We are so much more than we know. The divine eternal spark of love, light and hope lives within us. This is true for all souls and all of us who are embodied here on the Earth, and yet so often life our daily life feels so far from this. There are some difficult or traumatic events that shape us profoundly to the very core of our being. Some are personal or family events and some are larger global events that affect us deeply. When pain enters our life, there are coping mechanisms within us that help us to get through the time of difficulty. If the trauma is very deep, or goes on for a very long time, our coping mechanisms can solidify and form a protective layer around us. These eventually become assimilated into our identity, so that we no longer feel the pain of the traumatic events. Our coping mechanisms help us to move forward into life, despite difficult circumstances. These ways of coping with pain are intended to support us in times of difficulty. They are not intended to become solidified into an entire way of life, however in the absence of the love and light that are needed to foster healing, we may become entrenched in the old defenses. It is possible to go through life with an emotional and energetic suit of armor, which protects us and allows us to function, but which does not allow for a greater level of intimacy or emotional connection with others. In this kind of situation, the emotional, physical and energetic patterns of self protection can become so much a part of us that we no longer know of any other options. Like a fish who does not realize that he is in water, because he knows of no other options, we remain in the only environment we have known, not realizing there is any other possibility. Under these circumstances our identity and sense of who we are shapes itself around our defensive patterning. Without realizing it, we become our coping mechanisms. This can continue for a shorter or a longer period of time, until such time as our inner being feels safe enough to begin to explore other possibilities. When the time comes that life shows us that we don’t need to continue in these old patterns, it is possible that we find ourselves afraid to let go of our defenses. In some ways, our emotional armoring was familiar, and provided a sense of safety. To think of letting this go can provoke feelings of panic or even terror, even if another part of us wants to move forward and free ourselves. One of the reasons this can be so difficult is because our defenses became, for a time, a part of identity. When we begin to let these go, suddenly it can feel as though our very self is on the line. The question becomes, who am I if I let go of my pain? Like standing on the cliff, looking down into the abyss, it can feel like there is nothing and no one to catch us if we dare to let go of holding on. In reality, there is a natural rhythm and flow to our inner lives, so when we reach the point of being willing to open to new possibilities, new supports become available, so that we are not alone in facing our fears. It could be a new friendship or relationship, an inner sense of greater trust, or other kinds of supports that reveal themselves and help us to have the courage to open to the new and to let go of our past defenses. In this way, we are helped to move forward in our life’s journey, and to gradually come to know more of who we are as divine eternal beings of love. When we have the courage and faith to release our hold on old ways of perceiving ourselves, a new world opens before us and reveals choices we would have previously only dreamed about. By releasing our hold on the pain, and by releasing the ways we have protected ourselves against the pain, we are born anew into a new realm of love and possibility.