I have always felt like a misfit in the human race. I never, from my earliest memories, felt like I fit in. The world and all of its logical, reasonable, tribal programming never made sense to me, and I always had a nagging belief that I was not meant to be a robot in a schemata of conditioned reality. This general sense of dislocation would long be my hell, until one grace-filled day, it became my heaven.

I have a clear and distinct memory of an occurrence when this became painfully clear. I was four years of age, and at that time of my life, my father had Wednesdays off from work. That became the day that Dad and I spent together. It was and remains in my heart precious time with a father who would be taken away far too soon and in a most painful way. On Wednesdays, Dad and I would go into the downtown district of the city I was reared in and pick up his paycheck, which was issued on his day off. I loved going into his place of employment, and to feel all of the attention I was given by him and all of his peers. After leaving his work place, and before going to get a chocolate milk and stick donut, we would go to the big and ominous bank building so Dad could deposit his weekly income. On one particular Wednesday, I was fidgeting in line while Dad filled out his deposit ticket at the service counter of the bank. As I looked around at the lobby of the sea of grown ups, I noticed a girl that was a few years older than I standing with a woman at another nearby service counter. She appeared to be as bored as was I, and I was excited to see another little person in the swarm of focused adults.

As I continued to watch my new potential friend, she suddenly spotted me peering at her from beside my fathers knee. I just knew that this was a fun connection in the making.

As I somewhat shyly smiled at her, she very deliberately widened her eyes, sticking her tongue out at me with a vengeance that I can still feel in the reporting of it. To say that I was shocked would be to frame the insult in an adult perspective. I was terrified and crushed as the hope of a new friend was dashed in an instant. I grabbed my fathers pant leg and smashed my face into his leg, hoping to obscure the sight and the reality of what had happened. As my fathers turn at the teller prompted him to displace his now shaking, frightened appendage, I avoided looking in the direction of my nemesis, certain that she was still making the face that would become a world perspective taking years to release. While it seems silly from a mature, rational standpoint, that face would become the way in which I felt the world perceived and interacted with me, particularly anytime I intentionally tried to connect.

How we show up in the world and in what we call our lives is largely contingent on who we think we are. The “who of me” is a carefully structured matrix of tribal beliefs, programs, conditioning, and perceptions. These beliefs are seemingly brought about by the experiences that we have, especially early in childhood. Much of this occurs by the time we reach four years of age. As we are taught language, for example, we are also taught interpretations behind the word labels. We are programmed by approval and disapproval, by parents, teachers, authority figures, and yes, even little girls in bank lobbies. In the most general of ways, we are taught whether or not this world is safe, and whether or not we are worthy at core. If we are shamed and taught via fear, this becomes the lens through which we see the world. I say that these beliefs are seemingly taught via our experiences because from the perspective of the soul, it is the core incarnated beliefs that actually draw our experiences to us. This is the method of bringing them into conscious awareness while in the embodied state.

This fear and shame based paradigm is a cancer for the human race, and is tragically supported by much of religious thought. The notion of original sin, for example, gives way to an at least unconscious belief of being unworthy at core. This creates a constant friction between the way Spirit truly knows us, and who we think we are in our human perceptual system. We are constantly trying to prove ourselves into a meaningful existence,. yet we are coming from a faulty premise. It is truly a no win situation when we try to “do” our way into worthiness. This is really at the foundation of much of our hyper-driven culture. We are trying to outrun, outdo, out accomplish a belief that then won’t let us ever feel satisfied. We can’t think, accomplish, do our way into worthiness. Worthiness is either a prescription in the lens of Being, or it is an invitation to forgiveness and awakening that will draw situations for healing and integration. The false belief in separation from our Source has left us feeling unworthy, unsupported, and unloved. It is a faulty Who, with tragic consequences. So often we are left feeling as if the world is widening its eyes at us, sticking out its tongue at our pain. We try and do, eat, sex, drink, spend, think our way out of this existential dislocation, and yet it persists just below the surface. We hide our faces in shame and fear, afraid that when we resurface, the pain will still be there. Indeed, out of these strategies, only denial and delay have occurred.

In my own experience, the more I tried to rid myself of the energetic of unworthiness, the more validity I gave to that faulty core belief. I fought against this notion of a scary, unsupportive world. I tried to accomplish things that would make me feel worthy in the eyes of my family, friends, community. I had an inner sense that I was more than what my tribe told me I was. My soul was in a state of unrest. I rebelled against these limiting beliefs. Every time I would question the familial status quo, I was met with a shaming “Who do you think you are?” It would send me back into hiding. The query would slam me back into that bank lobby. The wide open eyes hurling that question became the look of my undoing. I would feel the familiar feelings of having potential turned to purgatory. I would inch out of the tribal perception, only to be shamed back into place. Except that I knew it wasn’t my place, at least not in Truth. Gradually, the question meant to limit would become my liberation. It is for me now the cry of inner freedom: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? The question expands its self in concentric waves of deepening and clearing. I find in freedom that the only person who can ever really ask that question is me. It reveals to me the perceptions that would question my place of Essence. It invites me to a Knowingness of a Sourced Self beyond this earthly identity. It allows me to shift from a place of intellectual investigation, to the Presence of Innocent Inquiry. Whenever I am feeling the effects of separation, fear, and limitation, I am expanded by that question. The question has evolved from condemnation to contemplation. It is now a comforting friend. It lets me know when I am blinded by the tribal trance. No longer bound by the programming of the past, I am free in the Presence of the now. When it seems that the world is a strange and scary place, I close my eyes to what I think I see, and Vision what I Know to Be in Truth. The world may still occasionally stick out its tongue at me, yet now I may choose to respond in a certainty of Self that transcends the projections another mistakes for me. I live the question “Who Do I Think I Am,” and allow the Sourced Self to live the answer as me.

I giggle in wonder as I ponder what became of my fiduciary angel of so long ago. It is a paradox that so much of spiritual emergence, so much of finding out Who we are occurs in the contrast of who we are not. I bless my little teacher, and I know a grateful prayer with her that in a moment of seemingly imposed pain, she blessed me with an experience that would so expand my life. I bless her as a part of my Self, a part that needed to wince in order to open. That needed to hide in order to be seen. I am guided daily by the once shaming interrogation that has become a mantra of liberation. I share it with you now, as an invitation to freedom: WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Live within the question, and soar into the answer. The journey from hell to heaven is in that query, and the answer is encoded in our hearts. Who you are can never change. Who you are is ultimately beyond question. You are Life. You are Light. You are Love. We live because we are Being Lived by the Source of Who. Live It now!

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