As she walked in nature, pondering her anger, Claudia felt foolish and self indulgent. “This is stupid,” she thought. “Anger is for out of control people and if anything, I’ve learned to control those childish impulses as I’ve aged.” But had she really? Or had she merely found ways to numb herself through keeping busy, or eating or gossiping or having a glass of wine every night. As she pondered this, Claudia felt heat start to rise in her chest. Then she was surprised by the tears that formed quickly. “OK, I’ll talk to it like they suggested. But where do I begin?”

“Hello anger,” she said out loud. “How’s it going?”

Not very well, she thought. Then to herself, Claudia said, “What are you trying to tell me?” As she said these words, Claudia sat down at the edge of a tree and closed her eyes. “What are you trying to tell me?” she repeated to herself. Almost immediately, words flew into her head:

Pay attention to me.

“What are you trying to teach me?” she asked.

I have energy that you have been ignoring. I am your friend and not something to be pushed away. I need your love.

This thought made Claudia feel very sad and she had an image of being in a playground and pushed away by another girl who didn’t want her to join in a group. She found herself talking to her younger self, comforting her and telling her it would be alright. Claudia felt a wave of warmth spread over her chest and a feeling of peace.

More memories began to flood her and she treated each one as a precious gift and opportunity to love a part of herself, a younger part of herself, that had been ignored. She practiced being a friend to herself and realize that this was different than being kind a generous – a trait she’d mastered. This was really about love.

Slowly, she got up from the tree and walked back to the others who were waiting for her at the retreat center. She realized that even though everyone there was still not so young, that they were beautiful. What surprised her most was seeing her own beauty and she realized she was coming home to herself.

Soon it was time to leave the retreat to go home. She wondered if she’d still be able to see the beauty in others, even if they didn’t yet know it themselves. She received blessing from the retreat leaders and knew she still had work to do, but that she had come home to herself. When she returned home she found that she felt different as she lived and worked with others. She felt more gracious toward others and people noticed how freely and gracefully she loved them. By being herself, she gave others permission to be themselves. They felt free and beautiful when they were with her and realized how not so young but how beautiful they were too.

The End

While this is a modern day fable, it may have struck a chord with you. Comments?