By Lauren Ash
Liberation. My personal definition at the moment: the journey toward expressing myself and illuminating all that I am, unmasked without anticipating or being attached to the reactions of myself or others.
This past year I have shed my skin time and time again. When I reflect on these changes and their root origins, I realize that these changes did not happen on accident. My current state is the direct result of liberatory acts I made, intentionally. Acts that were in alignment with specific values that I affirmed were important to me, that necessitated action and right intention to move me from an undesirable place to a place that I felt rightfully belonged to me. This state of belonging is not always the most comfortable, at least not at first. Here are liberatory acts that I personally cultivate and advocate. My hope is that you may begin to cultivate them as well, and arrive at a spiritual, emotional and tangible place of greater liberation and growth.
Yeah, I said it. Quit. Quit what? Oh, I think you already know. It’s that thing that makes you roll your eyes when you wake up each morning. Or, what causes your stomach to turn when you think about it. Whatever is not contributing to your liberation, ability to feel free and your growth, you need to quit, drop, and leave it in the past.
This past year, I knew I needed to quit my job. A job that wasn’t allowing joy or affirmation to manifest in my life. I planned to quit. I wrote my resignation letter. The day I told myself I was going to quit I chickened out. I felt defeated. I did not know what my other immediate options were, so I sat on it for awhile. For the next couple of months I began to manifest Black Girl In Om more than ever. I took it seriously, which forced others to do the same. I also spoke about it. All the time. To everyone. (Yes, even to people at work, which was a really bold action now that I think about it.) And, importantly, I told my loved ones about the day I planned to do it. Even in my calendar I took out all visualizations of that job. By manifesting all of what I wanted to do instead of my former career path, and by talking about it, I generated positive energy toward my new, liberating path.
I hint at this above, but I think it’s very important to emphasize how much power our words have. Start speaking! What is it that you want to see? Claim that you are already that. Because you are. Struggle with unforgiveness? Look at yourself in the mirror each morning and say “I forgive [insert the person you struggle to forgive] and also say “I am forgiveness.” Write that person a letter granting them your forgiveness (which is more an act of liberation for you, than for the person receiving the letter), even if you do not send it, read it aloud. You can cultivate similar acts for other common struggles like self-deprecation, periods of sadness and body image issues. Begin to embody that which you are struggling to hold onto by speaking what you want to see aloud. Physical growth happens incrementally, why would we think that other kinds of growth happen overnight? Liberate yourself from the idea that liberation is beyond your reach.
Allow yourself the ability to experience the growing pains that come with liberation. I recently wrote about how it’s okay to not be okay. Oftentimes, once we start on a liberatory journey, we uncover mounds of pain and wounds that we didn’t even know existed. Be open to that. Continue to move forward. Experience every sensation. Sit with it.
When I first started therapy, I thought I was there to talk about my Father and learn how to forgive him. I thought everything was about my relationship with him. After my first few sessions, my therapist asked me, “So, we’re talking a lot about your Father. What about you?” I was taken aback. What about me? I’m here to vent about my Dad, right? Nope. In that moment I was forced to finally realize the significance of what it means to be open to where journeys toward liberation can take us. While I sensed my urge to run out of the room, or at least to run away from that conversation, I didn’t. I felt resistance within myself to go there, but I went there nonetheless (thanks, especially, to my therapist who gently eased me into that realization). I journaled, reflected, and let go of my ego so that I could be guided toward releasing the load I didn’t even know I carried.
Lastly, please note that in all these journeys I have gone through and continue to go through, I am not alone. We are made to interact with other spiritual beings along our journeys. Connect with others. Be vulnerable. Seek encouragement and give it in return. And as you journey, know that it is yours. Cherish all that you uncover and know that as long as you are seeking earnestly and with love, you’ll arrive at a better place than when you first began.