Recently I heard about the circumstances of a new baby’s life. The baby was born to a teenage mother who smoked throughout the pregnancy. The teenage father of the child is in jail for a firearms incident at a local high school. The baby is going to be raised in a household where everyone still smokes, even knowing the damage this does to newborn lungs. Someone commented that, “This soul must have done something terrible in a past life to land in a family like that.”
I realized at that moment that I didn’t see it that way.
Let’s say that you have had previous experiences with a group of people and during your experiences with them, you have given up some sense of your own self worth because you came to believe their mistreatment of you was a valid reflection of your worth. In other words, you lost sight of your true worth in the face of their personality driven behaviors.
While you can come to a place of healing in which you know you would never give up your sense of self worth and therefore your power to these souls in the same way again, this is somewhat of a theoretical belief. As someone once said, “You can’t pass the test unless you take the test.”
To put our learning to the test and make it truly our own wisdom and not just an idea, our souls often choose to get us back into relationship with the various souls that we gave our power to in this or other lives, so that we can actually reclaim the pieces of ourselves that we gave away. And if it can’t be the same souls, then our souls find personalities that share similar illusions for us to enter into a relationship with.
With this baby, I imagine he came back into relationship with this group of souls so that he could immerse himself in his illusions about his self worth, as represented by this birth family. From within this matrix of an experience of his illusions, he can then move towards a truer experience of his worth, freed from these limiting ideas. I do not mean to condone the choices of the adults in his life, so much as acknowledge the bravery of this soul, who knows that the only way to actually take back what he gave away, is to go get it.
As I think about my own choice to incarnate into a family of origin with damaging illusions about personal worth, this way of looking at the situation has helped me let go of some lingering sense of having been, well, an idiot in my soul choices. I spent many years feeling like I was deranged to have picked the family of origin that I did. Some, of course, might say I was deranged to imagine I picked them, but I do think we pick our family of origin.
Now I see how I needed to pick this group again both because of the ways they triggered my own wounds about self worth and because of the way I had given my power to them and their illusions in earlier dramas. By incarnating in their midst, I sat down to take the test. By retrieving a sense of lovableness beyond their definition for me, I not only passed the test, but I moved into a more healed relationship with myself than the one I entered this life with.
Once I came to see that I needed to reenter the very relationships in which I had previously abandoned my sense of worth in the face of their personality opinions, I could see great value and courage in having dived back into relationship with these souls. What an precious opportunity to retrieve pieces of my self and self identity that I had left in their hands.
It took a long period of focused work and many Flower Essences like “All Ego Contracts Null & Void” to take back the pieces that I have retrieved, but it was worth every moment of effort. There is something very solid about where I am. I no longer buy into the definitions these souls have for me. Could I have learned this in a classroom where we talked theoretically about loving oneself better? Not really.
This dynamic is at work in so many other arenas than our family of origin. When we take a job with a toxic boss or have a romance with a person who can’t see us clearly, the same dynamic is at work. Instead of beating ourselves up for making poor choices, we can view these encounters as necessary parts of our journey towards wholeness. I am not talking about conscious choices to remain in abusive relationships. I am talking about accepting that when we find ourselves in relationships that trigger our illusions, we can know that this is territory ripe for real learning.
I don’t think we need to stay in relationship with people once we realize these old dynamics are at work again, unless everyone is willing to shift the dynamics to a new level together. It’s more that, in general, we often seem to reenter a relationship with certain souls or types of personalities in order to come to right relationship with ourselves. However their filters have colored our self concept in the past, by dealing with the personalities again and refusing to agree with their limited perceptions, we reclaim a missing part of ourselves.
One Green Hope friend recently told me how she found her life calling in an artistic community, but eventually came to realize that she had gotten confused as to the source of her artistic talent. Did it spring from this community who had nurtured her, defined her as excellent in her field, but was now trying to constrain and limit her talent due to their own personal insecurities?
She decided to leave the community and find an answer to this question. There was grief. There was emptiness. There was fear she was leaving her creative life behind as she set off on her own. Would she find that her talent existed only in the matrix of this community? Many months later, she finds herself more grounded in the truth that the origin of her artistic talent was never this community, but came from within her. However, she sees her journey into and then out of community with these people as having been a necessary retrieval of vital pieces of her self identity.
During her years working with these fellow artists, she was aware of lots of currents of control in her relationship with her mentors. She thought of these currents within the framework of having had past lives with these people, although she felt that even had it only been this one life they had together, the dynamics of the present day situation would still have demanded that she leave the community and find her own authentic voice and sense of herself separate from these folks.
None of this work of finding the wellspring of her own creativity, solidly grounded within herself, could have been done without the journey into and out of this community. Why? Because the community didn’t create the fear about the source of her creativity so much as show her that this was a wound she already carried.
She is aware that had she been certain of the inner source of her creative life, she would not have been attracted to work with a community that confused external feedback as a necessity for artistic self worth. She is aware that her newfound sense of joy in her creative self could only have come from owning this community’s wounds as her own wound, and then choosing to heal this wound in herself.
This newborn baby I mentioned at the beginning of this blog has a long journey ahead, but since the truth is that he is whole beyond any of the definitions imposed upon him by his family of origin, I am hopeful for this child. However this family of origin tries to limit his sense of his lovableness or other aspects of his self definition, the truth will still be the truth. Only God is real. As an indivisible part of God, he is of infinite value. And someday, just like the rest of us, he will know this. What a moment that will be!