After having given up my apartment three years ago to follow the call of my heart to go explore new paths of living, I have landed at my parent’s house again. Here I am now, in my childhood’s room, almost 10 years later from when I first left.
I remember my yoga teacher teasing me when I disclosed to her that I will be living with my parents again: “Oh, you think you’re enlightened? Go live with your family and see.”
Arriving here was a great challenge. While I had choosen a simple and humble life in nature for myself, lived one year in a yoga ashram in the forest, spending a lot of time practicing detachment and modesty–small-town life seemed to be far away from modest and free. Though the houses and cars are big, though everything for (the illusion of) safety & freedom is in place, everything seems to be covered by a heavy, thick haze of powerlessness, dependence, depression and fear.
Typing this down makes me swallow because feeling and seeing all this saddens me. I can feel it like a heavy stone inside my stomach. Typing this down and sharing it also makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s one of these times it feels too personal to share–but the concern of being ‘too personal’ isn’t something I give weight to anymore because I know that only through sharing openly we are able to connect, to transform, to grow together. So when you take a look at the big picture, there is no such thing as ‘too personal’, as we are all in this together.
So what do I mean when I speak of cages? I am speaking of structures that we create–consciously or unconsciously, inside and out–that keep us from living our potential. Well, we create them or we adopt them–as a child from our parents or from society / culture / whatsoever.
Belief systems and behaviour patterns that numb us, disconnect us from our intuition, our inner wisdom and can block us to a degree so we become incapable of even being able to feel what is truly good for us, let alone of knowing how to live it out.
Sharing living space with my parents again and getting to know them from a completely new perspective is, little by little, revealing the cages that I have adopted. Discovering these acquired behaviour patterns now is making me marvel on a regular basis. It explains so much of my way of thinking and behaving that I was wondering about until now, asking myself where they are coming from because many of them felt kind of alien and not like a way that is embodying my very own perspective.
While doing this inquiry of understanding the sometimes so restrictive or even destructive ways of my behaviour and it’s origin, I have come to learn that speaking with family members about these patterns is not necessarily helpful.
I remember times when I still used to live here as a teenager and my mum would ask me why I would never share what is going on inside of me. In an absurd way I got blamed for a way of behaviour that they had passed on to me. I never learned how to speak about my feelings; we didn’t do this within the family back then.
Another aha moment was when I embraced my parents when I arrived this time. Yes, they do give hugs but, wow, I realised for the first time: they are super insecure while doing so and there is an underlying discomfort or fear of intimacy / body contact that comes with it.
I was wondering for so long why I had such difficulties with enjoying hugs or body contact. My mom once told me: “You never liked close body contact; even as a toddler you would push me away.”
Today I can see why. The answer is not, I have always been like this but: I didn’t learn it any better.
My mom always told me that I could achieve anything in life that I dream of. Somehow this belief is deeply rooted in me and for that I am very grateful for. At the same time depression, despair and overwhelm was also quite often around and something that I absorbed aswell.
This was something I was not able to grasp until just recently. I always wondered why I would fall into black wholes from time to time, being incredibly depressed and overwhelmed, while I had never experienced truly severe trauma in my life.
I unconsciously adopted the pattern and furthermore even emotions that did not belong to me, I can see today.
As uncomfortable as it might be to become aware of these unpleasant passengers–with it comes the chance of letting them go.
I remember giving my younger brother’s girlfriend a lift. While we were driving she asked me: “How can it be that you turned out like this? Don’t children usually become like their parents?” I had to laugh out loud about the bluntness of this question but didn’t have any answer for her in that moment.
While the answer to this question is probably multi-layered, I guess the main reason why I ‘turned out like this’ was my curiosity for another way of living and my desire for freedom. At one point I just simply felt so miserable within all these heavy cages that isolated me from myself and others, so that there was no other option than to break out or to wither.
In a way my yoga teacher was right: it is indeed a challenge to share a living space with your family again. It is intense and uncomfortable at times because you get mirrored all the habits you might not like about yourself. At the same time it is a chance to discover and resolve behaviour patterns that may have been passed on over generations. This I believe, is precious work and it’s worth the friction and the discomfort.
I encourage everyone to break out. Break out, go get to know the unkown. Don’t stay within your cage, your bubble, your whatever you want to call it–even if it might be quite comfortable there. Give up the baggage that doesn’t serve you. Travel far but don’t forget to come home and do the work.
लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु
About Cages and Break-Outs