This post is a part of an ongoing series entitled MIP (Man In Progress). After my 25th Birthday I decided to improve three aspects of my life, my physical well being, my romantic relationships, and my writing career. My philosophy is that a writer’s work and his life are irrevocably intertwined and in order to improve one, we inevitably have to improve the other.
This Friday will be my 27th Birthday.
Around this time of year is when I usually renew my Man In Progress pledge.
For those of you who don’t know, I made a pledge during my first year of blogging to improve three aspects of my life: my physical well being, my romantic relationships, and my career.
Progress in all areas have been slow and gradual. But there have been some noticeable improvements over the past two and a half years.
But as I keep trying to move forward, I’ve noticed that I’m being held back by a part of me that keeps getting in my way: my old, dead skin. Even though my old, dead skin has been shed, it still haunts me, and I know that the only way it will leave me at peace is if I finally lay it to rest.
Laying Your Past Self To Rest
I am learning that there are times when we must lay our old selves to rest.
What do I mean by “laying your past self to rest”? I mean that we finally have to recognize that these old parts of us—the parts of us that no longer serve us—are now truly dead.
Burying your past self is “the ritual” part of shedding your old, dead skin. It is a final symbolic gesture that ties up all the loose ends of the person you used to be, and undoes the final latch that has been holding back the person you have now become.
So, today, right before my 27th Birthday, I renew my Man In Progress pledge. But I also do something else: I engage in a ritual to help release the man I once was.
Here we go:
I am letting go of the man who was unanchored
I am letting go of the man who was not himself
I am letting go of the man who was not courageous
I am letting go of the man who was ruled by fear
I am letting go of the man who searched for validation from without
I am letting go of the man who thought he had nothing, when he always had everything
I am letting go of the man who looked to others to tell him what moved him
I am letting go of the man who looked to others to tell him that what moved him was real
I am letting go of the man who thought he could never be fit
I am letting go of that man
I am letting go of the man who defined his sexiness by what ads, TV, movies and magazines told him was sexy
I am letting go of the man who was so full of himself he could think he could go through this life all on his own—without help from his community and without the help of a force bigger than him
I am letting go of the person who was too proud to reach out for help when he needed support
I am letting go of the person who was so preoccupied with the past that he couldn’t see his present abundance
I am letting go of the person who was so obsessed with creating a perfect future that he only set himself up for disappointment after disappointment
I am letting go of the man who was reluctant to be a teacher, a mentor, a guide, and a leader, a man who would have given anything NOT to be a spiritual warrior
I am letting go of the man who didn’t trust himself, didn’t believe in himself, didn’t have the courage to follow his dreams full force, even though it went against everything he had worked towards so far, and even though it ran contrary to what everyone else thought they knew about him
Today I bury my old self
He was a vital to me because he helped me survive, and he made me the man I am today
But his ghost limits me and haunts me. He must be put to rest so that I can be at peace.
Today, I bury all the old patterns that used to limit me. Those old patterns that had me always punishing myself and never celebrating myself.
Today, I bury all the old ideas that stopped serving me. Those old, nasty ideas that said nothing I did ever worked. Those old, nasty ideas that said that nothing was ever going to get better. Those old, nasty ideas that said that dark times last indefinitely and are NOT just another season of life.
Today, I bury that old, dead skin that had me being someone I was clearly not
Today, I bury all those old patterns that were clearly toxic, and unhealthy
Today, I bury all those old ideas that were clearly untrue
Today, I pick up the mantle of the spiritual warrior I was always meant to be
I move forward now in truth, love and light, and I vow to always be of service to those who need me to guide them in that very same direction.
Today Ollin rises.
And, hopefully, today, you rise with him.
Today’s Courage Exercise
If your old self keeps haunting you, then maybe it is time to bury him or her. Perform a ritual by which you list all the old patterns and ideas that used to identify you as a person. (If you want, feel free to copy my ritual, take out what doesn’t fit you, and keep what does, and then use this final draft for your own ritual.) Write all your old patterns and ideas down, then state clearly that, today, you let all those old ideas and patterns go. Say all of this out loud to yourself and imagine your old self being laid to rest as you do this.
At last, once you have laid the old you to rest, allow the new you to finally rise.
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