Is Denial Keeping You Asleep in Your Life?
By Colette Baron-Reid
Close your eyes and imagine that your higher self is tapping on our shoulder to get your attention about something that you’re turning a blind eye to in your life. What situation, habit, or behavior might you not be facing, even though you sense deep down that it’s robbing you of your power? Take a moment and allow your intuition to give you the answer. Much as we’d like to think, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. A defense mechanism of our egos, it keeps us from claiming our highest good. Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and her pals are walking through a poppy field? At first, they’re lured with the beauty of the magnificent flowers, but soon the hypnotic opiates seduce them in a deep slumber, threatening to keep them from their goal of reaching the Emerald City. This is what denial does—it puts us to sleep and thwarts us from our dreams.
It’s time to wake up!
As I talk about in The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in the Story of Your Life, the Field of Poppies is one of the archetypical landscapes that most of us—well, actually pretty much all of us—visit at some point. This beautiful scarlet land seems to promise delight, happiness, and escape, and so we’re drawn there to take a nap. Yet, this isn’t a restful sleep that will support you on your journey. It’s a deep, narcotic slumber of denial that takes you away from the experience of life. While there are many paths that can lead us to the narcotic slumber in the Field of Poppies, they all involve refusing to see what’s obvious. It might involve staying in a bad job or relationship while pretending it’s good. It could be not facing alcoholism and/or addictions. It could be a pattern in your life that everyone but you can see. It could be a bad habit that isn’t serving you. It could even be drinking a six-pack of diet coke for breakfast every morning despite the nagging feeling that it’s time to drink water instead. You might be thinking… why on earth would we turn a blind eye to something that’s not in our highest good? It seems like such a ridiculous thing to do! Well, remember we end up in an internal landscape through our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. In this instance, we’re unconscious while our wounded egos, or what I like to call our Goblins, are at the wheel in our lives. Pretending, fantasy, and outright renunciation are all Goblin tactics that enable us to avoid difficult truths and emotions, both big and small. While we may have a nagging feeling about the reality, our wounded ego masks the emotional impact and real consequences, thus allowing us to continue in what seems like a safe and familiar slumber. But, in reality, staying in the Field of Poppies robs us of our power to direct our lives. To get out of the slumber of denial, you must wake up and gain the power of truth. With humility, you must tap into your innate courage to look directly at whatever you haven’t wanted to see. You must admit to the excuses you’ve been using, the self-righteous behaviors, where you’ve been lying, and where you’ve blamed others or circumstances. Then, you must love and accept all of yourself, including the wounded part of you that you’d rather avoid. Yes, the truth can be difficult and involve painful emotions, but it will also set you free.