The following post is an excerpt from my book, Blessed Madness, which is based on a blog by the same name I wrote from 2006 - 2009. This post is one of my favorites from that time.
Is it possible for you to lose your life but still be walking, talking, breathing, thinking, moving?
Have you ever considered the possibility that during the course of your life that you’ve given bits and pieces of yourself away?
Do you hold all the power in your life? Are you fully seated there, embracing and embodying it without reservation? Or are you holding back?
Do you feel whole and full or do you feel fragmented and scattered?
These are big questions and their significance came to me when a friend of mine boldly exclaimed in the middle of a late night conversation: “I’m taking my life back.” Something in his statement resonated and got me thinking, What would it mean to reclaim our lives and how did we lose it in the first place? How exactly does one give one’s power away?
After sitting with these questions for several days, the answers starting fluttering in, forming a vivid picture. I saw scenes from my life and the lives of people I knew, engaged in numerous encounters throughout our lives—addictive or co-dependent relationships, authoritarian work situations, time spent with energy vampires, being dishonest with ourselves and others—all causing us to fragment: a piece dropped here, another piece given away there, a big chunk taken from us there. From the smallest incident to the largest trauma, we chip away at ourselves, until we are so unbalanced that we’re moving through life out of touch with ourselves and out of sync with the world.
Anytime you betray yourself by giving or doing something you don’t want to, but do it anyway, anytime you lie to yourself in order to please someone else, and anytime you are willing to put yourself in harm’s way on someone’s behalf, you are losing pieces of yourself.
Before I get any further down this road, let me pause here for a moment. Of course, I am not speaking literally here. Our natural state of being is wholeness. Our natural state of relationship with others is oneness. Beyond that, there is no need to speak. However, since we perceive and experience duality and separateness, the experience of soul fragmentation and loss can feel quite real. The purpose of even speaking about it in this way is that framing something in a particular vein can actually activate a major shift in both perception and experience regardless of whether or not it what we’re speaking about is real. What matters is, does it work to promote a state of well-being? If so, then use it.
Soul retrieval has been practiced by shamans for centuries, so there’s obviously something to the idea of gathering up the pieces of your life and reclaiming them.
Take a brief scan of your life. In what areas of your life are you currently giving your power away ? In small ways? In big ways? Then look at the past and look for incidents, events and relationships in which you felt that you lost or gave away some of your power.
Consider your “power” to be your voice or your say in a situation or relationship. Consider how many times you censor or mute that voice or betray your own needs. What do you think this does over time to your state of being? The image that comes to mind is one of erosion. I see a person’s life force being worn down by this type of compromise.
I’m not advocating blatant self-absorption or narcissism here. It can be a beautiful expression of love to give of ourselves to others. No, I’m speaking about the habitual tendency to deny the self and therefore deprive the soul of regular life-sustaining nourishment. This is what, over time, leads to depression, illness, burn-out and feeling generally put upon by life.
What I’m suggesting here is stopping this pattern of leaking your precious life force all over the place. Go ahead and take your life back piece by ever-loving piece. Find out where you left those precious pieces and grab them up. I think you might be a bit surprised how empowering this little exercise is. You begin to get reacquainted with long forgotten strengths, interests, ideas, dreams, likes and dislikes, quirks, talents, preferences, etc. What does that feel like? I can only describe it in this way: you begin to feel like you again. Besides feeling kind of homey and cozy and familiar and all that, it is also just such an incredible relief. It’s like coming home.
Originally posted on December 20, 2007