As children, we are all born with healthy souls, but sometimes life does a number on us. The traumas of childhood, the wounds of coming of age, the sacrifices we make for our careers and our families, the losses that eat away at our joy, and the fears we inherit from an anxious, panicked culture take their toll, and if you’re like many of us, by the time you reach adulthood, you’ve lost touch with the vital, healthy soul that still thrives and radiates within every single of one of us.
This was certainly true for me. After a happy childhood, my soul was still very alive and vital through my teen years, but my medical education changed all that. After a decade of difficult, sometimes abusive medical education, I felt disconnected from my soul. I know it never left me- souls never do- but at the time, I found it hard to let my soul guide my life. After ten more years working within a system that left me feeling like I was selling my soul for the job security and financial stability my career offered, I found myself coming home from work at the end of every day feeling like I had so much more to give my patients, but the system was keeping me from serving in the way my soul yearned to serve. What resulted was illness, depression, chronic anxiety, insomnia, divorce, and a feeling of disconnection from the calling that drew me to medicine in the first place.
The Masks We Wear
On the outside, it looked like I had the perfect life. Nobody guessed that my soul was getting buried deeper and deeper. I was so worried people could see how dark I had gotten without the light of my soul shining through unimpeded that I tried even harder to cover the darkness with a mask of perfection. The more worried I got that I would somehow blow my cover, the more pressure I put upon myself to keep the masks in place.
But those masks only furthered my disconnection from my soul. I had the Doctor Mask, which led me to climb up onto a pedestal and pretend to know it all. Then I had the Artist Mask, where I pretended to be deep and brooding and mysterious. And then there was the Mommy Mask and the Perfect Wife Mask, which led me to feel the pressure of baking the perfect cupcake or always wearing sexy lingerie in bed. Read More→