In my current environment, I am surrounded by walls. Over here, they serve a definite, very real purpose: force protection. And for this, I am very grateful. The walls, generally made of concrete T barriers placed side by side for miles, are about 15 feet tall and extend around a large portion of the base boundary. More often than not, the T barriers also include a nice, shiny strand of very sharp concertina wire across the top, just for good measure. There are so many of these T barriers over here I quickly regretted not being in the T barrier business. Recently the walls came in very handy when angry locals were protesting outside the gate. We folks on the inside of the gate went about our business in relative security, knowing that the wall would not likely be breached. And in the event that that would ever happen, all hell would break loose and I would (very briefly) feel sorry for the poor chaps that decided to try such an action.
I’ve been thinking about other kinds of walls recently. As human beings going through our life experience, we discover some value to emotional walls. As we grow and develop, we learn that when we experience emotional pain, we start to doubt the capability to trust ourselves and others, depending on the event we experience. To defend and protect our vulnerability, we throw up an emotional wall, counting on it for protection from future harm. It’s a natural human reaction to protect ourselves, emotionally as well as physically. As we lose trust in ourselves or others, we start building these walls. Some walls can go up in an instant if the loss of trust or emotional harm is significant enough. Other walls can get built over a period of time, brick by brick. Either way, up these walls go, usually with little conscious thought on our part, but sometimes when we are quite aware of our need to build one. Sometimes we build walls up around other walls! And somehow we exist behind these walls and often in an illusion of security and safety.
We put up walls to protect us from being emotionally hurt in romantic relationships, dating experiences, family relationships, friendships, at work, in politics. Walls can create prejudices, judgments, values, and beliefs. They can come from our religious experiences. We sometimes put up walls based on walls we “see” in others or based on our cultural, environmental and social groups. There are as many types of walls as there are people, each wall suiting the exact conditions intended by its builder. These walls get constructed for specific purposes that we think are useful and even essential to our “survival”. At the time, that might be true. But then they tend to stay up forever, often creating barriers to trust, intimacy, relationships, progress, growth, new direction, new ideas, new perspectives, and new opportunities.
The thought has occurred to me that it’s time to become aware of my walls. Consider throwing these questions out there to begin your own process. Even if you don’t or can’t answer the questions right away, simply “living in the inquiry” provides an opportunity to discover the answers in divine time and order. Here they are:
- What are my walls?
- When and why did I build them?
- Was the threat real or imagined?
- What am I really trying to protect?
- What purpose does the wall serve now?
- Does the wall still serve me and truly keep me “safe”?
- How much emotional energy do I expend maintaining this wall?
Of course, you might already very well know what walls you have up, why they are up, and why, in your mind, they will NEVER come down. Been there, done that. I can’t judge anyone’s walls they’ve erected. For whatever reason, they went up at just the right time to provide some sense of protection, real or imagined, and helped them survive for a period of time. The same is true of my walls.
Once you decide to consider your walls, I encourage you to find new ways to look at them. There is no value to judge your walls as “good or bad” or “right and wrong”. That process won’t help you one bit. It will only encourage guilt, shame, or depression and take you in the exact opposite direction of growth and progress. When you look at your walls, simply observe them. Be gentle on yourself. Allow any emotions concerning the life event or the wall to arise, be with it fully, and then release it when you are ready. But do release it and let it go. Bless the wall. Thank God for it’s existence to date and it for serving its purpose. Forgive yourself and others related to the wall.
As you do these steps, discernment comes to tell you the true impact of these walls on your life and what they are really doing to you. If the wall represents prison bars, you will soon see that. Spirit will tell you. Spirit will also lead you to looking at the wall in a new way. Imagine the feeling of freedom and movement available with the wall removed and no longer a barrier to joy, peace, love and happiness. Answers will flow regarding why the wall may no longer serve you. Intuition and insight will flow and teach you how the wall may be keeping you stuck or frozen in time and space, unable to move forward into new spaces, new relationships, new experiences and new opportunities. There may be occasions when you discover that some walls may need to remain or change because there is still a need for it. When this insight comes, at least you are now aware of the wall, its purpose, and its value and can choose to use it from a state of full awareness.
Your inner voice will let you know when it’s for the wall to come down. It will take courage and determination but when you get that impression, act on it. Begin today or as soon as you are ready. Once you have developed your awareness of these walls, you may feel ready to hop on a bulldozer, a crane with a wrecking ball, or take some explosives and knock the wall down in one fell swoop. If so, go for it!
You may also be scared to death! Completely understandable! While it might give you pause, it doesn’t have to stop you. It’s important to be aware of how attached you may be to some of these walls. The walls, up for so long or so big and powerful, may have caused you to identify with them emotionally and mentally. They have literally become a part of you in your mind. Often the most fear can come from not knowing how you will think, act, or relate in absence of having the wall to protect you if you take it down. Again, don’t judge this and don’t let it freak you out. Just note the level of attachment and trust Spirit to guide you through the process. Then take a deep breath and courageously step toward the wall. Trust that you will know what to do and that you will receive just the right amount of strength at exactly the right time to get through the process. You get stronger with every step.
So then, how do you start to dismantle these things? It’s your call. You can blow a hole in the middle of it and work your way to the outside.. Or perhaps its better one brick at a time. Start at the top. Visualize removing a brick or two. Be patient with yourself. One brick today is sufficient. Tomorrow you might even put the brick back. But at least the mortar is loose and you can remove it again the next day. One other days, you may remove several bricks at a time or even whole sections if so moved. Be in the present moment. Be in the process. Remember that most of these walls didn’t go up in a second or a day. Taking time to remove the wall is a healthy way to move gracefully through the process and care for yourself at the same time. There is no rush.
It might be appropriate, and exciting, to tell others that you trust about your demolition project! If you feel that others can help, share your desire with them, explain your desire to remove the wall, and ask them for their support and encouragement. Seek coaching or counseling from appropriate sources, if required. Some of these walls we put up require a whole crew to take down. That’s okay, too. You don’t have to go it alone. Just know that the real work is up to you. The rest of the crew can only guide, assist, and carry away the rubble. Removing the wall itself is your work.
Discovering the freedom that comes from living without old walls to keep you down will provide a powerful motivation. Picture your wall as the Berlin Wall back in 1989. Hear your own voice declare, “Self, tear down this wall!” Then smile and love yourself for having the courage to take it on. Bring down that wall that doesn’t serve you anymore. And be free. You are creating a new person through this process and it’s a wonderful thing. And it’s worth it.
Now get to it.