As we go through life handing the bumps and bruises that we all get a taste of, there’s a learning curve. Of course, the very way that we do handle that stuff determines how tough it’s going to get. Learn the lesson, it gets easier. Keep doing the same stuff, and the lesson continues until we do.

Sometimes handling the rough stuff also leaves calluses; we harden up to protect ourselves from pain, disappointment, anger, and other people.

As the years pass, we can accumulate layers of protective shells… and eventually lose touch with who we really are. We’re afraid to face the issues and deal with them, and so we take on the persona of someone who can face them (or endure and try to ignore them, really). What the shells look like depends on the challenges they are responding to; the environment; and of course upon your mode of operation. For instance, if you grow the shell to keep other people away, it will perhaps look like a brash, loudmouthed jerk, or maybe a glum standoffish introvert. On the other hand, if you feel inadequate when it comes to being accepted by others and you think you need something to dangle in front of people to get them to like you, your shell might look like self-sacrifice, or bribing people with money, or, umm…nymphomania.

Not only that, but there are usually multiple shells, like the proverbial onion. Layers of inauthenticity.

I’ll use myself to illustrate: when I was a wee lad, I was extremely introverted around strangers. For example, I hid behind Mother’s skirts (this was in the 50′s, OK?) when the milkman came to the door. Didn’t like parties, etc., etc. blah-de-blah-blah.

As I painfully made my way into teenage-hood, things got crazy. It doesn’t help being a little bit on the smart side; the stuff most other kids liked to do made little sense to me. I wasn’t having it, so I was pretty much alone.

But eventually, because I didn’t know how to take time and understand what was really up, I just adapted. I stopped smiling. I took the attitude that I didn’t care what other people did or thought of me. Fuck ‘em. This was excellent people-proofing, and an excellent introduction to the fine art of shell-building. A real classic.

So time passed, and I became better at it. By the time I was 20, I began to build a kick-ass tough guy persona. Not ruthless or dangerous… but an outsider for sure. I got into motorcycles (a legacy from my dad), and skirted the edge of the “lifestyle”. No crank, just pot. Like that. The shell only allowed in who I wanted in. And even then it was only into the shell itself… the real me was safely within. So safe that it couldn’t get out.

That particular persona served me well for many, many years. Oh, I modified it as the occasion required, but the layer thickened over time and eventually took over. I kind of remembered who I was, but I saw that guy as weak and incompetent. I “lost touch with myself”. I guess that’s what they mean by that phrase. I forgot who I was.

Then, I had my little sort of awakening. Well, not so little. Anyhow, that’s when I began to realize that I had only so much time left to get something meaningful done in this lifetime. I soon found it and here I am.


When I plunged (lunged, more precisely) into the work I’m doing now, I was somewhat confused. I knew that my innate blue collar presentation was valuable, but I thought it wasn’t quite right for the people I wanted to help. I held to my down-to-Earth approach (which is authentic), but wanted to polish the edges some. So I tried to build yet another shell (a coat of paint, really). Except this one wasn’t for protection; it was meant to be mostly cosmetic. Oh, not that it was ever to deceive anyone. For better or worse I never, ever go against my root values. I’m not a liar.

But I figgered that to attract the people I wanted to help, I had to look and act a certain way, to some extent. I never tried to be one of those far-out mystics, but I did focus on metaphysics a lot. (The truth is that all along I should have been doing what I do now: translating cosmic truths into 3D reality, and making you aware of how the woo-woo shit was showing up for you, and then helping you to get rid of it.)

Digging deeper…

Remember that the tough-guy shell was still there. With some help from others, I realized that the coat of woo-woo paint was most certainly not me, so off it came. Then, the process became using that “authentic” hard-ass persona that was so thick after so many years. It was very useful for being different, standing out from 99% of others in my field. But still, it was keeping people out on a profound level. Even worse, the real, original, innocent, inner seed was kicking at the inside of the shell like an unborn fetus, trying to get my attention.

And it did. Again with help, I was eventually able to poke some holes in that hard-edged layer and let the baby out – to finally grow into the man he was meant to be. The release of pressure was impressive when he finally escaped. But that escape continues, actually. More of the real me is exposed daily and it might take the rest of my life. It’s worth it.

One of the cool parts is that as I finally emerge, all the stuff that made up that tough-guy, FTW persona is still available. Nothing’s wasted in nature. I still ride my Harley, I still have one beer too many once a year. I can still completely bust one’s ass if need be, but now it’s only out of love.

Open yourself up to seeing past the protection you’ve built. Be completely honest. Find the real seed of you. Crack the shells. Emerge.

Author's Bio: 

Michael L. Pierich is a spiritually-oriented intuitive life coach, mentor,energetic healing practitioner, biker, and father. He has served hundreds of people across the world with kindness, concern, and wisdom while eschewing the trappings of the "New Age" cult.

Please see Michael's website, The Healed Spirit, for his services, articles, and a number of free spiritual and personal-development resources.