Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Decades ago, something deep within whispered, When you know your Self, you are empowered. When you accept your Self, you are invincible. Turns out, being invincible means being at peace with Self and life, even in the midst of merciless storms. But learning this is not easy.
Life is full of storms that rearrange our lives. Relationships end. Betrayal happens. Illness. People who we feel should not die, do. Much that we decree as right and wrong crumbles into rubbish at our feet, regardless of how tightly we hold on. This is the hard part of life. Oddly, we human beings serially forget this. Until the next time.
Navigating this cyclical drama usually takes one of two more common paths. On both, at some point, we finally pull ourselves together. Sometimes we intend to move forward, but instead we actually simply move. This kind of moving proves to be just another way of hanging on to the idea that “we” were right about how things should work. We may agree to move “on,” but we do so resentfully. Dragging our feet. We’re mad. Mad at who? Everybody and everything, including God!
You can spot a person who is living the angry “I’m mad” choice. Anger vibrates through their curt words and dismissive behavior. They are easily irritated. Looking into their eyes never engenders feelings of safety. Often, sadly, they do not know they have made the “I’m mad” choice. It is this disconnect from themselves that blinds them, primes them for more heartache. They want something different. They want to feel different. Yet their unresolved anger and resistance to “what is” keeps them manifesting more and more disappointment.
The other way, many of us navigate the sudden rearrangement of our lives, is to pick ourselves up and truly accept that we got it wrong. Life doesn’t work the way we thought or believed. This is a sober mature acceptance. This acceptance is a blend of both the bitter and sweet. It leaves room for new memories and joys. New insight allows a more expanded view of ourselves. Going forward, we draw new, less fixed conclusions about life. We grow. Find comfort in the experience of our resilience. We truly move on without necessarily forgetting. Taking all that we have learned with us. Reaching for new possibilities.
I have been on both sides of this emotional divide. The disgruntled stomping-off-angry option didn’t feel good.
Thus, I have invested time in getting to know my Self. I take pride in this. I have learned to challenge my ideas about everything, and ultimately to let go and let God. I bought into the teaching that my core was solid and whole. I followed this promise, hoping it was true. I decided that I wanted to feel whole regardless of any judgments I had learned to hold against my Self or life. Many times, bumping into life on its own terms, I doubted that the peace I sought was possible. Many times, I even felt pushed to give up. Yet, “something” new grew. This something helped me resist capitulating. And, as a reward, something led me through the alleys and back roads of my resistance and fears to a cleared field inside of my Self. Standing in its stillness I could breathe deep. I came to know that I am more than the ideas I latch on to or the circumstances that crowd my life at any given moment.
Intimacy with my Self offers shelter from the storm. Knowing my Self brings peace. Accepting my Self gives me room to grow. Such peace comes with steps that we each can mount. That is why I wrote The Little Book of Big Lies. At the center of every human being is a resilient whole Self. The purpose encoded in every heart is to remember our own innate wholeness and then assist others in remembering theirs.
My life is not without internal upset. When an old thinking pattern is triggered it can cause great angst. However, I now know how to quickly interrupt those instances, before a triggered moment turns into a full blown “virus” infecting my thinking and peace for days, weeks or years. There will be many viruses and storms we all will be called to weather. Let’s prepare now for a healthier more peace-filled future.
Tina Lifford plays Aunt Vi on the critically acclaimed television show Queen Sugar. The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness is her first book; released by Harper Collins, November 2019.