Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Soul Profile

When I started this blog back in 2009, I was trying to figure out who I was outside of my life's labels. Clearly, you don't lose your soul when you lose your job. That said, I started the blog because I couldn't figure out why I lost my job and felt like I lost myself. I struggled to to define myself without using a title or a role but over the last two years, I've often felt like I got through that journey. If you asked me last week, I'd have told you I know who I am and who I want to be.

You notice I used past tense. One sure thing in this world is that God (or whatever you believe in) has a way of putting you back in class even when you think you've learned a lesson and graduated to a new phase of your journey.

This week, I was put back in class while actually attending one. I was watching Deepak Chopra on Lifeclass Monday night. There was so much in that episode to process but the reflection started early on when Oprah shared a lesson she learned a while back: "You are not a body that has a soul but rather you are a soul that has a body." I'm Christian. I know I am a soul so you would think my response would be a sarcastic "duh," right? Surprisingly for me, it wasn't that kind of moment. It was a freakin' revelation and it is because of where I am right now in my life. If I take a step back, I have no problem saying or accepting that I am a soul inside of this vessel. Yet, my current reality is that this vessel is sick. All that I am going through with my health and my struggle to find time to pursue my passion projects while working a full time job and trying to be a present person has made it easier to get lost in my physical being and not focus on the soul using it.

As I was trying to digest the weight of that, Deepak began talking about the spirit and it being the source of our values, inspirations and intuition. That made it a little easier for me to separate the body from the spirit and forget about my ailments and ego for a moment. I do know what my values are. I know what inspires me and I listen to my gut the majority of the time. I know when my social mask or my ego is driving my actions and I am able to acknowledge it and dial it back. I can ask myself whether I am walking my walk or if I am stifling my spirit to please others. I can apologize when I have let my ego win. Satisfied that I was closer to the front of the class than I felt at the start of the episode, I continued jotting down notes but relaxed in my seat a little. I've got this, I thought.

Then, Deepak moved into the questions to ask yourself to create your soul profile. Bam! One foot instantly back in 2009. Why? Well, here are the questions:

1. Who am I?

2. What do I want?

3. What is my purpose in this life?

4. What are my unique skills and talents?

5. What do I expect in a meaningful relationship?

I can answer a lot of that really clearly.

What do I want?

I knew I wanted to be a lawyer by the time I was 8. As an adult, I am aware that I just wanted to help people and the best example of an advocate I had at that time was the lawyer. Today, I'm a lawyer but I know I want to help people on a human level and not just on the academic level I picked up in law school and in practice. If I am being truthful, I've had quite a few moments over the years where the job got to be too stressful and not what I thought it would be when I filled out my law school applications. I've asked myself if I missed the mark when choosing my career more times than I can count. There was a time when I was not working on my own terms and I was pushing my body to a breaking point. I'm in a much better situation now and I know that I am not my career but I still want to be an advocate for others. I found volunteer opportunities that allow me to work through my history and help others at the same time. So what do I want? I want to comfortably stand in the truth of my past but not be held down by it. I want to take the work I've done on myself and help people overcome obstacles by sharing my story of abuse, illness, job loss and love. I want to listen and mentor from a raw, honest place. I am doing that through my volunteer work and through my everyday interactions with people. I am attempting to do that through my blogs and other writing. To continue to do that and build upon it is what I want.

What is my purpose in this life?

I think everyone's purpose is to serve others so I can answer this one pretty easily. My purpose in this life is to serve others (related and not) and try to lift them up. To serve myself and make sure that I am taking care of my spirit so I can be present in my daily life and recognize when I am losing focus on my spirit and getting caught up in my issues. I also feel like my purpose is to be a mother (that's a journey that you know I'm working through but I know it will happen no matter what). Even that goes back to serving another person. Somehow, it also goes back to continued healing from my own past.

What are my unique skills and talents?

I think I am constantly growing and discovering my skills and talents. That said, I know I am a good advocate and a great listener. I have a unique story and while I know I am more than my story and I am not locked into the role of the victim I've been, the happening of it all arms me with a unique perspective. Walking through the storms of my life and truly feeling like a fighter at the end of the day helps me listen with an experienced ear. The work I've done to break out of my story helps me let others know they are not their stories either. There is no story that makes me want to shy away and say you can't get past that because our spirits can overcome all things.

What do I expect in a meaningful relationship?

A commitment to growth and to love. Forgiveness and honesty. Encouragement and presence. Focus on helping with the daily walk of life. Support. Acceptance. I expect it out of my relationships with others and out of my relationship with myself. I expect it of myself in my relationships with others. Of course, I fall short but that is what I expect.

So, Ive got all of that figured out for the most part. What about that 2009 foot? I'm still stuck when it comes to the threshold question. Every morning since I saw this week's Lifeclass, I've been getting ready for work, looking in the mirror and asking "Who are you, chick?" Every time, I start listing my titles and roles. Lawyer, volunteer, wife, daughter, sibling, friend, person with lupus and PAH, future mom. The journey continues but I am making every effort to answer that question in a clear way as soon as possible. Time to go meditate. I also see a book purchase in my future.


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