The Castle

Alana —  October 2, 2013 — 4 Comments

Imagine being a magnificent castle with long hallways and thousands of rooms. Every room in the castle is perfect and possesses a special gift. Each room represents a different aspect of yourself and is an integral part of the entire perfect castle.

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As a child, you explored every inch of your castle without shame or judgement. Fearlessly you searched every room for its jewels and its mystery. Lovingly you embraced every room whether it was a closet, a bedroom, bathroom, or a cellar. Each and every room was unique. Your castle was full of light, love and wonder. Then one day, someone came to your castle and told you that one of your rooms was imperfect, that surely it didn’t belong in your castle. They suggested that if you wanted to have a perfect castle you should close and lock the door to this room. Since you wanted love and acceptance, you quickly closed off that room. As the time went by, more and more people came to your castle. They all gave you their opinions of the rooms, which ones they liked and which ones they didn’t. And slowly you shut one door after another. Your marvelous rooms were being closed off, taken out of the light, and put into the dark. A cycle had begun.

From that time on, you closed more and more doors for all kinds of reasons. You closed doors because you were afraid, or you thought the rooms were too bold. You closed doors to rooms that were too conservative. You closed doors because other castles you saw did not have a room like yours. You closed doors because your religious leaders told you to stay away from certain rooms. You closed any door that did not fit into society’s standards or your own ideal.

The days were gone when your castle seemed endless and your future seemed exciting and bright. You no longer cared for every room with the same love and admiration. Rooms you were once proud of, you now willed to disappear. You tried to figure out ways to get rid of these rooms, but they were part of the structure of your castle. Now that you had shut the door to whatever room you didn’t like, time went by until one day you just forgot that room altogether. At first, you didn’t realize what you were doing. It just became a habit. With everyone giving you different messages about what a magnificent castle should look like, it became much easier to listen to them than to trust your inner voice: the one that loved your entire castle. Shutting off those rooms actually started to make you feel safe. Soon you found yourself living in just a few small rooms. You had learned how to shut off life and became comfortable doing it. Many of us also locked away so many rooms that we forgot we were ever a castle. We began to believe we were just a small, two-bedroom house in need of repair.

Now, imagine your castle as the place where you house all of who you are, the good and the bad, and that every aspect that exists on the planet exists within you. One of your rooms is love, one is courage, one is elegance, and another is grace. There are endless numbers of rooms. Creativity, femininity, honesty, integrity, health, assertiveness, sexiness, power, timidity, hatred, greed, frigidity, laziness, arrogance, sickness, and evil are rooms in your castle. Each room is an essential part of the structure and each room has an opposite somewhere in your castle. Fortunately, we are never satisfied being less than what we are capable of being. Our discontent with ourselves motivates us in our search for all the lost rooms in our castle. We can only find the key to our uniqueness by opening all the rooms in our castle.

The entire above excerpt is from the the book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers
by author Debbie Ford.

Given my upbringing, there are parts of this post that do not sit right with me – but I am intrigued by the concept of our whole selves being a castle with many rooms – each room boasting a different aspect of who we are. Over the years, I have certainly shut many, many doors to the rooms in my castle. In some instances, it was simply because another person did not understand something I enjoyed to do. So, I shut the door. Right now, I am probably living in a four bedroom house and often believe it is in need of repair.

Questions: What rooms have you closed off because others told you “If you keep this room, your castle will be imperfect”? How do you feel about the author’s suggestion to embrace every part of ourselves?



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Alana Mokma is a storyteller, people connector, and a dancing fool who is passionate about engaging with the people in her life. She embraces vulnerability and possesses mad powers of intuition and observation. Never satisfied with easy answers, she likes to dig deep. Alana resides with her husband Josh in Grand Rapids, MI.
  • Dennis Preston

    Nope. Not every room is a good room… and some just have to go. From what I understand from reading that… she said to keep evil, greed and arrogance rooms? Why? I like some ideas written there… but can leave the rest.

    • Alana Mokma

      Yes, that was the main thing that I had a tough time with – all the negative characteristics/traits that she is encouraging readers to accept about themselves. It doesn’t jive with the things I learned growing up. Unfortunately I could not capture everything she was saying in this short post. She goes on to explain that with these [bad] characteristics, there is still something good that can come of it. If someone displays greed, this person may have drive and tenacity – he or she may be a person who doesn’t give up easily. So although “greed” in and of itself is not considered a good characteristic, there are positive things that could come of it if applied differently. She also desires for the reader to realize how often we judge others for their actions, when, if we were in the exact same circumstances, could possibly react the same way.

      What I loved most about her story of the castle is the suggestion that we all have many facets to who we are and over the years, because of one or multiple people telling us a trait is not acceptable, we have closed off those parts of who we are. I really connected with this. Something I enjoy doing is making silly videos. Some people think I am weird or dumb for doing that. They don’t get it/me. Because of this response, I had shut off that part of me who really enjoys making crazy little videos to entertain others. After reading this section in her book, it has been cool to begin to investigate the parts of ME that I have shut off because other people didn’t get it or told me it was dumb, bad, etc.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. :)

  • jodyberkey

    I have a recurring dream where I’m exploring a big house or building. It’s a feel good dream where I’m filled with wonder and awe, just like a child exploring something for the first time. This reminded me of that dream. My dream is always positive, never scary, and the rooms were always safe and good for me.

    I like the idea of exploring different “rooms” and not shutting a door that could lead to new adventures just because they are scary and the promises contained within seems too far out of reach.

    However, I do not subscribe to the “if it feels good do it” theory of living. I don’t think all doors should be passed through. Staying away from doors that lead to bad food choices even though they may taste really good at the time is wise. It is wise to stay away from doors that promise to lead to a new, exciting, and mysterious romantic relationship when yours may feel stale and too familiar. Wouldn’t it be great if politician stayed away from doors that lead to greed and a hunger for power at all costs regardless of how it affected others?

    Good doors, yes. Bad doors, no!

    • Alana Mokma

      Jody, thanks for your thoughts!

      Do you believe our dreams are meant to tell us things? I do. :) According to Lauri Loewenberg (a dream expert) the “house” represents YOU (or the person who is dreaming about the house). Depending on how the house shows up in the dream, there are different meanings – if the house is our current home, someone else’s home, the home we grew up in, etc. I find it fascinating that your dream is about exploring a big house or building and you are like a child who is exploring something for the first time with awe. It could mean that you are in awe of the things you are learning about yourself. Does this ring true for you?

      Yes, I am having a hard time wrapping my arms around her suggestion to “open doors” to even the evil parts of us. Her entire book is about our “Shadow Selves” the parts of us we have hidden in the dark. Even though it sounds wrong to be okay with the evil in us, I think she may be on to something – being willing to go into these rooms, open them up and essentially “expose” them could potentially loosen their grasp of power on us. I don’t know that this is what she is saying, but it is my personal perspective. :) Opening doors and bringing them into the light exposes them for what they are and THEN we can decide what we want to do with it. To keep all the doors closed could do us a disservice from becoming our full selves that we were designed to be. Just a thought. :)