I wrote this piece a year ago on 15th of September 2017 while I was deeply healing and struggling with the integration piece in my life, work, and relationships. It’s a time I was deeply in the cave face-to-face with my feelings of overwhelm with my own shadows and healing edges, searching for the pieces of myself worth reclaiming and integrating in the next iteration, and sitting with the discomfort of not quite being in alignment. It first appeared on my personal Facebook wall here. I’ve since polished it and added more detail in the steps of alignment.
I stand by my point that every single one of us has a calling to fulfill. I stand by my point that we must do the work we were born to do, if we wish to find sustainable peace, satisfaction and contentment.
However, it's not an easy journey. Or a straightforward one.
Of course, not all of us have the time, resources, support and comfort to be able to follow our calling and live on purpose, but that does not mean it’s not worthwhile or unattainable or we should give up.
There are significant hurdles to this especially if you are marginalized or in any 'othered' category, or have more than one margin, it's likely to be more difficult.
Healing is matter of opportunity
It requires tenacity and courage. But it also requires support.
See, living with this type of daily marginalization, causes deep wounds. But healing them is not straightforward. 'Healing,' as, Hippocrates said,' is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity'. In the daily, almost moment to moment barrage, it's hard to find a spare moment to do this healing and integration work.
The healing is not to change the systems of oppression and inequality necessarily. That is the job of the oppressors, the elite, the ones in power. Yet with each moment of healing, reclaiming, and integrating reduces the shadow of us all.
But what can be done?
In my opinion, each person’s process to find their alignment and move into integration is unique to them and their process. And each point of transition in our lives brings new challenges and needs new perspectives and skills. That being said, I have found stages in the process that many of us go through on our way to realignment.
First, we must find our internal realignment.
It is a deeply personal process of remembering who you are, before the conditioning, trauma, and memes changed your perception and covered up your truth and power. This includes a rediscovering of who you are, your why, your calling and your potential. Looking deeply at your hardwiring and your unique design, voice, and needs. Also, much of this reclamation process is dependent on your unique set of priorities and situation at any given moment.
This stage in the process is often marked with feelings of confusion, self-doubt, hesitation, loneliness and uncertainty with moments of intense clarity and vision. It’s a realization that life is not quite what you were hoping or needing it to be and a sense to find a different path. It can often be slow and inward focused, though for some external change or upheaval can instigate the process.
Though there are literally hundreds of tools to help find clarity on reclamation, the ones that help almost everyone are those that lift the veil into our shadows. We hold a light to our wounds and lean in to what is present for us.
Transformation is the second step.
The next is a process of deep transformation. It is often as we look into the role of biology (epigenetics), ancestral wounds, programming and conditioning. Unpacking each element and its lasting influence in your life. Finding the triggers, the pain, the shadow, and your fears. Deprogramming at a deep level. It's the real work.
This stage often feels like a dark night of the soul. It often resembles the cocoon stage of the butterfly where the body of the caterpillar liquifies and the imaginal cells of the newly forming butterfly grow. We may seek help at this stage and there is often a need to really get grounded. It the stage where many layers of changes are happening, often below the surface. Your internal light shines into the depths of darkness.
And the last stop is (re)integration.
Where we transcend the programming and rewrite the scripts that limited us. It is owning your power in a new way. A new-found confidence and self-assurance emerges. It's seeing the world and your situation as it is and getting on with your calling. The translation of turning vision into reality, clarity of action, and integrating purpose with day-to-day life and expression. We often find peace and connection. It’s the process of ‘Aligned. Meaning. Impact.’ brought to life.
We often toggle between steps two and three often as we see the programming, release it, and integrate your new findings into your life, work, and relationships. Learning to center yourself is tough work. Having the uncomfortable conversations is not a cake walk. Overcoming internal resistance is not easy. Staying true to your north star is hard during the storms.
This does not mean that the oppressive systems will disappear or that it is fully your job to dismantle them. It means facing the day with courage and acting with integrity. As we heal and come into alignment, we undo the internalized oppression and heal the oppressor within, so we become less harmful and more aligned in all we do.
In this piece by Leesa Renee Hall on her blog post titled: The Real Reason Why Self Published Books Are Not Giving Authors Instant Credibility Overnight, she references my original piece.
Image: Archer wearing traditional Mongolian clothing leaning over a bow in a field.
Image Credit: Anand Tumurtogoo via Unsplash.
To do your work in the world does not mean you have to become an anti-racism teacher, nor does it mean you have to start talking about fat shaming or consent culture or bisexual erasure or capitalism any other topic. You don't need to talk about any of it. It doesn't mean you need to change the heart of your message or who you are.
You don't need to become a savior for all the marginalized of the world. You don't need to care about EVERY SINGLE topic and issue. You don't need to follow the news cycle and weigh in on everything.
There isn't enough time to do so. Not only is it unsustainable, it's impractical and it often comes at the cost of our day-to-day well-being. And if you have multiple margins this is doubly so.
Yes, you have your work, your message, your healing and your arts to share. And it can be done and delivered in ways that bring anti-oppressive ways to the how we do it.
To do your work does mean: you have to do your inner work both around healing the wounds of oppression and undoing the harm you may be causing with your privilege.
To do your work does mean: you take responsibility for yourself, your body, your actions, your choices, your words, your energy, your biases, and your attitudes. And honor the same sovereignty in others.
To do your work does mean: you take care of your self-care. The personal is the political in a world that does make profit at the cost of nature and humanity itself, reclaiming our connection to self, nature, universe, and each other is radical.
To do your work does mean: you take responsibility for doing your work in such a way that is in alignment to your inner truth and is actively dismantling systems of oppression. You get to decide how and prioritize where to focus your resources and energy at any given time, use them for the highest good.
To do your work does mean: you understand that it will take us all to dismantle what currently is and it will take all of us to create a global framework of liberation, the change we wish to see in the world. But if you're coming to this work not realizing that we're all in this together, but to save someone outside of you, then you're doing it wrong.
To do your work does mean: the how you do things is just as important as what you do. Using oppression in your work does not justify the harm caused or the end result. We must seek to root out oppressive ways in our work, our words, and our actions at all levels.
That is your work.
Image Credit: Heidi Sandstrom, Unsplash.
Image: person's hand holding a compass, flowery shrubs in the background.
‘Rightness' is a relative concept.
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