Under The Covers

Jayleen Rennebergself-development, yoga

When I went to write the blog this week, this phrase popped into my head as a way of saying “Write about this”. I have no idea where it came from or what it was supposed to mean so I sat in contemplation for a while to figure out all the things it could mean. It became pretty clear that it was supposed to be about me and who I am underneath what you see. When I look under the covers at myself there are always three people I see. I see my ghost of the past, the ghost of the present and the ghost of the future. When I decide to go on one of these journey’s within to really look as who I am now and who I want to become, I always have to tell myself to do so with compassion.

This compassion is most important for me to give to the person I once was. I was a pretty awful and slightly cunning pre-teen. I used my “popularity” to manipulate other girls and played jokes on kids that probably really hurt their feelings. I did it all to “Fit-in” and maintain a status with all the other cool kids. I do look at that time with a bit of regret, but I also remember how terrible I felt when I saw tears come to someone else’s eyes from a prank that I was behind. I feel sad for the younger me that was conditioned to think that in order to be cool you had to in some way show off your dominance. Unfortunately, I feel like there are a lot of adults that are still conditioned to think this way and that we are still conditioning our children to think like this… just watch an episode of my little pony on netflix. What I am grateful for was that the terrible feeling I had after bullying other children made me wake up and realize that I didn’t want to be the cause of any one else’s pain and I tried my best all through junior and senior high to not be that person who picked on other children. After all, as a kid, I was always the one sticking up for others and that who I wanted to become again as a teen.

I also have a strong compassion for my days as a depressed young adult. I didn’t find this out until recently, but, “An estimated 80% of individuals affected by a psychotic disorder experience their first episode between the ages of 16-30 and the median age of first onset of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is 19 years” according to the British Colombia government. The first episode is now thought to occur because of a genetic predisposition combined with a stressor that triggers the event. Hmmm, anyone remember a sudden increase of stress between 16-30 mixed with stress on the physical body from poor food choices, alcohol or drugs? Fortunately, I was never put on any medication for my mild depression and I have not been diagnosed with psychosis, but it did get to a point where I had to see a psychologist regularly. I really think this was a turning point in self development for me. It was because of this low that I was challenged to really sit with my feelings and truly process them. I had a notebook that was dedicated to writing down any stream of thought which were initially mostly negative. I would occasionally look back the next day at what I had written, see it again and realize this was how I was feeling but also be able to see the disconnection with what was actually going on and how others would perceive my feelings about myself as completely untrue. This low lead me towards yoga and meditation which have totally shaped my life.

Over the last 5 years, we’ve been hit by some extreme highs in our family life and some extreme lows. The past me learned a lot that has shaped me to be able to handle what life throws at me. It has also made me really get to know my authentic self. I know “authentic self” is one of those new-age cheesy yoga terms and I don’t always like using it. However, I do feel like the term has some weight to it and when used properly it can really spark yourself to be the best person you can be, in this moment, with the resources you have. I allow myself to be sad when I want to be sad, to feel stress when it bubbles up and to cry when my heart hurts. If I can authentically live in these emotions without projecting them on others, then I am able to process whats going on and appropriately let it go. Explaining to others that I’m a bit rattled, that I’m super sad or that I’m feeling really overwhelmed allows me to be true to my feelings and for others to see what is authentically going on, no matter how rational or irrational the feelings may be. The more honest I am with myself and with others, the more I see true connections being built and I just feel better about being me and in whatever state of me shows up that day. I know there are definitely behaviors I can work on and that’s great. If I can be totally authentic and honest to myself, it allows me to recognize where I’m not meeting my mark.

That brings me to showing you who I want to become. I think every child wants to be famous. I sure did. My four year old just told me today that she really wants to be on TV with her nails painted! That’s actually not at all what I want anymore. I feel like these days it’s harder than ever to be famous. When I look at the future, I want to be a role model for everyone I connect with in some way, no matter ow big or small. This is a pretty big job, however, whether we are aware of it or not, there is always someone who looks at you as a role model. The challenge is how you conduct yourself for those people to reflect back and think, “yes she was a great role model in my life” instead of “wow, I was completely blind sighted and I can’t believe she was my role model”. Who I want to become has always been the hardest question for me to answer in life. I never knew what kind of profession I wanted to have and I think I recognized at a pretty young age that the true essence of who you are never changes, however, the multiple hats you wear and how you express yourself changed constantly. My challenge as I continue to drive forward and shift and change is to never loose sight of that inner essence. Who I truly am is who we all truly are. We are all people who want to show love, who want to be love and who want to make positive differences in our lives.

This is just a glimpse who I was, who I am and who I want to be under the covers. I don’t dwell on the regrets I have as they happened and they were learning tools for me to move forward with. Every time I decide to go back and pull off the cover and look at who I was and who I am I remember different stories of the past, good and bad and reflect on how they have shaped me now. I try to do this exercise regularly (especially on long drives) so that I can continue to shape who I will become from life lessons of the past and present. I challenge you to do this yourself to see what you can dig up and reshape into a learning tool for amazing growth.