Taking Back My Power

20170308_133403

The following is one of my past life recalls; names purposely omitted.

 I see a man and a woman in a wooden alcove – is it passion or violence?  Violence. The person I see is a man in that life – who is a woman in my current life. The man is above me. We’re almost hidden but no one thinks anything of it. ‘She’ is speaking low telling me how to behave – to not scream. I’m fearful but listening. This person has power over me. It’s something I have to give in to. He does it to every woman.

I try to find out what country and era I’m in. The Mediterranean area comes to me, possibly during the Renaissance era. He resembles a monk with a brown robe that falls down to his mid-calf, I can see his trousers – or whatever they’re called in that time. He has a bald spot on his head and carries a stick.  I think he’s a shepherd, although, I see him using the stick to push through the water as he walks away.

I ask my spirit guide who is with me why this is happening.  I get “He has no power and he wants it.” Women are powerless in this time and it’s easy for him to take advantage of them. He has hiding spots and a lot of time.

For nearly five years a woman that I had worked with, who abused her power over and over, was abusive to me, as well as to many other women that I worked with.  I would wake up in the morning and my first thought was of her and how I dreaded seeing her. It was toxic. I have felt fear and anger, even when I was no longer working with her, that I couldn’t place and could not let go of. I knew there was something that I had to overcome. I had thought it was realizing that I was not a victim and on a full moon I released that I was no longer a victim. It helped for a time. But the fear and anger persisted.  I knew that I needed to forgive and forget. So I did that. Eventually, the fear dissipated, but the anger was still ever present. I thought about professional therapy; therapy, I thought, would take too long to rid the anger that was swirling inside of me. I wanted to release it with a magic wand.  Instead, I prayed for a solution.

That solution came during this past life recall at a group meditation. That night I thoughtfully chose a question, an intention to understand my situation. I wrote it down and slipped into meditation. As I have shared in previous essays, our souls choose all of our relationships, lessons, and experiences before we reincarnate into another life here on earth. We choose who we want to learn our lessons with; we choose our family and other life lessons that we want to work on in this human journey. We also can choose to work out a karmic contract which is what I had with this woman.

That night in meditation I healed myself. There were no tears, only joy, as my metal shackles unlocked, freeing me from my contract. Finally, the karma was balanced.

No one has power over us. We only think they do. It is an illusion if we could only see it that way. But fear, which is also an illusion, is something that we’ve all learned to allow to control us, to have power over us, life after life after life. Until we learn to break that cycle. And we all have the power to do that.

A Billboard Sign

 

It’s time to take the next step.

These words were part of a billboard advertisement on a train platform that I saw while on my way to Manhattan. When I read the words I knew in an instant that I was meant to see them and they were meant for me. Not that every sign or billboard has to mean something to everyone, but when the universe has a message for us, one that has been given to us more than once — then sometimes a billboard is needed.

 

 

The words were a stark reminder of an experience that I had a year ago; climbing a fire tower in a forest preserve in upstate New York.  I recall how I had been looking forward to climbing the tower to get birds-eye photographs from the top of the tower on that early spring day. And, I recall how I couldn’t make it past the first set of steps. Everyone around me kept saying to just look straight up.  After many tearful pleas of “I can’t”, I eventually made it up another set of steps and then another – just to the height where I needed to be to get the pictures I wanted. They weren’t the shots I’d hoped for, but they would do.

Shortly after that day there was a moment in a shopping mall when I had that same fear of taking the next step, but this was going down an escalator. I felt sheer panic, as if I would fall rather than allow the escalator to gently deliver me to the first floor. Perhaps I didn’t trust the process? I did eventually get down after about half an hour. It took a while for me to go down other escalators after that day, as well. Eventually, the fear wore off when I acknowledged the message. The message was about taking more control of my life; being unafraid to take the next step.

So, on that early spring day that I saw the billboard on the train platform, I thought that I’d come a long way in the last year – on different levels. I felt like I had conquered a giant. I am a warrior goddess slaying her fear.  Or did I speak too soon.

Later that day, as I was shopping in a store in Times Square, it happened again.  I got to the top of the down escalator; fear of taking that next step. I was confused because I thought I’d gotten past that.  Maybe there was one more step to conquer. This time I knew it wasn’t fear that I felt, but uncertainty. How do I make that next step? Is it the right time? I needed clarity.

The universe – God, my guardian angels or deities – was pushing me to my next level or goal. The billboard was a sign: it is time. The spiritual challenges that we face and the signs that we get are different for everyone. For me it’s taking the next step and knowing when to take it.

 

*all photographs taken by Leslie Sheridan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Clean Slate

 

 

When I was thinking about what to write and what message to convey, change kept coming up. I know I’ve been writing a lot about change and transformation lately, however this has been an exceptional year of change. Change can be frightening. Fear takes over when someone is suddenly faced with losing their job; relationships end; loved ones pass away, living situations change. It can feel like the end of the world.  We all know it happens; life is dynamic; seasons come and seasons go. It’s the Universal Law of Rhythm. Where there are endings there must always be a beginning.

Why it happens and when it happens and sometimes how it happens is a clue, a nudge from the universe. It’s time to leave the past behind and move on. Start over. I can now feel when change needs to happen, like a band aid concealing a healed wound. The band aid needs to be ripped off.  Moving forward despite the pain of loss can make it difficult to believe that something better or different is just up ahead.

Nearly thirty years ago I had a major life change that was preceded by a chain of events that at the time I thought would never end. I moved into a new apartment in a new city,  and started a new job. I was young, living on my own, advancing in a career and had a new man in my life.  I thought my life and my future seemed promising. I did not see the train coming down the track.

Three months later – although it felt longer than that – my life became challenging and I was faced with choices. Everything good that came together almost at the same time, started to fall apart the same way. Sexual harassment was common in the workplace in the 1980’s and women who worked in male dominated industries were fair game. Even the man in my life whom I thought I could trust was in on the game. The relationship ended; I abruptly left my job; I had to leave my apartment and move back home, stunned, humiliated and broke.

I actually hit rock bottom. There was nowhere else to go except up. A month later,  a new and different career was waiting for me as well as better opportunities and new friends. I was still shaking a little but my life was improving.

The changes we have all been experiencing or witnessing in the past eleven months are nothing new. For thousands of years throughout history there have been many endings:  empires, religions, and cultures. There have always been confrontations, disputes and protests that are seen in  politics, war and witch hunts. There will always be those times in our lives that call for us to cut and run, to grieve, to move forward, to wipe the slate clean and start over and create a new beginning in our lives.

The Other ‘F’ Word: Fear

 

Fear unfortunately is all around us: world events, politics and heart wrenching or mind reeling stories that the media reports. It has caused many of us to become more anxious about not only our future but our children’s future. I don’t watch the news or read the New York Times anymore.  It’s just too much for me. By choosing to not watch, listen or read the news, I have chosen to avoid most of it. I will not buy into it; I will not be a party to it. I have noticed how sick and tired, literally, I become of this thing called fear which takes on a life of its own. Fear is pervasive. We absorb the fear and toxic or negative energies around us.

I don’t pretend that world events and soul shattering situations don’t exist. I’m not burying my head in the sand like an ostrich. Which is actually a myth.  An ostrich only appears to have its head buried in the sand.  When the flightless bird senses danger and cannot run away it collapses its big body to the ground. Keeping still, it lays its head and neck flat on the ground in front of it. The white feathers on its head and neck blend in with the sand or dirt on the ground.  So, again, I’m not burying my head in the sand like an ostrich, rather I am removing myself from a difficult situation. I am choosing to avoid something that seems dangerous and in this political season many, many people want to talk about and share their opinions. I must say I have become very good at redirecting the topic.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary describes fear as:  an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.

An awareness of danger…. How do we become aware of fear? I believe that fear is learned. We have learned since childhood to be afraid:  fear of not pleasing someone (authority, religion, family) and being punished harshly for it; a lack of abundance of money, food or love, and afraid of being without it again in the future; prejudices and witch hunts.  Like Pavlov’s dog, we have been trained to be fearful.

To be honest I have lived a part of my life feeling anxious and living in fear.  But, I have learned to step away from it. Fear can be un-learned.

What we fear (an object, a person, socializing, death, something emotional, physical or spiritual) manifests itself in our everyday actions and in each individual (mind, body and spirit). We become sick – physically and mentally. We become fearful of persons or situations and create scapegoats. The more energy we put out to this fear thing, the more power we have given it. This is exactly what is happening right now in our world whether it’s as big as world events and politics or as small as our own personal dramas. As this year has progressed, this fear thing has been intensifying.

The 32nd president of the United States assured Americans in the throes of the Great Depression in his first Inaugural address “…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. “

Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.  While Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech to elevate the American people applied 80 years ago, I have wondered if this can apply to our World now.

Can we choose to be free from fear?

 

*Photos taken by the author at Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, D.C.