Sovereign: self governing, self-determining, independent
When I first heard of sovereignty, it felt like such a break from my reality that I struggled to even allow the concept to land in my system. I felt the pull toward a true understanding, yet I felt repelled by it at the same time. If I was to evict everyone from my energetic body, could I even be in relationship with them…or did it mean that I had to be alone?
I couldn’t even feel myself in the soup I had created in my inner reality. It truly felt like I had to enmesh myself with those that I loved in order to be in relationship, that somehow their survival depended on the entanglement. As I began to find my self as separate, it felt very helter skelter. I didn’t know who I was without entanglements and wasn’t sure that I wanted a relationship with the self that I found.
I hid a lot of myself away because it felt uncomfortable to express my individuality. I had painted myself into a picture of who I thought I needed to be instead of moving authentically from who I am. As the threads of my performance began to fall away, I felt exposed I was overwhelmed and finally broke under the weight of it when my son was born 20 months after my 2nd daughter. Navigating a c-section, a bout of postpartum and a husband consumed in a new job and I was broken open…literally. I remember sitting in the middle of the hurricane 2 years after my sons birth thinking, “This can’t be it”. I was dead last on my priority list, looking like I had it together all the while feeling like I could fall apart at any moment. I loved my family, but was feeling very lost.
I would say that the whole premise of my spiritual journey began with a push toward sovereignty, even though I was totally unaware of it at the time. What started as a siren call from my soul quickly became 5 year deep dive. Five heart opening, sometime soul crushing years that landed me firmly in the drivers seat of my own life. We, as women, are taught to compromise and give it all for the sake of our families, but I think that we also need to fuel ourselves to be able to do that. At no point during my spiritual journey had I released mothering as my primary focus, which I innately feared. I have only grown in confidence and compassion for myself and my children. I can say with 100% certainty that my growth has benefitted all of my relationships.
It is sometimes terrifying to step toward sovereignty when you are programmed to people please. We all want acceptance and sometimes who you are rubs against who people expect you to be. That may feel uncomfortable, but you should not abandon yourself for their security. Contorting yourself to maintain relationship leaves little room for upright alignment. Releasing those contortions for me felt like a snake unraveling from around its prey revealing a broken carcass. Because I was not meeting my needs, as I began to breathe life into my deflated self, I didn’t know how to calibrate my system to meet other’s needs as well as my own. I would often push with great force to maintain the boundaries that were allowing me to feel myself. I know that when I feel that way, I am taking on other peoples stuff and it is time to place it back at the feet of those that need to pick it up. This did not happen over night. It has been a slow unlearning with many bumps along the way. Thank goodness, I no longer feel like I need to throw elbows to make enough room for me to flourish. In being able to feel myself, I realized that I did not become someone new, I just made room for myself at the table.
My friend Liz Ophoven recently had a showing of her art at a gallery in San Francisco and I was super excited to see it. We have been in a couple of classes together over the last few years and I have had the honor of seeing her art up close. In the gallery preview, she had a piece of work that caught my attention, so I was excited to possibly purchase it. When I began to look through her other sculptures, I came across another piece…”Sovereign”. I tried to push past her to go to what I thought I had come for, but over and over again I was drawn back to her. This sculpture embodies so much of my journey. The hair that I resisted getting because is wasn’t what others desired for me. The golden spot on the left breast, homage to an open heart that has bloomed. The soft relaxed belly celebrating the miracle of creation. A celebration of femininity after so many years trying to force my 6 foot structure into 5 foot sizing as a model. She was me and I am her. The more that I connected with her, she reflected the bravery and the homecoming that has occurred for me. The journey that I have been on that continues to unfold, my walk home. May I always be reminded of what a gift I am to myself first. Sovereign.