Most Super Villains have hideouts. You remember the Nightclub Lounge, base operations for the Penguin, or the Ha-Ha-Hacienda, lair of the Joker, both arch-enemies of Batman. Or there was LexCorp, headquarters for Lex Luthor, nemesis of Superman.
But even Batman hid out in his Batcave, and Superman occasionally escaped to the arctic Fortress of Solitude, the planet’s memorial to Krypton.
We don’t often think of Super Heroes as needing to hide or defend themselves, but it seems they too felt the need to distance themselves from their enemies in secret spaces.
You may know that occasional feeling- the need to hide or defend yourself from ridicule, or people you know are out to hurt you.
Most of the time you’re willing to be vulnerable, to open up to the tension that presents itself in life. To face your fears. To do your “shadow” work.
And then there’s the nagging story that just won’t let go. The one you want to hide out from because it represents some part of you that still invites shame.
When you spend any time at all hiding yourself, you end up stressed from the hiding, and distant from yourself.
It’s why all Super Villains, and Heroes, have hiding places. Even they fear rejection, which leads to covering up. Why do you think they wore those masks in the first place?
So, like the Super Heroes, you find a good lair and burrow in, or put on a mask, and tell yourself that no one needs to know the truth. And your Super Ego keeps telling that story about who you are that you want people to believe. But that story isn’t the real you, it’s just a part of you.
But you’re doing the ultimate rejecting by not allowing the real you to come through.
It’s your shame about the story, and the judgment behind it, that causes you to reject yourself, and your experiences, as they are.
And, ultimately, that’s an aggression against yourself that creates distance from your Spirit, your Soul.
In one of my own greatest Super Ego cover-ups, I believed that the harder I worked and produced, the more I would be respected and appreciated. While my obsessive work style did create worldly success, it also contributed to a lifestyle that was unhealthy and not sustainable. The sense of importance about what I contributed isolated me from others, and from myself.
You develop stories based on an ignorance of who you really are.
I didn’t recognize the dissonance within me until I allowed the “dark night of the soul” to do its thing. Rather than fighting the internal turmoil, I sat with it. Slept with it (or not). Allowed the tension to torment me.
Neither Batman nor Superman, nor my Super Ego, could save me from what I needed to see, and the work I needed to do.
The next time you experience the stress of hiding yourself, who you really are, and the sense of isolation that emerges from that, take a moment to stop and question what it is you’re protecting. Rather than rejecting or defending the work your Soul needs to do, take it out and look at it. Listen to the stories you create about the dilemma.
What deeply held secret is hiding within you, a result of your rejection of some facet of yourself?
Inquire deeply, as A.H. Almaas begs us to do in The Unfolding Now: Realizing Your True Nature through the Practice of Presence.
It helps to have space, like meditation or prayer, to witness yourself and your Super Ego’s stories. And in that space, you can develop a sense of Self that is not based on ignorance, but the desire to uncover the ways you separate from your True Nature and purpose.
And, as Marshall Rosenberg suggests in Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, observe your story without evaluating it.
At one point in time, that story was important for your survival. It kept you functioning in a way that was essential. Or maybe the pattern behind the story even kept you alive.
But it now limits you to your current way, and deep down you reject it. And it keeps you hiding in your Batcave with a mask on.
The story about who I was came from childhood and protected me from feeling neglected, invisible. There was a security in being noticed for my righteous “doings”.
And it wasn’t until I allowed myself to see that story, take it out and observe it without judgment, that it unfolded to something more real, more transparent.
When you allow all of you to be present, you can have that sense of being that is more akin to your True Nature.
And the key is to be present, rather than judgmental. Rosenberg includes in his book a poem by Ruth Bebermeyer, in which she describes the difference between observing and evaluating:
“What some of us call lazy
Some call tired or easy-going,
What some of us call stupid
Some just call a different knowing,
So I’ve come to the conclusion,
It will save us all confusion
If we don’t mix up what we can see
With what is our opinion.
Because you may, I want to also say;
I know that’s only my opinion.”
There are other signs about what might be hiding behind the mask. If you find yourself telling stories about who you are that include the words always, never, ever, whenever, frequently, seldom, or other exaggerations, they are likely clues to the evaluations you are making of your story.
Super Heroes don’t always win. If they did, they wouldn’t need to hide.
What story are you telling about yourself that keeps you veiled and separate from your True Self? How can you be more present to the story in a non-judgmental way that allows it to unfold as a beautiful reflection of who you really are?
If you’re having trouble uncovering the story that keeps you hiding and distant from your Self and Soul, Contact me for a Free 30-minute Strategy Session to see how we can move you forward. Or download the free e-Book Calm Your Body & Mind, Reduce Your Stress: 10 Easy Ways to Counteract Life’s Rollercoaster and find simple ideas to reduce the stress or fears in your life.
Holly Woods Ph.D. supports adults who are overwhelmed with the stress of feeling disconnected from themselves and who they really are , and who want to stop being distracted and tune-in to the life they’re meant to live. Through our work together, you will gain customized mind, body and soul-level mindfulness practices, and experience less stress, more flow and inner peace, and be more available to the joy in your life. She uses Integral Coaching, Somatic Experiencing, mindfulness and other consciousness expansion methods.