There is a time in all of our lives when we feel discarded, abandoned, lost, unimportant, invisible, cast aside, and basically unwanted and unloved, at least in the way that we want to be or yearn to be. I think we can all recall an event or a situation where we felt unheard. A time when we ached to be acknowledged and validated for WHO we are. I know I have. The pain of being mis-understood was so great that at times it felt unbearable.
About a month ago I came across a video on social media that had gone viral. It was a video of an abandoned/homeless dog named Miley. Miley had been living on a heap of trash, and at first glance you could not even notice her because she “blended in.” How many times has that happened to us? Being in a crowded room yet somehow feeling invisible and alone? Working hard at blending in because the truth is we are petrified to stand out.
I was so moved by the video and Miley’s journey because it resonated with me on a much deeper level. It wasn’t only Miley’s story, it was my story and your story, Miley WAS every man/woman. This thought brought me to tears. I was so compelled that I reached out to “Hope for Paws” with the intention of wanting to adopt Miley. To put an end to her misery, to give her the love that she so deserves, that I deserve, that YOU deserve.
At first it was difficult to even watch the video due to the horrific neglect that she had suffered. So often we are uncomfortable with witnessing struggle and pain. The truth is because we over identify with it. It triggers our own suffering, and our first instinct is to turn the other way, to avoid it. But as I watched the story unfold, I was amazed at Miley’s willingness to receive help. She could’ve have resisted, became aggressive out of fear, like many of us do when there is support to be had. We deny what we really need and want out of fear that we won’t get it or it won’t be how we want it to look.
Miley, however, was receptive, open and grateful. I noticed that when they put the leash on, her initial instinct was to lay back down and stay with what was familiar. Not because she didn’t want the help, but because it is what she had known. The trash pile had become her home.
Staying in what is familiar, even when it is filthy, unhealthy, toxic, and festering with potential disease is common for all of us. We know on some level that we should get out, make a change, acknowledge what isn’t working, but we don’t. We very often CHOOSE to suffer because the fear of the unknown feels greater.
Miley’s wounds were evident, out there for the world to see. Our wounds are not always that easy to notice. We get skilled at hiding them out of fear and shame.
Our appearance can tell an entirely different story, one that is completely incongruent with our inner truth. Internally, we live in darkness. Our brutal inner critic can keep us imprisoned, shutting out any possibility for light. We sabotage relationships and jobs. Our internal landscape begins to define our external reality. We are unable to hold onto peace and joy. We hold ourselves back and stay small even when our hearts desire is longing for more.
What saved Miley was love. She didn’t do it alone. She needed support. She needed those who could give her what she was unable to give herself. They witnessed and validated her wounds. They gave her time to process and heal. They waited patiently for her spirit to shine through. They provided other like-minded companions who had also been wounded. They built trust and together they loved each other out of the darkness and into the light.
I have recently launched a program called The Wilderness Walk, which is a journey into the wilderness to go through the darkness and fear of the inner mind and the pain of the wounded heart in order to integrate all aspects of our being, so we can enjoy full acceptance of who we are. To me, Miley is the epitome of a Wilderness Walker, a courageous being who is open, ready and willing to heal.
As a psychotherapist and coach, I can tell you within one minute who are the individuals who will do whatever it takes to move through their obstacles, challenges, fears, and insecurities as opposed to those who will continue to create excuses and hide out of fear of the unknown. They are both important parts of our journey.
Most of us have been in that place of feeling stuck. It was from that stuck place that I was able to find that twenty seconds of insane courage to begin my own Wilderness Walk. The walk into the darkness of my heart and mind in order to find the freedom that I had spent years yearning for. There is no easy fix, happy pill, or someone else that can do it for you.
It is a deep excavation into all the places that frighten you, so that they no longer have power on you. You stop running and start walking consciously on a new path. A path that holds hidden treasures of insight and awareness. A path that will eventually lead you home.
Are you like Miley?
Are you ready to do what it takes to obtain a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life?
To be a Wilderness Walker?
Or are you still choosing to stay stuck?