This post is about to be real. It's the kind of post that you don't want to read, but need to read. And, if I'm being honest, the kind of post I don't want to - but need to - write.
Granted, I might be jumping the gun here. But I think I may have stumbled onto the secret of building wealth, and it's nothing close to what I thought it was.
I hate when people go into a long diatribe right before they get into the topic of the post, so I'll just come right out and say it:
it's inner child and shadow work.
Ok, now for the diatribe. What the hell am I talking about? What is shadow work and inner child work?
Think about any interview of a millionaire you've ever watched. You won't make it through 20 minutes without them mentioning that they "released their limiting beliefs and unlocked their highest potential."
What they don't seem to mention, however, is the shit storm of painful memories, insecurities, personality shortcomings, the slow climb to self forgiveness, the acceptance of never receiving closure, acceptance of injustices in your life, and release of bitterness that accompanies those nine words.
It is hard work - and the worst kind of hard work, at that. It's the emotionally exhausting. and unsettlingly vulnerable kind. It's constantly dragging out your deepest and darkest secrets - so deep and dark, in fact, that you haven't admitted them to even yourself - before exposing them for (what feels like) the world to know.
That's shadow work. That's inner child work.
Ashleigh, that sounds like the woo hippie version of torture. Why would you do that to yourself?
Because I could feel myself blocking my blessings. While everyone was telling me how awesome it was that I go to Yale, how proud of myself I should be, how grateful I should feel for the opportunity, I actually felt woefully sad. I constantly felt this internal mismatch between my spirit and my environment, and I couldn't figure out why.
Logically, to feel this way made absolutely no sense. I got into the only school to which I applied. I achieved my goal of eliminating my house payment by house hacking. I have a 3.9 GPA. "For Pete's sake, Ashleigh. What more could you possibly want? "
And then it hit me. Everything was wrong, even though nothing was wrong. I found myself really triggered and frustrated with the constant repairs that my house needed but I could barely afford as I college student; meanwhile, I consistantly watched friends in FIRE community make $15, $20, even $30 thousand a month from their online businesses. I watched their IG stories with boyfriends who loved them, surrounded by friends who cheered them on. I was jealous. And I was lonely.
I realized that I was (hell... am) harboring onto past events that not only didn't serve me, but held me back. Ladies and gents, you simply can't become a millionaire while holding onto that frame of mind. Why? Because at the very root of jealousy and loneliness is the deeply rooted and core belief that you're not good enough to accomplish the exact same thing.
And I'd venture to say that many of us have similar beliefs.
So what exactly is shadow work and child work? Why is it so hard? Is it as weird as it sounds?
Shadow work and child work are forms of journaling and guided meditations. It's not that they're unique techniques of meditation necessarily, just that their focus is on digging up past memories, insecurities, and conditioning. You then go back and re-program your mind to believe more productive beliefs.
As far as whether it's weird or not depends on you. As a student midwife, meditation is a huge facet of my life. I encourage moms in labor to turn within. I encourage people overcoming postpartum depression and anxiety to turn within.
The question is how brave are you? Can you handle analyzing your biggest fears? Your most vulnerable experiences? Do you have the self awareness and emotional fortitude to address and improve your insecurities?
Wait - who's doing all this? I thought you said it was just journaling and meditating?
It is. But journaling and meditating can tap into the subconscious mind, and a lot of wild stuff happens there.You simply can't always predict how you're going to respond when you tap into a subject that our subconscious has labeled as too dangerous to bring up. Things get dicey. You might have a melt down, or maybe you'll unload on someone who had absolutely nothing to do with what you are feeling. But these are all a part of breaking down beliefs that were formed to protect you from painful experiences, but ultimately trap you into a paradigm of being too afraid to try.
What does this have to do with money again?
I'll let you know when I find out. What I do know is I am much more aware of a ton of potential that I've yet to tap into. I'm aware of intuition and gut reactions.
Now, have I seen any financial changes? A bit. I won a scholarship for an online course at $2,000. I saw a huge uptick in postpartum doula work. And, most importantly, I learned that tuition for semester was unexpectedly covered - that's $23,000 less of student loan debt.
Most importantly, I'm learning what it means to push my limits - mainly because I can recognize that I'm not reaching them. There's so much more I can stand to do. So let's see where this leads me!