We live under layers. The circumstances of our lives lead to the gradual accumulation of them. Some layers can be beneficial, and some are a weight upon us. Layers of beliefs and experiences. Layers of history, misunderstanding, deception, broadly-directed anger, subcultures, real or perceived hurts, diseases and desires. We’re barely aware it’s happening, the accumulation of layers around our solid core. It’s like we are the frog in the water who doesn’t realize the temperature is rising.
What’s a sign that the layers are a weight rather than an attribute? Well, it can vary. Crying over everything – both good and bad – can be a sign. Lashing out at people and provoking arguments with strangers can be a sign. On twitter, I’ve seen people continually instigate arguments with strangers just so they could block them, like a virtual sociopath. When you step back and see that your energy is not being focused in a healthy direction – gossip, jealousy, general negativity – that is a sign. When you misconstrue the efforts of friends and loved ones to be an attack, that is a sign. What else? Look into a child’s eyes and if there is any uncertainty, that is a strong sign. Children see things that adults dismiss. The most profound sign of all is when you realize within yourself that you have somehow become lost, and it’s time to be found.
When we start to deal with the layers, it’s like loosening and slowly peeling the layers of an onion. Your core is under there, somewhere. I once said that it’s not our shell that keeps us strong, it’s our core. Perhaps it’s more than that. I think our shell can actually make us weak, by obscuring our core from self and others. Like a touchstone unable to be touched.
Peeling the layers is good, honest work. Like with a real onion, the process often involves tears. It doesn’t come easily, but in the end there is hope for a lighter you, without the layers of onion. The baggage once carried is boxed up and put aside. You can visit it from time to time, but you are allowed to move out from under it and set it down.