The first time I had the thought that I was “fucked up” came when I was 13 years old. You see, growing up it had become my Sunday ritual to attend church at the Hyde Park Bible Church on 51st and Calumet on the south side of Chicago. My day would start with the 9am Sunday school and then we would have Bible Study and later Church Service. My favorite part was when I had the opportunity to sing in the choir. Understand this, you and no one else could tell me I couldn’t sing, because my mother spent many years on the road accompanying Mahalia Jackson as her background artist; so singing was in my genes (at least in my mind this is how I figured it to be). Anyway, I loved church and reading the Bible and being committed to live my life to honor who Jesus was to me. Just a sweet little innocent girl, thinking that the world still had some good parts, even though my mother had been institutionalized since I was five years old.
Let me give you a little more background. My sister, my grandmother and my aunt would only come to church on special holidays, mainly Easter, Christmas and Mother’s Day. Otherwise you never saw them. And what was most peculiar to me, was how easy they were able to demonstrate the flow of the “Holy Spirit” into their being, without much effort , or surrender of any sort – at least that’s what I thought.
I mean, every Sunday I would sit there in the church pew, and pray as hard as I could that the Holy Spirit would come down on me. I wanted to be able to jump around and dance and holler with the same joy and gladness that everyone else seemed to exhibit. I begged God, over and over to let me receive the “Holy Ghost”. And, it never happened. The last Easter Sunday that I attended church as a youngster, my sister and grandmother came with me to see me sing. Before I could even get my song started, they began to hoop and holler all over the place. I think my sister may have even passed out. And as I sit there, I can’t tell you if I was mad, because I couldn’t get my song out, or because they “got” the “Holy Ghost” so easily.
Whatever the reason, I was done with God and Church from that day forward. It didn’t take long for a 13 yr old street orphan to become a gang bangin’, drug slingin’, weapon carrying, look out, sidekick. I traded my Sunday “go to church clothes” for jeans, t-shirts and bandanas for the remainder of that summer. If anyone noticed, they never mentioned it to me. I knew my life was fucked and I had no clue what do about it, until four years later when I fell out of the bleachers at a football game and busted my femur bone, smashed my knee and hip. Thus, my initiation into the inner workings of my mind came to life.
There are times that I may feel a sense of being out of whack, however I now use the following tools to reset my thoughts and remember the greatness that is within me:
Silence: Sometimes this takes an hour or even a week, depending on what I am working through. This means the television is off, my cell phone is silent and only slightly monitored, and if at all possible, no speaking. This process helps me to see what is driving my current actions and/or emotions, so that I can ensure that I am moving consciously and not just reacting to what is happening in life. The drawback on this is that people in our lives don’t tend to value your quiet, so they may feel a bit insecure and out of step with your pace. Where possible, let those around you know what you are doing and they can support you with your efforts and maybe even join you.
Surrender: The practice of letting go and allowing life to take on whatever is happening with you requires an invested amount of emotional intelligence to trust this endeavor. When we learn to surrender, flow and allow, we tend to become more relaxed and at ease, with how our life is going. As a matter of fact, we stop attempting to manage so much of it and just enjoy living. Some people only get to this place when their bodies are run down and they become too sick to do anything else. Others just die.
Solitude: Learning to appreciate the stillness of the quiet and the peace of aloneness is a true gift to our spirit. In solitude, I can clearly see how being driven and how attached I am to the material side of living, which only stimulates my ego; yet never squelch my desire. This practice of solitude, is something that I started about 20 years ago, but I notice that it is far more difficult to put in play than it was back then. Turning off the cell phone, the television, music, FaceBook, etc., can really be a huge endeavor to do all at one time. And yet, this is what our soul longs for – just a short span of time to dispel the illusion and assist us in remembering who we are and why we truly matter to life.
Self-Care: Loving myself equates to healthy nutrition, meditation, prayer, clean healthy living, crisp clear nurturing water, exercise, fasting, detox, massage, intellectual stimulation, satisfying relationships and conscious breathing. It’s just that simple. Yet, I just run myself to the limit without including these in my day-to-day regime. No more!
These are the important things for the sustenance of my existence and nothing is going to keep me from taking care of me. It’s not often that I move into the space of feeling “fucked up” anymore, and sometimes I do get really close. Yet, when I stop and look I can check to see if I have left out any of the above mentioned processes that I can put in immediately. I now am clear that restoring my soul is a matter of life and creativity. It’s the flow of our natural order and we may as well keep it in play, everyday. Remember, you are the most important person in your Uni-Verse. Take care.
For now, take time with this restorative meditation. InJoy!