my hair would then hang in my face; making her feel like a neglegent mother. She wanted to cut it so it would grow back thicker and stronger. She’d curse it and pull at it with the brush and I would scream and cry. We had countless battles over my hair in the early years of my life. On the other hand, my father loved my long hair and begged me never to cut it. I remember feeling like I would not be able to please both of them. And, at some point one of them would be upset with me over the state of my hair. So, when I was in 4th grade, I chose to cut my hair off...saddening my father to no end.
Not surprisingly, to this day, I’m never satisfied with my hair. In the past 48 years I’ve worn my hair long, short, long again, short again, permed, and colored. Over the years I’ve been obsessed with hair products of all kinds that serve to mold my mane into some sort of pretend mask if only for a short while until the next washing. Ironically, my life partner just so happens to be a hairdresser! So why, you ask, am I still not able to really accept and “own” my hair. That’s the question, isn’t it. I believe that I still have a lot of old “messages” in my hair. From my early struggles with my mother, I find that most days I’m dissatisfied with my hair. I look in the mirror and mess with it and scrunch it and add more product to it. My partner Abby will walk by, having witnessed this behavior before, many times, and simply say, “Babe, it’s just hair, let it go.” But, you see that’s the thing, for some reason, with all my tools and abilities to connect to spirit, clear and update energy for myself and others; I can’t let it go. I’m in a pickle. I must say, as I’m writing this I feel some shame over not being more evolved. But, there you have it. My hair is my pandora’s box and it’s sitting right on top of my head.
I don’t want to give the impression that my mother or father are to blame for my hair struggles; quite the opposite actually. I feel they left an imprint there; like when the city pours new concrete and a dog walks on it leaving a paw print of indelible proportions etched forever in the hardening surface. My parents left their “message” in my hair. And, it’s for me to clear, heal and transform. I know this but have simply never been able to do it. I’ve been caught in the struggle and because of this have missed the transformational piece. My piece. My hair. My life. It awaits me like your life awaits you.
So, in keeping with this idea of reclaiming a part of you, I’d like to pose a question:
Is there a part of your body that you have simply been unable to accept? If so, would you be willing to update this area of your self?
Many of you may focus on a part of your physique like your belly or hips or biceps, etc. Whatever the area (and no area is too vain as it belongs to you and all parts of you are important) can you now begin to look at some of the “messages” in this particular area? I believe so strongly that our energy field “hears” what we say about ourselves, to ourselves. And, all parts of our bodies are made up of energy. Energy is the binding force that allows our cells to band together to form...us. So, if we are truly made up of energy and our energetic field hears us and can be transformed or manipulated by what we “say” or by what is said to us, about us, doesn’t it stand to reason that any negative messages could become, over time, quite harmful? Good stuff to ponder. Here’s one more piece about these messages:If you have someone else’s energy sitting inside a part of you playing a tape, so to speak, especially if it’s a negative tape, it’s your responsibility to update this recording into present time. It’s on you to tell yourself a better story; something true that comes from your heart. The story I have in my hair is one of non-acceptance. It was never right for my mother or father and thus I’m never satisfied with it to this day. Both my parents died years ago. But I’m still trying to live up to something....some expectation that’s not mine.
For instance, as crazy as it may sound, I can feel the expectations my parents had for me, regarding my looks, held in the strands of my hair. They wanted me to be as beautiful as I could possibly be so the world would be kind to me and offer me all that it possibly could. They wanted as many doors as possible to open for me and, for some reason, they both felt that my appearance was the key for me to open these doors. Perhaps it was just their generation that believed this way or perhaps it was because I was a girl in the South in the ‘70‘s. Either way, it’s as if all of their expectations for me were both placed by them and held by me atop my head and I am literally living underneath them. I’m living beneath all of their hopes and dreams for me. But, what about my hopes and dreams for my own life? How do I get to “own” this part of me so that I can finally live from my true, present time self?
I wish I had an easier answer for you, and I encourage you not to try this at home. However, for me at this time, the only way I feel I can update this patterning with my hair, the only way I can both accept my hair and get my parents out of my hair is to shave my head. Drastic? Yes! But I feel I simply can’t live under this old “hat” of delusion any longer. I’m scared to shave my head but somehow I’ve always known I would. It’s like a right of passage for me and at the ripe old age of 48.5, I’m taking it. If there was another way to keep my hair and update it, trust me, I’d have found it by now. But I feel it’s for me to take over, own my hair once and for all, and begin again.
Perhaps you have a part of yourself you’d like to update and own and love into present time. If so, begin by identifying the area. Then take a long, hard and truthful look at what you really tell yourself about this part of you. What are you hearing yourself say about your chosen area? Are these messages coming from your heart? Are they yours? Perhaps, like me, the messages in this part of your physical body are from someone else. Whether the old tapes are from you or someone else, if they are not coming from your heart, if they are not kind, loving and accepting, then they have to go!
So it begins with awareness. Shining light onto the dark crevices of our bodies and our psyches. Then we see what we see and update what we can in our own way. If you have old messages in your stomach, for instance, identify what you’re telling yourself about your stomach. And then simply begin to love your stomach. Thank it for all it does for you every day. It digests your food, it carries your “engine” so to speak. You could not run without it so thank it daily. Become aware of how many times you say or feel something negative about it and simply stop. Wait a beat. And say something positive about your stomach instead.
This process is about letting go of what we may have always done and being present with what is, at all costs. You don’t have to accept old patterns of behavior. You can change them by bringing your awareness to them and loving them. Even if it has to be a drastic kind of change, like in my case, it simply means a big love is awaiting you on the other end.
As I was in the process of writing this newsletter, I did, in fact, shave my head. I was so scared....all my demons were up telling me things like “what if my ears stuck out or my head was misshapen? What if I was no longer feminine looking, etc.” But when I got those clippers in my hand and said goodbye to my mom and dad; when I told them I loved them but they could no longer hang out in my hair, I felt calm and free. After the first few cuts I turned the clippers over to Abby and the rest is history. I’ve felt nothing but positive freedom and love; love for myself and love for my family for trying to protect me. They were trying to protect me with their beliefs. However, their beliefs were not my beliefs. And loving them and letting them go was one of the best and most loving things I’ve ever done for me.
It’s never too late to love and let go and love again.... May all beings benefit.
Angie Arkin, May 2014