My soul was in there somewhere.
I kept looking outside myself to find it.
As a child, I lived in fear of being disciplined by my parents. Today we would call that discipline violent, but back then it seemed to be the expected and accepted way to teach a child right from wrong. Nowadays children in similar situations are apprehended. I’m not going to talk about all that in this blog. What I want to talk about is when the light went on—my aha moment from so many years ago.
My father wanted his children to understand about religion and about God. He believed that if we were taught about those things, we would turn out to be good. (The implication was that we were not intrinsically good). For a period of time Dad used to study lessons from a series of bible teachings written by a man whose name I don’t recall, and then teach them to us.
I remember sitting there listening as intently as I could out of fear that if he asked me something, I needed to be able to answer a question or be met with strong disapproval.
I think once you are beaten once as a small child, you live in constant fear of the possibility of it happening again. One day the lesson was about the soul. Dad tried in every way he could come up with to explain to us kids that we are more than a physical being. As I listened to this lesson in particular, I had a sudden realization that there was more to me; I was not just this physical being—I had an energy/vibration that flowed through me that is my soul. Dad told us that your body houses your soul; in other words, your spirit lives within you. Somehow my young mind grasped this and from that moment on I knew on a deep level that there was much more to me than I could see in the mirror.
That’s where and when it started. I always knew there was more—more than I could see in me, something I could feel but not see. I felt confused yet intrigued by this teaching and definitely not crystal clear about it, but nonetheless I had awareness that there was more to life, to my life and that was all I knew. In the years that followed this understanding was to be my greatest gift.
That day Grace graced my life—I was ahead of the game; I had an awareness that many children did not.
Over time, I realized that other kids didn’t even talk about this sort of thing—the soul, God etc. My church friends would sometimes talk about the rules of the Bible but we didn’t have conversations where we shared an understanding of the soul within.
The rest of my life has been about understanding the workings of the soul. As a young woman in my 20s and 30s I didn’t think about this concept often, but as I aged and life happened, my soul brought me back to what it longed for—to express in a way that made my heart sing. My deepest desire was to feel happy and experience peace.
What I’ve noticed is the soul has a longing to continually expand and evolve. When I went through different traumas in life, my soul would be nudging me with this inner longing to understand myself more deeply. It demanded that I look beyond my physicality—the beatings, racist remarks and verbal abuse I received brought these acutely into my focus—to become more fully aware of my soul. My young mind would spend time thinking ‘poor me’ thoughts, but being the victim is a painful place in which to live.
The gift in the pain is that from that state one can realize the bigness of life and what the soul is longing for—or not.
When one understands that there is a choice in how to think and feel, then there is the possibility to live differently no matter what is going on around you. This is where the freedom begins—emotional freedom from that attachment we all have to the acceptance and approval of others. Some would say, “I don’t care,” but the fact that there is an “I don’t care” attitude assures that we do care.
Only when we can be totally neutral—without an emotional charge—when others don’t approve of us or accept where we are in our journey here on earth, only then are we unattached to approval. I know that I still enjoy when others say kind things to me and express their approval, but I also know that, unlike when I was young, it doesn’t ruin my day if they don’t.
The soul expands and becomes that stronger expression of us through time and life experiences. Through the experiences life offers us, we have the option of gaining spiritual strength. In this we find hope—hope opens the door and faith walks through it. Faith is taking action, faith is moving beyond what is showing up on the physical plane . . . when we face our fear and do it anyway, we grow.