This is Karen, one of the beautiful souls that came to my & @jogabeats Ibiza retreat 2 weeks ago. Karen & I connected over Instagram a year or so ago & I was fortunate enough to meet her after my talk at the @selflovelife summit earlier this year. Karen’s story goes like this:
As a shy girl growing up she wasn’t one of the cool kids, her frizzy hair & soft heart made her an easy target for bullies. She saw what she saw, felt what she felt & took her observations with her. As a grown adult, her mind, shaped on past experiences, had now created stories telling her that she needed to stay safe by hiding parts of her & locking away her heart in fear of judgement from others. Instead she tried to fit in & give society a version of herself that would be best accepted. Like many of us, the trials & tribulations of life at an early age had seen her put on a mask to protect herself, but her heart & soul have always been desperate to be seen & felt.
If we are really honest with ourselves, this story may resonate with quite a few of us. It definitely rings true for my past. What I’ve learned is that when we don’t show our true selves & try to be a safer / more popular version, we stop others from seeing our unique & beautiful authenticity. When we live in this space we block deep connection & stop ourselves from feeling truly alive anymore.
So, one of the key things I wanted to create on the retreat was a space where everyone had the freedom & felt comfortable enough to let themselves be truly seen. Masks were dropped, truths were shared, hearts saw hearts, connection followed.
I went 30 years without letting myself be fully seen, when I finally began to experience deep connection (because I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone) I soon realised quite how powerful it is & it became a key driver for me.
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing someone’s heart, not their perfections or stories about the news or other people, but instead how they feel, their real truths, who they want to be, what they love, where their real challenges lie, etc. When I hear these things in people I begin to see them, I begin to see them at a deeper level. When they tell me stories about other people or of local gossip, I hear words, but I don’t feel them, these words don’t bring deep connection for either party. This is what Karen wrote to me when she returned from our retreat:
The connection I felt with everyone was so special, I told you once that I craved the type of connection you spoke of when the masks we wear are removed. I certainly experienced that in abundance in Ibiza with my new Ibiza family. Each one of the group taught me something about myself, inspiring me with their stories and being so generous with their kindness towards me…. Since being home I’ve had several beautiful deep conversations with my sister, some old friends and some workmates, it’s absolutely lit me up! Just loving this new feeling of real connection. And the messages, love, support and encouragement we, as our new #Ibizafamily are sharing too, is just priceless. I’m so grateful to have added to my tribe.”
Now, as always, there is a balance to be found, we can’t always be pouring our heart’s out, it’s not the world we live in. However, a lot of us never share our heart & knowing how this blocks connection, it’s a sad thing for me & a problem amongst society. There is no greater freedom than sharing who you really are, it’s where your beauty lies, it’s where connection lies, it’s what makes us feel truly alive.
Finally, this blog isn’t about Karen specifically, it’s about all of us. Karen is one of the brave ones who is willing to go through the challenge of unwrapping her mask to discover more of who her heart & soul, but so many go through our entire lives living this way. I’ll be honest in saying it would have been the same for me if it wasn’t for my problem around sex. Change only comes when are willing to be judged & to be “different”, because we choose hearing our heart sing as something more valuable. That for me is beautiful & I’d love to see more of the world follow suit. Our ego is about fear, our heart is about love, without love & connection we’ll chase surface level stuff that never truly fulfils us, it’s an easy place to live & society shows us that way, but does it make us feel truly alive on the inside?