Hi Jenny,

I relate to what you are going through. As Open says, many of us go through this. This awareness might help you to feel less alone in what you're experiencing. It certainly helps me in that regard. The nurturing support of the Openhand community is, indeed, an invaluable support and is such a salve and comfort as we let go of our distortions. These past few years I have felt the pain of people gradually falling away from my life as I've continued to raise my vibration and express a higher way of being. It has been heartbreaking for me to say goodbye and still is.

I cried during a scene in the film "Wild" when the main character, Cheryl Strayed, is pictured on a beach writing the name of her first love, Paul, in the sand. In the voiceover, she says she has written his name on every beech she has encountered over many years. And that she will write his name one last time, symbolizing her courage and readiness to let him go. We discover that she meets and marries a kindred soul a few years later who reflects her higher way of being. I thought to myself that in a way I have written the names of certain friends and family members in the sand one last time. I will always love them, and I'm grateful for what they taught me and for what parts of me they mirrored back. And on it goes. Letting go of my distortions is an going process since the rabbit hole is deep, indeed.

Many of us are strongly conditioned in our families and in society to "want" to be popular and to be seen as such. The hyped-up beer commercials pitch to our fears so well about being lonely wallflowers as we are shown a gaggle of friends frolicking and laughing together. Apparently, drinking beer with hoards of friends is pure nirvana. Last summer I was invited to attend a luncheon with former work colleagues. As the day approached, I felt more and more anxious. Two days prior to the luncheon, I had a vivid dream in which I found myself back at the workplace with them. In the dream, I felt their reptilian energy to be absolutely soul-crushing, so I left to walk home. But I couldn't find my way. The street signs had changed. I was lost in an unfamiliar maze. I kept desperately trying to get back home to no avail. When I woke up, I decided to forego the luncheon. The dream was a powerful reminder to continue walking the path of my own authentic beingness at whatever the cost. And as I continue to do so, I will find my way back home to who I truly am.

When I said yes to the luncheon, I felt a bit like Sally Fields during her Oscar acceptance speech for "Norma Rae" when she blurted out, "You like me. You really like me." I recall that her vulnerability was so touching at the time. In some way, I wanted to fill my "need" for social acceptance by re-establishing contact with a group of people who I couldn't relate to even when I worked with them. As certain people continue to fall away from my life, I have experienced a mix of conditioned emotions. I've heard myself saying, "You're a misfit, a weirdo, a crazy kind of Howard Hughes person who wanders in the desert alone." More distortions, of course, to let go of. The open hand way is not an easy path, that's for sure. It's so helpful to read Lesley's comments about this. Like Lesley, I find that the nurturing power of nature fortifies me during challenging times. It's an absolute treasure trove of inspiration and love.

And as I've said goodbye with heartache and tears and have felt the loneliness of walking in the desert alone, at times, I have met and continue to meet ancient souls who I've journeyed with in the cosmos through eons of time. Like all of you. Your beautifully honest and vulnerable sharing inspires me to stay the path of authentic beingness, Jenny. Thank you. Wishing you continued blessings on your journey. Much Love, Catherine