Saturday, March 25, 2017

*But, Who Are You?*

“I call myself an entrepreneur, a heartpreneur, a femmepreneur. Artist of the Heart. Writer, Poet. A Visionary, CEO, a Founder. Identification! Looking for it, searching for it. When dropped, our true individuality comes forth, the individuality of oneness born from our creator's compassion, born from true love between earth and spirit, our soul ~ 

The pure authenticity of our soul melts our personification manifested through conditioning. I salute our innocence ~ Our bravery ~ To journey, as the seed, vulnerable without our shell, not knowing, yet yearning for expansion, to break through, to be exposed, to be unsheathed. How can we grow without being exposed?”


The paragraph above I wrote in 2015 when I first launched my website Ten years earlier, in 2005, I had been faced with an extraordinarily bewildering question that took me hunting for my identity. 

I was attending a 35-hour workshop on how to start and run a small business. My business idea was to start a company called In Spirit of Iceland, facilitating the influx of Body Mind Spirit workshop leaders + followers to Iceland, and help talented Icelandic Body Mind Spirit workshop leaders to go abroad. Well, let me just put it like this; My sincerity level was so high I must have been beaming the colors of the rainbow. I had fire in my belly, and passion running through my veins! This was so exciting to me, that I even turned down a pretty good job opportunity, which offered reasonably good pay at the time. The workshop teacher totally grasped the idea, found it quite interesting and promising, but then to prove a point, he one, two, three, and BAM, asked me straight into my face “Ok, that’s great, but WHO are YOU?” 

It was quite devastating. Bewildering, because I so knew who I was, innately! Then to have someone ask me straight to my face got me confused. Like when you really know something, and then someone asks you straight out and wants a straight answer, and either you freeze as you simply can’t articulate your inner knowing, as it's just so ingrained in your whole being and existence that you can’t explain it. It's just too close. You don’t have a perspective as what you are trying to explain is something not separate from you. Or you lose faith in your inner knowing just because someone questioned it, and all of a sudden you just really don’t know. Like you lose a piece of yourself, a piece you never knew to be other than the totality of yourself. 

Maybe like when we were babies, when we felt one with everything, one with the little universe around us, one with our parents. There was no shyness, no fear, as everything was just one big whole. All was one. Then one day, all of a sudden we got an identity handed down to us, something they called ‘you’. That ‘You’ was not the same as them or ‘others’.

 So, “who are you” and I was like, “What? I mean isn't that obvious? I’m you. I’m everyone. I’m just a single cell passionately trying to help this body function. What more do you want?” But obviously, I didn’t shout that to his face. I just sat there with all the eyes of the class on me, put on a contemplative smile, and spoke the body language of ‘Yes, I see! Great point there dude. I need to BE SOMEBODY, to make this work.’ (Thanks for the tip! I’ll go work in it then) 

I suppose trying to figure that question out, ‘Who are you?’ took up the greater portion of the following decade. The good news is, I have now found the answer! The irony is, it’s not remotely linked to what that teacher was asking me about. It is actually so off, that it’s exactly it. It’s both. But more on that later.  

A good few years passed and I was working with close friends on an entrepreneurial project to establish a retreat company in Iceland. Then this Biggest of Q’s became a bit of an issue. Not to them, but to me when it was brought up. They were simply expressing their excitement, mostly on my behalf, about how amazing it would be when I would find out what I would like to do or teach, or share in our retreats. Like it was a given that I would do that. Want to do that. I had not even given it a thought. 

My dream had been, since I was 18, to establish a Body Mind Spirit retreat center, a spiritual sanctuary in Iceland. I never thought about being a workshop facilitator. Perhaps that was silly of me. Perhaps it was childish, and maybe even unfair. Now that I think of it. I just never thought those two had to go together. 

It wasn't my dream to be a teacher. Not hands-on at least. I knew I loved to write and saw that perhaps I would share my motivational writing one day. But concerning the retreat, I was going to make sure it would get built, and organize it, get the right fit and mix of people and services, design the feel, and embrace the philosophy. Make sure it would filter through to all the service offerings and the supporting activities. Be reflected in the grounds and ambiance. So it was an uncomfortable surprise when they expressed their excitement one winter evening: “It will be so exciting to see what you will end up teaching at the retreats.” I still remember the moment so vividly, where we were, the light, the temperature, the scents around, the ambiance, the energy.

Of course, they didn't mean it in a way that I wasn't contributing. Of course not. Not at all. It was all said in a sincere soul-friends-manner. But just the energy in their excitement felt to me like there was a lack in me, and it felt uncomfortable. The notion that I had yet to figure out my true place, or true passion, when I truly felt complete in what I was doing within my role in that whole thing. I couldn’t handle a bigger or wider responsibility at that time. I was following a vision, a dream. I channeled all my hopes, skills, and talents into that project. I wasn’t capable of ‘being something else’ at that time. I truly gave it my all, as me.  That was me and my All. Then. To hold the vision, and not to waver, that took all my might. 

So hearing them express their anticipation for seeing me find my path, my flavor, or way of sharing was bitter-sweet. Yes, we can always grow, but to me, I was fully occupying my space in that particular co-work. I didn’t feel something was lacking. I felt complete.

And I know they would feel sad if they’d think that I had interpreted their excitement as if I was not enough. That is not what they meant. And I know that deeply. Nevertheless, the words they used, and how I took them as if I had to go and find my calling, my identity, was a hard blow, and bewildering to me. 

But you see, here’s the thing, this was exactly what I needed to hear at that time, for my journey to continue to unfold. To hear something that would propel me to keep looking for my identity. An identity I ultimately found out I already embodied. But I had to follow that path to the end to find that out. I had to brave the wild, continue on that quest of seeking my truth, seeking the answers to the big Q, “Who Are You?” 

That journey helped me realize my inner wisdom on a profound level. That journey helped me see my true identity with a crystal clear vision. I came to know without a shadow of a doubt who I am. 

Some years later I was again working on a spiritual entrepreneurial co-project with a few foreign friends and acquaintances of mine. It was for an event that was to be held in Iceland and was a part of a much bigger future vision for an international organization. My heart was very much in alignment with the whole project, as the intention was to align the project, the event, and the organization, with the realization of the dream I had with my friends in Iceland as well. 

I never doubted my part in the project or sought recognition for it. That just didn’t occur to me, as I was one with the project, that creation, that vision, and dream. As before. Therefore I couldn’t separate myself from the essence of it. I felt I was obviously contributing to the manifestation of it, meaning, I didn't even give it a thought whether I was pulling my weight or not. That doubt didn't occur to me. ‘I was one passionate cell, helping that body function’. Then once again, the Big Q came at me, this time through my telephone receiver from one of the team members. Bam! “So what will you be doing at the event?”  

“Say what! I AM doing! Oh My God, can’t you see I AM doing! I’m constructing, gestating, creating a canvas for others to play and enjoy, channeling, deciding what should be on the canvas. Arranging. Making way. Designing, connecting people, communicating. Wrapping the vision in beautiful packaging reflecting its essence.” But once again I didn’t express that out loud, I didn’t shout my inner response into the telephone receiver. Instead I… well for some seconds I actually didn't say a thing. I couldn’t speak. I didn't believe what I had just heard. I was stunned, speechless, not knowing how to reply. The mix of all kinds with no kinds, made me squirm inside. I was so flabbergasted that I couldn’t hear my heart, therefore I summoned my rational mind and tried as best I could to articulate how I was contributing. It was messy. It was strange. It was awkward. But just for our personalities. 

Hearing that she had not understood my part, seen what I was all about, saddened me terribly. And the identity ‘crisis’ kept hovering over my head, though in my heart I held tightly onto my dream of one day being able to build a retreat center, a spiritual sanctuary in Iceland, connected to an international Peace organization.   

These recounts probably sound like I’m pulling up pictures of myself as the hurt victim so I can feel sorry for my poor past self. I totally understand it can be seen that way. But that is not my intention, not at all. It is not my intention to express my victim mentality. My intention is to point it out, to highlight my victim mentality. Not to express it. 

One of our biggest shadows is the victim shadow. That's a fact. It’s a shadow that holds us down. It inhibits us. It dims our light. Therefore, one of our biggest missions with our self-discovery must be to reconcile that shadow.  

Therefore my intention with all the details and depiction of emotional whirlwinds is to point out how I personally started to feel like a victim in my own life ~ how I started to feel utterly misunderstood, and how I started to lock myself into a corner as a result. 

These inner conflicts that may come up whilst on the hunt for one’s true identity, can be cruel and devastating. I often felt like a very miserable misunderstood victim. The thing is, because of my retreating nature, I knew I couldn’t play the blame game towards others, though my ego for sure wanted to. I knew that wasn’t right. But I did feel like a victim, and I for sure was angry, so there had to be a perpetrator. Therefore my way was to turn to blaming myself for being so ridiculously useless. A no-name with no talents. No identity. 

This is so important, as you can easily see here how self-sabotaging this can become. That is why I am sharing with you all the details, all the ‘drama’ I felt, as I know in my heart I’m not the only one who has felt this way. It is a terrible thing to turn against oneself like that. Much self-healing had to occur for me, through deep self-understanding and self-compassion. 

I do see myself as a sincere person, and I truly wish to express myself freely about this matter, without worrying about what others might think. Therefore I wish to say that what I’m telling is by nature from my point of view, how I was experiencing myself and my interactions with others in the now at that time. I can’t take into account what those persons who were unaware of their involvement in my ‘identity journey’ were thinking and feeling at the time of our communication, or try and portrait their sides, from what place they were coming, as simply it's not in my power to do so. What I feel is important to shed light on with my story, is the self-isolation we put ourselves in when feeling as victims, the ego-nearsightedness, the narrow pathway of identity crisis we find ourselves walking through. Through a tunnel so tight that the rough sides scratch our shoulders as we walk and we have to bow our heads to move along. In that space the mere thought of our ridiculous selves makes us squeamish. 

My longing with this post is to point out the suffocating self-talk that develops within the solitude of one’s own hurt psyche, the ‘I’m not worthy’ speech we start preaching to ourselves. Especially as deep inside we know that ‘who we are in this world’ has in essence nothing to do with other personalities around us. So we have to go on this inner journey of the self that is extremely self-centered. How can it not be? The Self, the I is the protagonist. 

But it’s hard, and you may start loathing yourself in the process. This heavy body, and foolish face. “Who are you?” you start asking your mirror reflection. This is the reason I’m sharing my personal story, my feelings and all the blaming attitudes I had towards others to begin with, but which I then turned onto myself which resulted in an excruciating journey from self-loathing, to remembering my worth and divine nature. 

I’m writing in hope the sharing may shed a light, or support someone else on their own journey of finding who they truly are. Their sacred identity. 

My journey ultimately led me to exactly where I was standing at the beginning, full of passion, feeling whole and complete, and one with everything. Though at that time, not much knocked me off-kilter. Therefore it was written in the stars that I had to embark on my identity journey, go on that specific quest, to eliminate doubts. As is the case for many of us. 

My vision of myself now is crystal clear. My sense of myself is pure and centered in truth. The question, "Who are You" does not pull me into doubt anymore, or make me feel small. It doesn’t make me want to go look for a hat, or a crown, or a cape of power. I do not feel the need to go ransacking my bag for a finely carved out business card with golden edges. (I do adore those golden-rimmed ones though! They are just so pretty ;) ) 

The question “Who are You”, now only reinforces what I’ve known for eternity, what I’ve known in my heart since I was born. I AM. That is who I am. I AM. Whole, Sacred. Complete. I AM. I am a benevolent presence in this world. 

When we truly sense what that means, truly, deeply, sincerely, it’s like we’ve been switched on, replugged into something amazing! Something miraculous. Like we have been reunited with our missing piece. We become like the sparkling wave who remembers she’s not just a wave, but the vast ocean itself. It's this peaceful delicious sense of completeness and freedom. All external layers drop off. You don’t need them anymore. You can go play with them, but you are not attached to them any longer. You do not derive any sense of self from them anymore. You are free. No! You are freedom itself!

And though I now know as clearly as daylight Who I Am, I still have my ups and downs, fears, and doubts. My pendulum swings like everybody else's. It was only a few months ago that I last experienced an episode of absolute immobilizing fear stemming from self-doubt and hopelessness.

Towards the end of that experience, I was literally down on my knees asking God to help me. But the thing is, that inner conflict I experienced, that heaviness, that soul-wrenching sense of feeling utterly useless and no good, it didn't last for long. My emotional flood (brought on by a temporary ‘disconnect’ from Source - a soul drought) resided quickly! Very quickly compared to how it used to be for me. All of a sudden this dense fog that had been blinding me, suffocating me, was lifted and I could sense the warm rays of the sun on my cheeks again. My inner sun could reach me.

 I hope this may helps anyone who might be wandering aimlessly. 

Warmly yours, 

~ Sóley 

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