While watching my Sunday morning soul food, Super Soul Sunday, Iyanla Vanzant was interviewed by Oprah. Something that Iyanla said, triggered a big connection in me, linking together several things that I have learned about life.
Iyanla states that God decided to put her in a black, female body, born to an alcoholic mother and a womanizing father. In my own experience, it is our soul who agrees to the parameters of our life, planned out before we are born. And it is with the blessings of God and all of our guides and counselors in spirit. I have learned that only the strongest souls want to face the most difficult challenges. You see, when we are existing in the spirit plane, we are living in love. We don’t experience negativity there the way we do here in the physical. So, when we pick our sex, nationality, physical and mental challenges, parents and family members, before we come into our current lives, the strongest of us, who want to face the biggest challenges giving us potential to learn some big time lessons, pick some very gnarly situations. We often forget how hard it can be here on the physical plane.
In my experience, I have noticed that people who have been raised in a church, who have come to their spiritual lives through the lens of a church’s paradigm, see God as an individual existing outside themselves, and they often personify him. When things in their lives are not going well, they might blame God for it, or ask, “Why me?” They ask, “What did I do to deserve such bad things to happen to me?”
To me, God isn’t necessarily an individual, it’s the energy that spawns us all and is life. We are all begun from a spark of this energy of unconditional love. Thinking about God in this way, I don’t ever wonder if God loves me, because I am part of the love that is God. And God isn’t judgmental, vengeful, spiteful, or have any of the other human traits that we often ascribe to it. Those are ideas that were originally created in order for churches, many years ago, to be used to control the masses.
So, before I was born, there was a pow-wow between my soul and the other souls in my soul family. We settled on the lessons we wanted to learn during our incarnation, and we created the cast of characters who are in our play. It was decided what sex and race I now am, and who would play my various family members.
The agreement between me and the soul who was my mom, was that she would be mentally ill during this lifetime. She would carry on a pattern of female wounding that was passed down to her from her mother, and it would involve wounding me. It was also decided that she would be white and upper middle class, so there would be the chance for her to get help with her illness. If she had picked to marry someone who had an addiction or a mental illness, the chances are that she never would have been medicated, and her life wouldn’t have been as good as it was. And in turn, I probably wouldn’t have learned my life lessons (one of which is forgiveness). In my picking her to be my mother, it set me up to reinforce a belief that life is pain. Living with her honed my ability to be an empath: to feel other people’s emotions, and to be able to sense danger using my sixth sense. I can tell when someone is lying or is being deceitful.
Being raised by my mother also caused little bits of my soul, my energy to splinter off. Every time she would bark at me, I would cower and in essence gave up a piece of myself. I learned to have no boundaries, to give up bits of me, to give away my energy little by little. I had no sense of self, no healthy boundaries, and lived to please others. I gave myself away for decades.
The agreement between me and my older brother was that he would come in as my brother, and he would prey on me, gain control over me, and sexually violate me. My lesson was to learn to be able to move past feelings of hate and self loathing, and to forgive him. Included in that lesson, was to learn to value and love myself. With the help of a wonderful local psychic healer, during a healing session, I learned that my brother’s soul and I have tried to work out this same lesson before. But in another lifetime, he was a harem owner and I was kidnapped into his harem when I was 12. Things went from bad to worse, and about 6 or 7 years later, I killed myself. During this current incarnation, having this same soul be my brother was chosen to help me be able to move into the place of forgiveness a little more easily than the set up we had before.
As with my mother, I gave up bits and pieces of myself to my brother, beginning when I was very little. I wanted to play with him, and I wanted him to like me. He learned early on that I would do what he wanted. And as we grew up, he would often test me, asking me to do things that I didn’t want to do, or things that didn’t feel good. Every time I would submit to his will, a piece of my soul splintered off. I gave away my energy. I gave away me.
So, I see my life as, in the beginning, coming from a place of people around me doing to me. And in return, I gave myself away, bit by bit. I had no boundaries. No personal boundaries. No energetic boundaries. And deep in my heart, I decided that I was not ok, that there was something wrong with me. And every time my mother would lash out, this feeling was reinforced. Because of all the crazy around me, I learned to not trust my own intuition. To feel ok about life, I ate. Food was my comfort; especially sweets. (To this day, I am amazed that I am not an alcoholic or a drug addict).
And as I grew up, I continued to live this way, and lived with the unpleasant consequences. By the time I was a teenager, had given birth, and had given up my daughter for adoption, something inside me started to get mad. (Sorrow often manifests as anger). Since I had grown up with a caustic tongue occasionally searing me, when I was mad I started to give it back. I also dabbled with bingeing and purging. But I just couldn’t do it. I had no boundaries, and was a people pleaser and a door mat. I listened to what other people thought I should do, not what I felt was right for me. I totally ignored my inner voice and wore the invisible label of “Used Goods.”
By the time I was in my early 20’s, I had graduated from college, worked for a local bank, didn’t like the job, and had no direction in my life. By the grace of God, I had been reading about career choices, and had been trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life, when the message of doing something I like, stuck with me. What did I like? When I figured that out, I dipped my toe in that arena. I took a step in a new direction that changed the course of my life.
So, I struck off in my new direction, weaving a little bit this way, turning a little bit that way, making adjustments as people do. But from time to time, because I was still full of energetic holes, and continued to give my power away, I would act out, or make stupid choices. After breaking up with my first true love of almost 3 years, my choice of work took me several hundred miles from home for 6 months, and I became quite the tramp. It was a time where having sex became a game for me. It gave me a false sense of power to bag my prey. I was proud of the fact that I could have sex with up to 3 different guys in the same day: lunch and an afternoon delight with one. Dinner and sex with another. And a late night tryst with a third. And when I wasn’t working, I drank… too much. Thank goodness I got most of this out of my system during that time away. But drinking more than I should have, and using sex as a game from time to time, stayed with me into my early 30’s, happening less and less frequently as I grew up.
The real work, I have learned, is to hunt down all of these missing pieces that I gave away while I was growing up, and even when I was grown. Some of the biggest pieces of me were given away when my brother raped me repeatedly. Discovering that one was easy to see, but dealing with it has been quite a process. As I find these missing pieces of my energy, the job is to reintegrate them into my whole. There is a woman, Sheila Gillette, who channels angelic wisdom in the name of Theo. Theo calls this process Soul Retrieval. I have learned that there are many ways to bring these bits back to yourself. My favorite is hypnotherapy. Also having psychic healers has helped me a lot.
And as important as finding myself, I have learned to plug up my holes and to stop giving away my energy, my bits and pieces. To stop being a door mat. I’ve done this with conscious awareness (and have to remind myself from time to time).
What it looks like to give away your energy or yourself can look like a lot of different things. In everyday life, it can look like the text-book people pleaser: doing everything asked of you until you have nothing left, volunteering for everything in sight, and giving until you eventually become resentful. It can come out as someone being passive aggressive: not speaking what you really want, settling for less, not dealing with a challenging situation and then becoming vengeful about it, taking out your anger and frustration on another person, when it’s really you that you are mad at.
I am now aware of my personal boundaries: where my energy stops and another’s begins. What this looks like, is respecting myself and taking care of myself. It is taking on only that which I can realistically do, even if it means letting someone down. I make sure to give myself “me” time. It is holding a space of compassion for another person who is in pain or who is struggling, but not stepping in to take away the pain or trials. It is respecting another’s person’s journey and lessons so much that you allow them to figure out how to move through their pain. Of course, I offer help and guidance. But whether that offer is accepted, is not my worry or problem. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. And it’s not your job to make them drink.
It is very freeing to change your perspective from one of being a victim, to one where you know that you have power and some control over how your life unfolds. Discovering pieces of you that have been left behind, and bringing them back home, is just one good way to help make that shift.