When I was a girl of about four or five years of age, my grandmother, Boma, used to take me on outings to downtown Chicago. (The photo is from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago) We’d hop on a bus or ride on the “L” to various destinations. I still have fond memories of petting the goats at Lincoln Park Zoo, seeing baby chicks hatch at McCormick Place during the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, and walking along State Street in wide-eyed wonderment as we took in the Marshall Fields Christmas windows. We did so much together in those early years. But then something changed. Unbeknownst to me, Boma was involved in a car accident. Physically she was unharmed, but her mental outlook on life suffered greatly. She became quite fearful and our weekly excursions came to an end.
Recently, I participated in Jack Canfiled’s Breakthrough to Success workshop. During the Removing Your Inner Blocks exercise, my goal was to dig deeper into whatever limiting beliefs I may have had in regards to wealth and my ability to allow more of it into my life. Because I have done this type of exercise before, I wasn’t necessarily expecting some grand revelation. Yet, I’m always open to anything that may help me reach my full potential, so I did participate in earnest. Money would be my focus for this visualization. So thoughts about Boma, and my grandfather, Popu, were not in any way on my mind.
As Jack talked me into the first part of the exercise, I felt a physical manifestation of stiffness in my upper back. He suggested I go back to a time when my limiting belief was first formed. I was consciously picturing my mother when she was still alive because I figured she was a key influence on how I had formed my beliefs around wealth. Then suddenly the scene changed. Overpowering the image that I was trying to hold was something unexpected. I was at my grandparents’ house. Boma and Popu were babysitting me, a common occurrence back then due to the fact that my mom was either working or undergoing cancer treatments, and my father was at school studying for his PhD. This left my grandparents to watch over me during the day.
The memory arose of how my grandfather never wanted to do anything with me. He would argue with Boma about it, saying he wasn’t interested in playing games and that she should instead. But she didn’t want to either. Since her accident, she was not the same person. I recalled the ongoing tension between the two of them. On numerous occasions, Boma would bring out a special treat that she had kept secret from Popu. She’d announce that she bought it just for me, and that he couldn’t have any. I’d eat the treat as he sat there stewing. They both used me as a pawn to get under each other’s skin. It was something they did often—over and over again—and it aways felt strange to me. I was too young to know what was going on, but this kind of codependent, passive-aggressive behavior was commonplace in that household.
During the meditation, I started to understand how, as a child, I came to believe that I was unwanted, unworthy, and unlovable. I wasn’t good enough for my grandfather to want to play with me. And I didn’t know why Boma stopped taking me on our weekly excursions, so I thought the reason had to be me. (I wouldn’t find out about her car accident until I was a teenager.) I was caught in the middle of their own dysfunction, but I believed it was all my fault.
Jack now asked that I have my adult self speak to the younger me. I let her know that she wasn’t the reason for her grandparent’s behavior. It had nothing to do with her. They had their own issues. Popu was insecure in his emotions and didn’t know how to be real around a young expressive granddaughter. He was from the old school where men didn’t play with young kids, especially girls. I also reminded my inner child of what we had learned about our grandmother’s car accident when we where a teenager. That event probably caused Boma to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, but back then, no one would have recognized the symptoms, and as a result, it was never addressed. Her fearfulness and dysfunction had nothing to do with my younger self. I let my inner child know in no uncertain terms that she was certainly worthy of love, companionship, and deserved so much more. It was a touching experience for me, although not overly emotional.
After the visualization concluded, Jack had all the workshop participants take part in breakout groups to share our experiences from the exercise. As I was relaying my story to my group, a sudden wave of intense emotion came over me, so much so that I started tearing up and wasn’t able to continue talking. I was crying for the child who didn’t understand what was going on at her grandparents’ home. Crying for the little girl who didn’t get her needs met. Crying because she thought she wasn’t a fun person to be around. Because she was unlovable. Because of the decision she made to remain quiet and not speak up so as to please them and gain Popu’s favor. I was crying because of all the lost time where my life could have been different if I simply believed I was indeed worthy.
After what felt like a long time of trying to speak, I was finally able to stop crying. I was embarrassed, yes, but oh what a release it was! That night, I slept like a baby. The next day, I woke up feeling lighter and less self-conscious than I have in a very long time. For the remaining two days of the workshop, I played full out. Any nervousness I may have been feeling was gone. Participating in the breakout groups with new people was effortless. It was awesome! I’d experienced a real breakthrough.
The week since this release has been fabulous. I feel better about myself, more confident about my path, and clearer on where my money blocks were coming from. I’m truly looking forward to whatever is coming next.
That’s a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.
What a powerful experience and insight, Tashai! I feel inspired. Thank you.