By Victoria Hawkins
Have you ever had the experience of observing another person, thinking, “That used to be me!” It is a knowing that the very vibration of what you are seeing matches an old way for you. I had this occur on a trip to India, and it allowed me to appreciate becoming the Me that I am meant to Be.
When I set out on this journey, I read about what to do as a woman visiting India: remain covered on my top, wear a ring to indicate I am married, and dress in the garments akin to women of the land. So I packed scarves to cover up. I wore a ring on my left finger, even though I am not married. Then I began to go into a hole; I felt fearful and pressed down.
My vibrant self was draining out each time I covered up to walk outside or a man questioned my marital status.
I suddenly knew that these travel suggestions were coming from a place of fear, but I had seen them as Truth I must follow.
One week into the trip, and I felt weighed down and suffocated. The heaviness of the words that I heard were in such contrast to the Namaste that floated on the next breath. We see God in everything, but then we categorize people into castes, and call some of them Untouchables. Where is the Love?
But then, where is my Love? Do I really sit before a man and see the Light inside of him, or do I sit in fear and eventually anger? When I see the light in the face of the homeless refugee child, can I also see the light in the man who skillfully refuses to serve me until another man asks for a meal on my behalf?
I knew I had a choice: Join in and feel the heavy blanket of oppression or be the Love I came to be?
That day I made the conscious choice to see all of it, the oppressed and the oppressors, with the Divine Eyes of Love. That was the beautiful moment where I felt the lift. I chose to be the light and allow myself to be the vessel of love that sees the beauty in both sides of the coin. I found the high vibration again; my experience shifted.
After that point, I realized that no matter where I am standing—whether on American soil where I know “the rules” or in a faraway place where I know nothing of the societal norms—I must be me. As I launched into the second half of my trip, I chose to wear scarves because I felt beautiful in them. I no longer shied away from questions about my marital status. I just answered them with a smile. I was just me, showing up in my integrity free of the baggage of oppression and fear.
Releasing the Past
Growing up I was my own worst oppressor, and by age 14, I was allowing others to determine my way of being. I chose boyfriends who abused me, I starved myself to be society’s version of beautiful. I put constant pressure on myself to achieve. By 30, I was so lost from myself—and so used to relinquishing my power—that all I could “be” was what I thought someone else wanted me to “be.” Until one day I woke up.
For me, it was like being in a dream that feels so real, but then starts to fade. For that briefest of moments you aren’t quite sure which one is real, the dream or your reality. That was the way of my growth.
When oppression was my habit, I didn’t realize that I was oppressing myself. I spent so much time looking for how to play by the “rules” that I couldn’t hear my inner voice whispering to me, “Are these rules still working for you???” I began to grow, and that inner voice got louder, and the dream world began to look a little foggy. One day I asked the question out loud, “Is this really working for me?” The answer I heard back was a resounding “No.” The shift was uncomfortable at first. Some days I would put the sleepy costume back on and some days I would rip it off exposing my True Self and my fears all in one fell swoop. Each time I let my True Self out in the open, I remembered that freedom. I remembered it from childhood, before I ever thought to let others control me.
Through the shift, I rediscovered mountain biking, and I rode trails near my home town of Brooksville, FL. One day a hot wind was blowing on me as I pedaled, and I imagined myself flying with the butterflies and the angels, and the thought hit me: “I remember this. This is free.”
This is what it’s like to wake up: It is a remembering. It is the little bits of life that spark something in your heart that says, “This is who you are, I know who you are, follow me.”
We don’t know we are oppressed until we realize we have a choice about being pushed down. Then we must recognize that we are in control and must make choices to change one by one.
Just like a lotus in the mud, I took my time to find my beautiful. So many moments, and so many choices. The more I allowed myself to listen to that inner guidance, the more I faced my fears and grew in the process.
Our inner voice will always lead us to love, while our thinking mind will show us the way of fear. Today I ask myself this question regularly, “Is it fear or is it love?” It is my reminder to check in with what is motivating my choices. As I follow the voice of love, that deep knowing inside that I heard when I was a kid, I always flow in the direction of my best good. There is no oppression in love—no oppression of me or any other.
Outgrowing my oppression has allowed me to reconnect with the wisdom I knew when I was young. Today, I approach my life with the knowing that I can chose to be awake or asleep; fearful or full of love; free or imprisoned; living life or surviving it. I am always the one who holds my key. Namaste, in love, Victoria
This article is a chapter from the book Transform Your Life! written by 60 real-life heroes and experts and available at Amazon.com, BN.com, www.Transformation-Publishing.com and all ebook formats.
Victoria Hawkins, LCSW, RYT has been enjoying being a voice in the world of health and wellness for many years. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, adult and child yoga and Bellydance instructor, Meditation Teacher, public speaker, intuitive artist and author/illustrator. She specializes in fusing art, movement, wisdom teachings, and yogic practice with intuitive guidance to create a unique way of connecting individuals and groups to their own inner voice. She attributes her insights and epiphanies to her commitment to deep listening to nature, the wisdom of children, unexpected teachers and her own Spirit Voice within. Visit www.victoriahawkins.com.