Anybody can unlearn anything. That’s the good news. But, most people don’t. Or, more accurately, won’t. Because this “school” is one we have to build and staff ourselves. And it requires unenrolling from the institution we were born into—the the people, places and things we think we chose, but never actually opted into.
“Unlearning” is a lifelong endeavor that takes an incredible amount of planning, discipline, and courage. If you’d told me in 2014 when I found myself sitting in my first clairvoyant meditation class feeling like the shell of a human that 5 years later I’d be spending anywhere from 15-30 hours each week on my own formal ritual practice, prayer, meditation, training, and healing activities I would have laughed my face off.
I had a “real” job, then. (How I “lost” it by grounding my energy is a tale for another time, but it was one of the most important moments of my life.) I also had an unconscious commitment to self-loathing, self-sabotage and despair. All learned right on cue, through the “usual channels.” I was a good student of the patriarchy (not that I realized it, of course), of unconscious racism and misogyny.
And I can’t let my guard down. It’s the easiest thing in the world to accidentally learn (or relearn) something society wants desperately to teach me. I’m programmed to receive; it’s the default setting, really. So I have to deprogram every single day — not just “when I feel like it” or when I have time. “Nobody’s going to hand you an extra hour to meditate,” says one of my teachers. I can confirm the veracity of this statement.
One gift of my calling to help others heal is the accountability it requires of my personal practice: If I don’t meditate and run my rituals every morning, I can’t hold space with integrity for another soul to do their healing. And I’m definitely not willing to rack up that kind of karma.
So, yes. It’s hard to maintain this schedule. But I didn’t sign up for ease. I signed up for growth. I signed up for joy. And it’s working. Where self-loathing used to live I now have self-love. Where unworthiness gnawed at me, I have moments of peace and stillness. I don’t take this shift for granted, so I’m not going to mess with the formula.
I’m well aware worldly wisdom sees this commitment to unlearning as pure folly. That’s fine. I’m going to keep unlearning as fast as I can. Because the world keeps trying to teach me things. And to that I just have to keep saying (to quote a very brave young lady) … “Not today.”