I was talking with a friend, and he told me: There was a time in my life when I described my inner self by a visual representation of a fortress in the middle of a desert. My external self was a fortress, an impenetrable stronghold, guarded by a part of me who walked around the top and watched people approach. Inside the fortress was my internal self where there were hundreds of rooms, each one open, inviting, and filled with beautiful decorations. But there was one room that was locked, bare and lit only by a dull blue flame. This is where the most personal part of me resided: Anxious, pushing up against the door to make sure no one entered. Do you understand that I was afraid to let anyone in that room where the ‘real’ me was? When people came to the fortress, the public part of me – the guard – let them in and accompanied them to certain rooms. They were never free to look around or permitted entrance into the locked room. In time, I learned to open my fortress walls and invite people to look around as they wish. The locked room isn’t bolted shut anymore.
My reaction: As I listened to this visual interpretation of my friend’s concept of self, I was intrigued and touched deeply. The fortress described by this young man was one I knew well because I myself had constructed one in much the same manner. Especially through Jeff’s addiction, I closed up my soul, my joy and my availability and allowed no one to enter the room with the dull blue flame. As I continued to do my work with honesty and toward serenity, my locked room isn’t locked anymore.
Today’s Promise to consider: Maybe we all build metaphorical fortresses in the desert that contain open rooms for our public persona and a locked and guarded room to keep our private selves safe. Though I recognize the need to protect myself, today I will break down the doors of my stronghold and allow others, especially those who love me and are in my support group, to see the real me.