Living with a pandemic for the last year has created a deep state of introspection for many. More than ever I have heard client after client tell me that they do not know who they really are, or more so that they can no longer go on being who they were; that the identity they once wore like a well-fitted suit simply doesn't fit anymore! Some have even told me that they don't know that they have ever truly been themselves, that the 'them' they presented before the pressure cooker experience of COVID-19 was an amalgam of what other people wanted them to be.
In magical traditions, it is believed that we must experience a moment that rocks our world or creates a sudden 'Stop' in order for us to step out of patterns that no longer serve us. We can create these pattern-shifting moments through ritual acts, or we can simply take advantage of the ones the universe sends our way; such as the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, or a global pandemic! In these moments we are forced to change, as there is no way for us to keep doing the same-old, same-old as the pieces simply no longer fit. For many, this is a brutal awakening to self in which we are forced to examine our being under a microscope; looking at all our wounds and flaws without the fancy camouflage of life's business.
The last year has been a deep dive into transition for most of us, like the caterpillar going into the chrysalis we were forced into seclusion and left in our juices to dissolve. Now after a long stay in the goop stage, we are beginning to reform, some of us are ahead of the game; beginning to break out and spread our wings, and others are still fighting the process of becoming; needing more time in the darkness to let go of the being we no longer are. One of the common things I have heard lately is 'I need to have my anonymity!' Meaning 'I need to not be known to others so I can identify myself. While I understand the sentiment, that they feel they lack self-awareness due to the identity created for them by others, I think the desire to be complete without influence from others is impossible.
From the time of conception, we are being influenced by others. We are influenced by the health, nutrition, and emotions of our mothers, we are able to hear external noise and respond to stimuli while in utero. Upon birth, we are influenced by the environment we are born into; the climate, culture, values, and religious practices, all playing a role in creating our view of reality. As we grow our friends, teachers, lovers, and personal experiences all put their mark on us, influencing our subconscious mind to the point that we cannot identify where each of our beliefs has come from. Having true anonymity is impossible! Even now as we wake from the slumber of a pandemic year we are influenced by the shows we watched, the articles we read, and the social media we scrolled through. While we may not have as many people holding us in place with their expectations of who we are, we do not have anonymity.
While I have had times in which I wondered what my next moves were or I felt that the person I was no longer served me, I have never seen my predicament as something created for me by others; for like the Devil card in the Tarot, the chains that hold us to a particular self-identification are crafted chink-by-chink by ourselves. Seeing that our identity is pushed on us by others is a matter of false ego in which we create an illusion that we are helpless and faultless in our making. Even when life throws us great adversity, what we do with it and how we settle our soul is our own work. Seeing ourselves as victims who have somehow been controlled by our life circumstances is a battle with ego, that can often lead us to selfish behavior and spitefulness, showing us demons and personal enemies wherever we look.
One of the things that help take us out of this 'You have no power over me, I'm my own person, stop trying to make me something I am not' mentality is to change our wording. Instead of searching for anonymity, we should instead be striving toward self-sovereignty and the belief that we are the rulers of our own mind/experience as a soul. It moves us from an isolationist mentality in which we are constantly on the lookout for someone trying to influence us to a place of knowing that the decisions we make and the actions we take are truly ours. Examining the things we do and asking why we do them helps, including the things we do grudgingly.
I have always cooked in my household, not because I love cooking, but because I like eating well, and for my family to eat well, what I put in my body is important to me. When my kids grew up and moved out, I found myself getting increasingly pissed off at my husband that I was the one doing all the cooking. One night my 'you will not make me do what I don't want to' (Punk-Rock Sali) self said to him "Why do I always have to cook for you?" To which my husband responded "I have never once asked you to cook for me", and he was right! After sitting with it for a while I realizing just how right he was, I had to sit with the 'why' of it. Why did I feel it was my obligation, and why did I do it. I came to the fact that I felt obligated to do it because what I ate and the ones I love ate were important to me. I was the only one who cooked because my husband would eat a bag of carrots and whatever else he could forage in the kitchen. But somewhere along the way. I had put blame on something I did. I made it a chore and something I was forced to do, but in truth, no one was forcing me but me!
If your moving through the transition of caterpillar to butterfly be gentle with yourself and others. It is easy for us to see the ones we surround ourselves with as our jailers or rule enforcers, trying diligently to keep us the way we were. But when we engage with our own self-sovereignty we see that it is our personal responsibility to become true selves and that no one truly can stop us from that. They may become uncomfortable with the changes we are making, and they may try to hold us in place; not because they want to keep us small, but because our changing forces them to change as well. But ultimately it is up to us to explain or not that this is a path we are choosing. Some will fall away when we step into our new form, but in truth, most will adapt. (Talking about our process, sharing bits of our story, and reinforcing our changes with kindness often help others to see us in our new light.)
Remember as you move through your transition that you are not alone, that almost everyone you meet is also morphing, which means 'don't be an asshole!' Selfishness is easy to slip into when we are reforming our new identity, fearing the influence of others on our newly forming self can make us highly judgemental of others; even people we really love and care about. The fact that we are all going through this together means we need to remember that just as we are struggling, feeling our feels and finding our voice, so are our friends, family, and colleagues. It is also important to remember our environment influences us as much as the people we interact with, so get out in nature; go for a hike, sit by a brook, hug a tree, let the green world hold space for you. Forming a relationship with nature brings balance into our fast-paced stressful lives.
Wanting a bit more guidance on your path? Check out these Readings that I think will be helpful.
SOUL PURPOSE READING-
BELTAINE SPECIAL-connect with your spirit guide