What happens when you paint layers over significant but painful events in your life?
You're sitting on your couch at home, getting ready to binge-watch your favorite TV show. It's cold outside, but you're nice and cozy under your blanket. Your eyes drift above the TV for a second. You notice a chip in the paint. How long's that been there? you ask yourself. You try to turn your focus back to the TV. But you can't get that chip in the wall out of your head. What hideous color is that underneath? I don't remember that color at all! you think.
As you pause your show, your start to imagine your life in layers of paint. You start with the bare drywall and primer, and your first coat of paint. At some point, you decide that this particular look is ugly or boring, so you decide to paint over it. Then some time goes by, or maybe something happens, to make you want to paint over it again. Then another life event takes place, maybe something you want to forget, so this time you use wallpaper 😳 and then that layer gets outdated so you decide to paint over that - cuz let’s be honest, wallpaper is awful. Pretty soon, there are so many layers of paint that you’ve forgotten what your core even looks like.
Your life in layers, subconsciously added over the years.
Then one day you discover that there are chips and cracks on your painted wall. Some spots have worn off, and different colors are starting to show through. You decide, in this moment, that you don’t want to cover it up with another coat of paint. You’re tired of painting. You’re starting to feel like a phony because you’ve been covering up so many important pieces of your life. So you slowly start to peel back a layer. It’s painful, and scary, but deep down you know there’s something beautiful waiting underneath. As you take off another coat of paint, you also discover past hurts, and things you don’t want to revisit. There are times when you don’t want to peel off a layer, you don’t want to feel that pain again. Why relive it, you ask. Yet you keep moving forward; you keep showing up for yourself. You do the work, you move through the pain, and you feel relief. You’ve survived it this time through. You feel accomplished.
And sometimes you think, that’s it, I’ve peeled off enough layers, there can’t be anymore underneath. But yet there is. There are so many layers, layers you have forgotten about, as you picked up your paint bucket and brush and dutifully painted another layer on. Most of these layers were painted on subconsciously, so you have no idea how many there are. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’ve covered up.
“We work to peel off the layers one by one.”
But now we work. We work to peel off the layers one by one, somehow knowing with deep desire, that we want to get back to our core. Because once we get back to our core, that’s when we can start rebuilding, with an open heart and an open mind. We find our true selves. And it’s beautiful.
That’s what my spirituality has done, and continues to do, for me.