love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
Back in ‘03 I was contemplating a new tattoo. It was going to be a list of all of my roles- teacher, lover, daughter, sister, and more. I had seen this exhibit at the Met of ancient people whose tattoos were still visible on their mummified bodies. I thought inking my various labels would be the perfect way to immortalize myself—sharing the addends that comprised Aleia. I never got around to getting that tattoo, and as I watched the repeat of Oprah’s Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant last Sunday, I knew why Spirit guided me away from following through. By identifying with my roles—all of which put me in the position to “help” others—I subconsciously avoided the Truth of my motivation.
Now if you bear with me for a moment, I’ll tell you that Truth, but first I want to share how I knew I was avoiding it.
In therapy last week, we were talking about anger. I had never described myself as an angry person because I’m not very demonstrative with my negative feelings, and truthfully “angry” is what I attributed to other people. After all, I’m that person that’s always looking for silver linings, offering an encouraging word, lending a listening ear. Or so I thought. But recently there’s been something simmering under the surface. Laura Harvey in her article “Mindful Anger Management” says that “anger is our built-in alarm system alerting us that something is wrong, out of harmony, off-balance. Some event has clashed with our expectations, our beliefs or our spirit.” My anger was showing up as growing frustration with people taking my support, time, and talents for granted with little acknowledgement. Maybe that was only my perception, but I was starting to feel taken advantage of and my energy was sapped. While I knew I wasn’t helping for accolades or reward, I wasn’t sure what it was I hoped to gain. I questioned why I always find myself in these situations. What was truly at the root of my anger?
The answer came to me*. I realized that I was angry at myself for not asking for compensation (monetary, spiritual, emotional) for my service, and I was angry at myself for entering into relationships with people who were emotionally unavailable. I realized that I was playing out latent “mommy drama” where I thought that if I somehow “fixed” or “helped” others, then they would give me the validation that I craved. How far away that line of thinking is from the Truth. How much I have set myself up for emotional sabotage.
I sit with this truth that I am not the sum of my parts nor the effects of my experience. Or at least I don’t have to be. I am reminded that I am a manifestation of divine possibility, and I contemplate what that means for my next steps. One part of me feels like there must be some action I must take, something I must do. The Higher part of me whispers to simply BE, to sit in this truth, to be consciously present, to be an observer of my thoughts and let the path appear beneath each step.
I will see what my next days bring me, and I’m working on releasing the need to know what that will be.
*I write as I experience. I don’t position myself as a master, instead as an observant student. In life’s frustrations and beauty, I check what I am feeling with the Truths that we all have access to in the quiet of our beings. Churches, texts, leaders, and ideologies can provide guidance and structure, but at the end of the day our souls and consciousness act as barometers of Truth.