IMG_4378We all carry within us a well of Self. We can’t see this well, but we know when the waters are clear and full or when they’re low and flecked with the dark matter of the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. We know when the waters are warm from the time, interest, and compassion we pour into ourselves or cold from being ignored. Like a child, the Self thrives under the sunlight of focused and loving attention, and withdraws when you, as the loving parent, make everything else in your life more important.

When the waters are cold, dark-flecked and low, the sides of the well magnetically attract unwanted thoughts, worry, perfectionism, and self-doubt. A flame of thought darts into the well and, without the waters to absorb it, it clings to the side and burns there. Without a full Self to douse the flame with truth-waters, to turn inside and calmly, reassuringly answer questions that can swarm into a vulnerable mind, the thoughts take hold. The negative fire is fanned by negative attention. Suddenly the question, “What if I’m gay?” or “What if I hurt someone?” explodes into a bonfire of obsession. You’re now even more removed from your well, which craves only one thing: the light of your loving attention.

On the other hand, when the waters are full from knowing yourself and loving yourself you can answer such questions with clarity. The clarity of a full Self douses the thought-flames. The dart cannot ping into the sides of the well because the water is there to absorb it. When the waters of Self are full you don’t need to turn to others for reassurance. You don’t worry about making mistakes. The flow of water inside reflects the river flow of life: you trust yourself like you trust life, and this trust is the North star that allows you to navigate your life and make decisions big and small with confidence.

We’re all born with a full well. It’s our birthright. But early on we’re taught to externalize the well, to hand it over to others. We’re conditioned to believe that someone or something else carries the keys to the faucet that fill the well with lovely, warm water.  You learned to abdicate those keys early in life, to hand them to all of the big and small people – parents, teachers, doctors, siblings, peers – who seemed to know what you needed and what you liked. Fed on the cultural value system of competition and comparisons, you learned to climb the desired social ladder – or fall off of it. You later learned to climb the corporate ladder – or fall off it. You learned that it’s climb or be climbed, bully or be bullied. You learned that everything that matters is out there. You learned that everyone else has the keys to your happiness.

Nobody has those keys, except you. You’ve always had it. It’s the keys to your self-trust, your self-love, and your self-knowledge. If you could learn to retrieve those keys, your life would transform. You would learn to listen to the songs that float in your inner waters. You would learn to love your own company. You would learn not to fear making mistakes and to allow the gifts that long to travel into the world to find expression. You would learn what it takes to fill your well of Self.

There are many ways to fill the well, but we cannot know what the well needs until we slow down and turn inward. We cannot listen to the whisperings that emanate up from the depths of the well, from the chortling of the water, when we’re running and ruminating and working and talking and hooked into screens and living our lives from the head up. Everything our culture tells us we need to be happy is wrong: it’s not the city or job or partner or face or body that fills the well. It’s not staying busy and climbing and achieving. We all know that sometimes the people who seem to have it all in the world still live with an empty well in a state of misery and despair.

The well is filled by listening. It’s filled by dropping out of head and into body. It’s filled by becoming an archaeologist of Self where you become fascinated by the maps and pathways that comprise your labyrinth. A good cry fills the well with the purest waters on earth. And when the well is full, the intrusive thoughts are washed away on the river of your tears, absorbed in the shimmering spring filled by your own loving.

Are you ready to begin the journey that will help you take back your keys? Are you ready to learn the tools that will help you break ground and fill the waters? Join me on the next round of Trust Yourself: A 30 day program to help you overcome your fear of failure, caring what others think, perfectionism, difficulty making decisions, and self-doubt.  Join me as you learn how to reclaim what is rightfully yours.

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