When I was growing up in church and playing the piano for our youth group (over fifteen years ago now – MAN I’m getting old), one of my favorite song’s chorus was “Break through the chains, in my life. Tear down the strongholds and the walls. Deliver me from all bondage and strife. That I may hear when you call. I give you my all.” We sang this over and over, feeling the power in the affirmation to break free from those chains. At the time I thought of marijuana as my chain because I smoked a lot of it and loved it, and lived a double life because of it. I probably thought of sex too, as a chain, although I was monogamous with the one boyfriend that became my husband. I loved him dearly, but felt guilty about the intimacy we shared because we were taught in church that if we were not married, that sex was wrong. I had no idea at the time that I was a slave to more than just marijuana and sex. I was a slave to fear, to religion, to other people’s ideas and beliefs. Bottom line – I was a slave. I had no sovereignty like I have now. I didn’t know who I was, which direction I was going, what my purpose for being here was, or my relationship with the surrounding world. I was completely lost. ‘Amazing Grace’ was one of my favorite songs at the time too, but when I sang the words (“I once was lost, but now I’m found”) – I was lying. I was not found. I was still completely lost. You see, I was going outside of my own inner light to attach myself to a belief system. I had no idea that I was part of something greater.
If you are a slave to something, you are probably quite aware of it. But if you aren’t aware of your dependence on something, how do you find out if you are a slave? It is really simple… Without it, there will be a grave state of fear in place of that “something.” If you are afraid to let something go in your life… BINGO! (a.k.a. indication of slavery).
Case and point – I am a fairly spiritual person (really?), and when I first left the rehabilitation center after six months of rigorous treatment, I was challenged by my peers about it. I was at a place in my recovery then that I was able to look at myself and see myself without debating the people confronting me, or being defensive about my “ways.” I looked at how I was navigating in the world and realized that I may have been using spirituality as a crutch in order to feel better about reality. So I willfully let my spiritual side go. It terrified me to let it go, but I was willing to test the waters without my mask of “spirituality.” I trusted the process because we were taught to shed our masks in order become whole and firmly rooted. I walked around Berkeley and went to my two jobs without any thought toward God or the power in my life, or the magic surrounding me. I simply took on the rawness and mundaneness of the physical world. It was intense for me, but it taught me something about myself. You see, I was AFRAID to let that part of myself go. I was scared to “not be spiritual.” This was a good indication that I was a slave to my “way of being.”
For several months I walked in the rawness of reality and it was then that I found my balance. It was there that I became rooted in who I was (which is exactly where we want to be). I was not living a personification of joy. I was not deflecting every situation into a “spiritual lesson.” Some things in life are just shitty and it’s ok to admit this and to be aware of it. I was tested and tried in myself. I felt pulled from the inside out. I was forced to walk through my fear of boredom and to look at things as they were without insight or philosophy. It was a time when my repressed emotions came to swallow me whole. I allowed them to overcome me, and I discovered that I was NOT at peace. I was not at peace like I believed I was. This was abundantly clear through my current of my emotions. So I continued shedding that mask of being a “spiritual person” and simply walked in the world as a human being, which was full of dynamic contrast and incredibly beautiful. You know what happened? I woke up.
When I got to a place where I was no longer afraid, is when I knew that I had something solid in my life. I understood then that I didn’t need the crutch of spirituality. You see, I became whole in myself. I understood that I was responsible for my life. I understood that I was responsible for what thoughts I bought into, and which ones I could toss aside but more than anything, I learned how to feel my way through life. I saw things for what they were without the rose colored glasses, and felt every emotion that arose from within me, and it was invigorating. I walked through my fear of letting go – THAT was powerful. What was on the other side of my fear? ME. Just simply me along with my constant river of emotions. And it is up to me to reach inside myself to discover that inner light. I had it all along. I didn’t need to cloak myself in spirituality. I simply learned to center myself from the inside out, which a spiritually balanced way of being. The human experience accompanies our soul journey. There really is no separation. When I talk of spiritual things now, and share my insights, it is because I am truly experienced in my walk of faith. I am solid. I share with a genuine knowing instead of sharing a belief.
If you have something in your life that scares the shit out of you to relinquish, then it is a clear indication that you are a slave to that something. Do yourself a favor and let it go. Walk away from it. Put it down. Recondition yourself to live without it. Step out in faith. Be courageous. Be sovereign. Be set free from that bondage. If it is a belief – challenge and test the belief until it becomes a knowing. And in the words of one of my favorite church songs, “Break through the chains in my life. Tear down the strongholds and the walls…” Hallelujah – AMEN!