Rebirth, Surrender: A Manifesto

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It was Sunday evening and I was energetically spent from another one of my funks that I could only attribute to cosmic attack. I intelligently decided to reach out to some friends rather than wallow in my depleted emotional state (which is my usual unhealthy course of action). My angelic friend just happened to be heading to church in 45 mins and I knew that seeing her was my best bet for salvation from my inexplicable emotional spiral.

I rushed to get ready and we enjoyed a very healing service at our church. The worship almost led me to tears and the sermon felt very personal as it touched on holding on to the strength of God through life’s challenges. It went so far as to suggest that we should “consider it pure joy when you face trials.” That alone is a challenge in itself. Trials should signify that something amazing is just about to happen. I’m trying to hold on to the solace in that message.

Afterwards we witnessed brave souls commit their lives to Christ during the one of most public baptisms you could imagine. We watched as one by one each person stepped into small pools donning shirts that read “All In” in yellow letters. We were outside. The pools sat on the lawn at the corner of Hollywood and La Brea – a relatively busy intersection in Hollywood. With cars blaring music and pedestrians passing by, they each took this symbolic act of faith.

The chilly air was enough to make me zip up my coat and snuggle up to my scarf, so I could only imagine how it felt on their wet skin as they were fully submersed in the cleansing water. Re-emerging as re-birthed individuals.

I bet they felt so alive.

From the look of joy on each of their faces, I could gauge that they felt ecstatic. They had made a public decision to cast aside all of their mundane fears and embrace real change in their lives.

I often feel that as we get stuck in the day to day routine of things, that we could all use a daily re-birthing of sorts. I think that’s what they actually advise in church. That each day is a new day and we should address it as such. We shouldn’t lean on our own understanding but every day, surrender to something greater than ourselves. For me, I get stuck in the “something greater” aspect. And I’ve been on this spiritual journey for some time now. You’d think I’d have more of a grip by now but apparently, it’s a never-ending journey (*rolls eyes*). As a rising Virgo (and recovering control freak), I’m not a big fan of things that I can’t wrap my mind around and fully understand.

My chief frustrations lately have been trying to plan my future and take steps to where I want to be for optimal results. I want to make sure I take the right steps so that I end up EXACTLY where I intended when I planned my move to LA. My angelic friend, Anna wisely pointed out to me something that my intuition has pointed out before “there IS no right or wrong decision.”

Then why does it feel like there is?

Why does every cell in my body cry out in agony whenever I try and take a step forward? “Ooooh don’t do that.” “Ahhh… let’s analyze that 5 more times before you do it” “You COULD do that but… maybe there’s a better way, lets mull over it.”

I wrote something in my journal that night after church, baptism, and speaking with Anna while feeling much more like a happy healthy human. The result was a permission slip to myself. A manifesto of sorts. I’d like to print it out and keep it on my wall because I truly believe that it came from my higher self (at least up until the last couple paragraphs when I started remembering that other people might read it.)

Here’s what I wrote:

Could it really be enough to just show up?
Could it really be enough to just be trying?
Indefinitely?
Just trying and trying without ever knowing?
Is that what lies ahead?
What we have to look forward to?
Or at some point do we finally decide to be happy?

To be at peace
To find we have all that we need
To find that at the root we still have
the things we’ve always needed

To completely and finally release the rope
that leads to other people’s judgments
Pulling us here and there in an effort to be liked
Only to find you didn’t like yourself
and you needed to write your own permission slip

You needed to take your power back
Your agency

You needed to sit down with yourself
and tell yourself how things were gonna go from here on out
How things are going to BE
How they’re supposed to be
And lay down the law

Say:

I’m going to love myself
I’m going to OWN what I deserve
I’m not going to make myself small
I’m going to speak up
I’m going to take imperfect action
I’m going to find that whatever step I take
Is actually perfect in its own way

I’m going to trust in divine support
I’m going to throw off all the weight
of that which is out of my control
because I couldn’t control it anyway
and it was unnecessary stress
I’m going to open my heart
I’m going to be vulnerable to others
Because meaningful connection means the most to me

I’m going to laugh, yell, cry, and live out loud
Because that’s why the fuck we’re here

I’m going to own my emotions
and not let them own me
because only in resisting them do they
become a source of suffering

I’m going to laugh at the follies of life
I’m going to smile at flowers
Coon at puppies and babies
Bask in the warm sun and blue skies
Say thank you when I’m complimented
Tell my beautiful, magical friends
That I love them and how much they mean to me
And how many times they’ve helped me grow
And saved my life with the smallest gestures

I’m going to focus on the good because
What we focus on grows
And when I accidentally wallow in the bad
I’m going to be gentle with myself
like I would to a hurting friend

I’m going to launch myself forward
–  failure and rejection be damned
I’m going to set good intentions
I’m going to expect the best
I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt
And if I feel compelled
I’ll bless them and send them on their way

I’m going to open up wide
Because I don’t want to die
Never having ASKED for more
I’m going to explore all concepts
I’m going to work on my biases
And love myself where I fall short

I’m going to sleep
and always take care of myself

I’m going to open myself to love from all sources
I’m going to believe in my worthiness
I’m going to make space

I’m going to heal and break
And heal and break and heal
And break and heal myself all over again
Until it just starts to feel like life
And feels natural
And I’ll help others heal all along the way
I’m going to love my life
Because it’s a beautiful thing
And I have no interest in the alternative

Maybe you’ll write your own manifesto that you can turn to as a basis of how you’d like to approach your life. Maybe it’ll bring you peace – if only for a moment. To know that at one point you knew exactly how you wanted to approach each day outside of the default. Outside of how your environment influenced you to cope.

I hope you manage to get close to your ideal state of being every now and then and continue to love yourself when you don’t.

(photo source: Brooke Cagle)
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