Release Who You Thought You Should BE & Dive Into the Shadows
Approaching my 27th year, so many things have been coming to the surface for me. My astrologer, Chase Chualong, spoke to me about this being a very healing year, and he was absolutely RIGHT!
Today, as I was cleaning, I came across an old prayer journal dating back to 2012, when I considered myself a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian. My heart got a bit heavy reading the things that I was requesting and the way that I requested them. I genuinely wanted SO BAD to be a good Christian, calling upon the name of Jesus and invoking the Holy Spirit...but my prayers kept reaching to help people who were constantly hurting me, I remain scarred and unhealed, requests went ignored (thank heavens for that though).
I remember those days though, filled with confusion as to "why things were happening to me", wondering why my prayers were falling on deaf ears, and why it seemed as though God was punishing me for all of the "sins that I committed". That prayer journal was kept during one of the most extended darkest times of my life, emotionally and spiritually...although I was committed to going to church every Saturday, going up for altar calls, singing in praise teams, attempting to read + memorize scripture, etc.
That prayer journal received no more entries in late 2015. That happens to correspond to when I picked up my life in New York and moved to Georgia.
This was two years into my yoga journey. To this day, I thank the practice of yoga and meditation because it has helped me realize more of myself (hence, yoga means the "union" of mind/body/spirit) than 22 years in the church. I remember as I was getting deeper into yoga, my mind began to open up and I started doing my own research on history + questions that were never answered for me. The deeper in my studies, the deeper into my personal research...I began to feel a real fear. A fear that was so deep and rooted within my core. Christianity was all I knew. That was literally all that was ever preached to me. Everything else outside of that, was deemed "evil" and "demonic". I was already getting backlash from blood family and "church family" in regards to my interest and growing passion for yoga.
I naturally have an inquisitive mind. I love solving things, finding answers, and creating theories. Yoga truly opened my mind to The Divine and allowed me to have a different perspective on the world and, coincidently, a different perspective on my then religion, which I fully invested in. I recall being attracted to Hindu chants and deities (lets be clear that yoga and Hinduism are not the same, but are associated) and I specifically recall thinking in a single moment, "Oh my goodness, Jesus is literally going to smite me. This is blasphemous."
My mind was still in the church, but my heart had travelled to distant lands, planets, and universes through the knowledge I was gaining. I was also on my Afrocentric tip, so even more information about religion was flooding in, right along with the questions. "How old is christianity in relation to African spirituality?" "If we were never slaves, would we be Christians today?" "Jesus wasn't white, nor did he have blonde hair and blue eyes, so why were we taught this?" "How could slave masters and slaves have prayed to the same God?" "Did the forced christianity during slavery cause us to be docile creatures?" "Christianity copied many ancient Egyptian 'stories' so which one is really true?"
I was living with my best friend and I remember coming across numerous articles about the origins of "Amen" and the "Our Father" prayer. I ran out of my room screaming my best friends name. I was freaking out. I was FREAKING OUT! I was scared. I was SO scared. My breathing was heavy. I'm sure I was sweating. What does this mean? Have I been living a lie? Has my whole life been a lie? In my head (I'm sure some slipped out) I was saying every swear work I knew. I felt betrayed. Sad. Hurt. Nothing made sense to me. I didn't know what to truly think....but I knew nothing would be the same again. The veil had been lifted. That was my first truly conscious and awake moment.
I was raised to be a good Christian woman. I was raised to go to college and get a degree. I was raised to be a strong independent Black woman. I was raised together a good decent job. I was raised to never question the elders and to never speak back. I was raised to do as I was told & not what I see. I was raised to obey & fear God. I was raised to pray without ceasing. I was raised to cast all of my cares to the Lord. I was taught that God is merciful & faithful. I was taught so many things....but I was never taught, by the church nor my family to a degree, to think, feel, be responsible for, & empower myself.
I had to make a decision. Do I continue living this life of habit out of comfort...or do I dive into the unknown and trust in the workings of The Divine?
Of course, I chose the latter. I had to give up what everyone thought I should be and do. I had already dropped out of school twice. I had already put in my notice to leave a job that was paying me $55-60k a year. I had already decided to move across the country with no promises and almost no friends to greet me. Even though I was used to traveling down the road less traveled, that first step never gets easier.
I will say that following my heart has never failed me, and the decision to dive into the shadows has been the most rewarding and fulfilling decision I have ever met. No, it has not been joy & sunshine all of the time, but it is worth it because I have learned so much about myself, The All, and my direct connection to that source.
By giving up who I was supposed to be, embracing Who I Am, & diving into the depths of myself, I have discovered worlds within the confines of my mind and my soul. It is like exploring the ocean, there is so much left to find, but even still, it may take lifetimes to truly know what lies in the deepest of the deep.
Now, I know why my prayers were not answered, why certain people were removed. I know why I had to give everything up. I had to be stripped down in order for me to continue turning inwards and not call upon outside sources for validation, whether it be a pastor, the clothes on my back, or the people I thought were "there for me". I realized that I was not supposed to live this lifetime being a part of a particular religion, my spirit was beyond that. My spirit was meant for much more. I could not be confined in a spall box when the All is infinite. I had to go past the creations of man and go deeper than superficial titles. I had to get to the core of the creation of religions...and that is spirituality, connecting back to Spirit directly.
I went through so much during my transition(s). I went through plenty trauma. I have may stories to tell. I have severed many "friendships" and "relationships". I have screamed many times. I have cried many nights. I learned not to cope with drugs and alcohol. I gave up having sex to "get high" & not feel anything other than an orgasm. I had to learn to trust myself. I had to learn to trust the work of God(dess). I had to learn how to discern the voice of Spirit from that of Ego. I had to know the difference in my heart and in my body. I had to learn my triggers. I had to figure out the different ways and tools that would help me get through it all.
Diving into the depths of my soul, I did not find the god with in, I found GOD. I found GODDESS. I found heaven. I found peace. I found joy. I found the light. I found all of this by going through the darkness, stripped away from whatever may have caught me up or caused me to turn to Ego. I could not avoid it or displace it as I had done while in the church, simply not taking responsibility for the energy I put out through thoughts, words, and actions. I could not cast it off and say that I will repent and be forgiven because God is merciful. I had to go through it. I had to feel it. Every feeling. Every emotion. I had to endure it all, being cracked, trampled, broken, in order to present myself to the world, filled and put back together with LIGHT.
If I had not released who I thought I was supposed to be, what I was supposed to be doing...I would have surely remained the same, stuck in the same cycle. I had to release in order to receive.
Let me please disclaim that I am, by no means, telling anyone to just up and leave whatever belief system they are in right or practice right now. I am saying that we should all follow our heart, be guided by love, and not be afraid of the darkness, of the shadows within our beings.
Also, let me say that I did not do this alone. Let me state here, that there were people who showed up for me and would not let me falter and would not let me drown. Please let me say that there were people who became my teachers. There were those who taught me indirectly through their actions which I perceived to be "toxic", which led me to make certain decisions. There were people who simply spoke a word to me while others literally held me in their arms. There were people who just listened to my words and to my tears. Let me also say that those who were the most profound instructors were women. Women like Dr. Crystal Jones, Shionta Pumphrey, Deneene Wyatt, Sadiya Marie, Channing Hixon, & Maryam Hasnaa to name a few, held me up. And even writing this now, I am reminded thatI am physically surrounded by powerful beings in the physical world, and I am surrounded by powerful spirits in the unseen world. I am truly blessed.
So, after all of this.....
What if I told you that if you trust that inner voice, no matter what it is telling you to do (switch career paths, quit your job, start your own business, travel solo, move to a different country, etc) you would fly, you will NOT die? What if I told you that the journey is not going to always be the sweetest things, but at the end of every lesson, honey will coat your throat? What if I told you that you get to choose how you present yourself to the world once you find out Who You Are and what your purpose is? What if I told you that if you release the illusion of who you are supposed to be, that you gain something better in return? What if I told you that after each phase of darkness comes a more beautiful light? What if I told you that if you shift your perspective, the shadows are beautiful in their own way? What if I told you that on the other side of fear is freedom?
Would you trust me? Would you trust yourself?