By Arline Rowden ©June 2019
I have this memory from when I was 4 or 5 years old. I was carrying my little red suitcase and walking down the country road away from home. I remember thinking that this can’t be where I’m supposed to be. I was searching for something. Sharon, one of my 6 older sisters, who was 4 years older, saw me and came after me and brought me back home. I don’t know if my parents even knew about this. I don’t remember it being talked about at the time.
Years later when Sharon & I were talking about it with her daughter, Pamela, and about life growing up, Pamela said to her mom: Why didn’t you just go with her? Sharon didn’t really have an answer to that question and at that time I still didn’t understand what it was all about.
Even though I had 6 older sisters, except for Sharon, I don’t remember much about growing up with them since they were 9 to 17 years older than me. My oldest sister got married when I was 2 and she was away at school when I was born. I know a lot of people who came from large families and have close relationships with their siblings. This was not the case for me.
There was a lot of chaos and hard work growing up on a dairy farm. As I reflect on my parents when I was growing up, I realize they must have been pretty stressed. And they really didn’t know how, or have the time to deal with their emotions. So their emotions would spill out in ways that felt scary to me.
When I wasn’t working on the farm or doing school work I liked to read. I could easily get lost in books. I would often walk out to the woods by myself and hang out with the trees. I liked to be by myself more than being with my family. It just felt more comfortable.
Another memory was when I was about 12 years old and I was riding my bike home from school. I remember thinking to myself that if I just concentrate really hard that when I get home my real parents would be there. I wasn’t adopted and there wasn’t any logical reason to think that my parents weren’t my real parents. I just didn’t feel like this was my family. They were all so different that I couldn’t be part of this family.
Even though my running away started with running away from home it continued in many other ways. I would abruptly end relationships and friendships because I didn’t know how to deal with the pain inside of me. And if I didn’t physically run away I would withdraw emotionally. When it comes to fight or flight my preference has usually been flight.
After years on my own emotional healing and spiritual journey, I have some understanding about these issues. So many people
that I have met who are also on a spiritual journey have shared that they didn’t feel like they fit into their family of origin either. It seems that so many of us are ultra-sensitive and empathic. We feel and care so deeply. It has seemed like a liability instead of an asset to most of us.
I now believe that being sensitive is something that is developed through many lifetimes of experiences. We often hear people say they feel like an old soul. To me that means that I’ve been here on this planet for a very long time in many different lifetimes. I’m more aware now when I feel like I want to run away. Then I try to take the time to go inside and connect with my soul, which helps. I know so many others who are ultra-sensitive and empathic. Perhaps they are part of my soul family. Instead of running away I more often feel at home within myself now. But this is a work in process.