my awakening journey – authentically me

It is 2:59 am as I write this.  I am incredibly tired but unable to sleep.  It’s been a busy couple weeks of moving, working full-time, and taking three classes.  I am mentally wired and fantasize about laying on the ground in a forest, allowing Gaia to rejuvenate every cell of my body, not one electronic device in sight.

But I check my email anyway, and find a lovely message from Barbara inviting me to join her Awakening Challenge on http://www.memymagnificentself.wordpress.com. Given my schedule, my first impulse is to resist, but I am already intrigued.  It’s the second time this week I’ve been told about this challenge, so I’m paying bleary-eyed attention.

For now I will attempt sleep yet again…

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

Earlier that evening, I’d attended my Creative Writing class.  It was only our third group session, but I felt compelled to share a very personal, short piece I’d written on the subject of trust.  I think the class was surprised – and maybe a little uncomfortable – to hear a virtual stranger speaking so openly about something relatively intimate.

As I walked home afterwards, I felt a little over-exposed.  Why did I do that?, I wondered.  Why not choose a less personal piece?  Why put myself out there like that?  Do I lack boundaries?  Do I want attention?

Vulnerability can be very uncomfortable sometimes.

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

I grew up with my feet in two different worlds.  Born in Canada just two years after my parents arrived as refugees, life required straddling two cultures that often seemed at great odds with each other.  I think now of my small-child self, and I feel her immense free spirit…and her sense of confinement.  Her tribe was her whole world, and she loved them mightily, yet she felt somewhat alone and longed for something more.  She didn’t know how much she wanted to break free.

I remember family members visiting our home one evening, when I was about six years old.  During a group prayer, I recalled something funny that had happened at school that day.  I couldn’t wait for the prayer to be over, so I could tell everyone about it.  When I shared my story, I was chastised.  I remember the shame I felt in that moment. I’m a bad girl for thinking funny things during prayer. God is mad at me.

It wasn’t just that incident.  I couldn’t connect with many aspects of my religion.  I felt somewhat deficient; that I was missing some reverence or knowledge that everyone else seemed to have.  There was heavy guilt surrounding this.  But guilt couldn’t force the connection.

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

What I did have was an obsession with the metaphysical, particularly reincarnation.  I remember telling my mother, at four years old: “In my next life I want you to be my mommy again. Only this time I want green eyes.”  And for the longest time, my plan was to write my name on a piece of paper before I died; this way, when I ‘woke up’ in my next life, I’d know that I was ‘Aleya’ the last time.

Throughout my teen years my fascination with the supernatural deepened.  I couldn’t get enough Astrology.  I surrounded myself with Egyptian ankhs. I analyzed my dreams and studied the Rider Waite tarot deck.  These realms were so esoteric, mysterious, and enticing. I was hooked.

I loved contemplating all things spiritual, and yet, the niggling guilt was constant.  Why be born into a religion I felt no connection to?  I figured the day would probably come where I would put away all my silly New Age books, and finally embrace my religion – I would ‘come back to my roots’ instead of rejecting them.

This is how I viewed myself for a long time – that I was wrong for not adapting to what never felt right.

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

Saeed Ahktar, title unknown

In my twenties, the rage showed up.  I had moved to a different city with my best friend, and something broke loose within.  We would go to the bars every weekend.  I would drink a lot and subsequently turn into the meanest person alive, my poor best friend taking the brunt of my unprovoked fury. My eyes opened: I was one angry woman. Why was I so angry?

It took years to understand that I was angry because I felt fundamentally separated.  I felt different (disconnected) from my family, and different (disconnected) from the society I so desperately wanted to fit into.  I was fragmented, my identity pieced together by various roles and voices, with no core sense of who ‘I’ was, and what ‘I’ wanted.  I felt I had to impress God, but was terrified that winning God’s favour meant living a life I really didn’t want to live.  I felt too big for my tribe but too small for society.  I felt guilt at the thought of leaving my tribe, because what if something really bad happened if I did?

I look back on those years and feel the fighting, the resistance.  I also feel the deep desire for healing, for relief…and the strength and determination to find that peace.  The ego’s story is one of pain and separation, and eventually it became too damn hard to play that game anymore.  I threw in the towel.

Saeed Akhtar, title unknown

Saeed Akhtar, title unknown

At this stage in my journey, I am allowing the possibility of something more. New life is breathing itself into me.  Joy is peeking in.

I am now able to see what a rich blessing it is, to have my unique history pulsing in my blood.  My worlds are coalescing nicely.  I am now willing to expose my heart.  And I am seeing wonderful things.  There is acceptance.  Forgiveness. Authenticity. Love. Connection.

I am learning that I am not defined by anyone or anything; I choose who I want to be, how I want to feel, and what I want to create.  And in doing so, I allow others those same things.  There is support.

I am learning to honour my own needs, while knowing I am connected to All, and that my piece affects the whole.  For a long time, life was about negotiating my identity through living in two worlds, neither of which felt fully ‘me’.   Now I am sensing that life is actually far more complex, beautiful, and mysterious than I could have imagined.  There are infinite words and dimensions, within and without.  And I am not so different from anyone after all.

Sometimes my journey means doing ‘the work’.  Other times it means simply Allowing and Being.

Saeed Akhtar, title unknown

To share my personal feelings and experiences in this blog, and in my Creative Writing class just a few nights ago – to go there, to hear my words being spoken in front of a group, to feel people’s reactions, to see their eyes looking directly at me (as well as averting) – means I am building deep self-trust and love.  My belly wavers, but I am okay.  This is me.

Going to my depths unlocks something that needs to be expressed, so that I can experience life in a new way. This is who I am and I trust myself enough to share it with you.  And I trust you enough to receive it.  Trust in myself – and in God – is growing with each breath.

I am very appreciative for Barbara, for this invitation to share my awakening journey.  I love that blogging has connected so many of us through our unique life experiences.  I am super grateful for the dear friends I have made in this WordPress world, and I sense that our journeys will continue to get a lot more fun, deep, and connected through 2014 and beyond.

Namaste,

Aleya

37 thoughts on “my awakening journey – authentically me

  1. Pingback: a selection of awakening experiences part II | alohaleya

  2. Pingback: solstice, samskara, surrender | alohaleya

  3. Amazing. I felt the same way growing up, the pulling towards the mystery and wonder of God. I didn’t grow up in a religious home, though. My mom left the church when I was about 5. It was a Baptist Church and when she divorced my father, the preacher told her she could still come to church but would no longer be allowed to play piano. So no more church for us. The whole reason my mom chose a Baptist church was for the music.

    So I grew up pretty free in terms of faith and I explored lots of different ones, also got really into Astrology and was completely obsess with the movie the Ten Commandments. I named an entire litter of kittens all Egyptian names and I wanted be Egyptian, have dark skin and wear saris. I also got a telescope in Junior High and that was captivating. I visited different churches, explored different religions, but nothing felt like home in the way Abraham-hicks does now.

    I also spent the first half of my twenties ANGRY a lot. I oscillated back and forth between feeling inadequacy and hostility. I’d feel vulnerable or stupid or less than, and I would immediately lash out. Words were always my weapon of choice. So I can totally relate to that! I think my anger and insecurity came from growing up without a father.

    I can also relate to those vulnerability hangovers. But they are the stepping stones to greatness.

    You are definitely my soul sister.

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    • woah…yes…definitely soul sisters here. i feel like i could have written everything you wrote aside from the details. i loooove that you gave your kittens egyptian names!! i’m giggling right now at all the connections. it makes me happy that we’ve both come to place of embracing the positivity-everything abe talks about. even though we feel ‘stuck’ in certain things, reading what your wrote (and remembering what i wrote) shows that our journey just gets better and better. i can’t wait to see what we’re doing when we’re 50 – LOL!! xoxo

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  4. This is so beautiful and I can relate to the youthful oddities of knowing your different than that world that you grow up in, but not having learned yet how you are different or how beautiful that can be.
    Much love to you on your journey and again….thank you for sharing!
    *I also find myself in positions of sharing so much deep and personal experience with strangers. I can relate to the feeling you had after reading your story to your class…and other times when we aren’t feeling as silly about sharing it, it sure is funny/entertaining to see the intense responses on peoples faces! ha.
    I am happy there are such open books like us in this world….and happy that we have people to “wow”.
    Keep sharing! I really am happy I found your blog today! Your writing is so well versed and heartfelt you are making me realize it may not be wise for me to write and post during my tiring midnight shift! ; )

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    • thank you so much for your kind words! i am also happy there are open books like us, people who are not afraid to share our vulnerability, even if it’s very uncomfortable at times. i am learning what feels good to share, and when to keep my feelings/process more private…but my experience has shown that when i share, others feel a relief that they’re not alone in the experiences. it’s important (for me) to connect on this deeper level. and you’re right, sometimes it’s just sheer entertainment to freak people out in putting myself out there – hehe! we gotta have some fun with this! thanks again 🙂 aleya

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    • it was quite the experience to write about my journey and i’m really glad i was given the opportunity to, through this blog challenge. it was so interesting to read how others experience their awakening process. we’re all different but same. 🙂 thank you for reading and for commenting. have a wonderful day! aleya ❤

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  5. Thank you Aleya, I so much relate with your “awakening journey.” It’s given me pause to consider the forces and challenges of my own childhood and growing up years that have strongly shaped the person that I am now (for better or for worse). Thanks again, Aleya, for all the beauty and light that you bring to the world!

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  6. Aleya I love your open sharing and your writing. I also love the imagery you chose. Happy Valentines Day angel.

    (¯`✿´¯) (¯`✿´¯)
    *`•.¸(¯`✿´¯)¸.•´ * *Ḻ✿ṽ℮
    *✿*.` •.¸.•´*✿*• .¸¸.`•´¯✿★ ° . . ¸. * ¸ . ●   . ☾ °☆  . * ● ¸ . ★ ° :.  . • ○ ° ★  .  * .      .   °  . ● .   ° ☾ °☆  ¸. ● .  ★  ★ ° ☾ ☆ ¸. ¸  ★  :.  . • ○ ° ★  .  * . .  ¸ .   °  ¸. * ● ¸ .    ° ☾ °  ¸. ● ¸ .  ★ ° :.  . • °   .  * :. . ¸ . ● ¸    ★  ★☾ °★ .     .  °☆  . ● ¸ .   ★ ° .  • ○ ° ★  .       * .  ☾ °  ¸. * ● ¸     ° ☾ °☆  . * ¸.   . ¸. * .¸. *
    ★ ° . . 
    Sindy

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  7. Powerful! I just wrote about self-awareness 🙂 Love this connection. You are on fire and as I know the journey is challenging I’m so happy so see where you’re going. My heart is overflowing with the depth in this piece.

    I’ve had similar experiences, through culture, that brought in separation from God, life and living. It was a challenge to overcome, but so worth it.

    So lovely, words aren’t enough. Wonderful post. xoxo

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    • thank you, dear sister! i just read your post this morning. love it! and i love being inspired by each other’s journeys. authenticity is the best thing ever. 😉 have a wonderful day xoxo

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  8. I always look forward to hearing of your adventures in life. The “Force” is always with you; or, as I like to put it, our Source. When I first met you, I told you I was going to respond to a post of yours with some thoughts about judgment. I have started doing so on my blog and have lots more to share. I hope you check it out sometime. Namaste.

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    • hi lew – thank you for your ongoing support! i remember you mentioned having thoughts for a post on judgment and i was happy to read it on your blog (which for some reason i couldn’t access before), as well as other posts. YES, the source is always with us and within us, it’s just slowing down the mind…and body…long enough to feel it. since my sensory deprivation experience a few weeks ago i’ve been especially aware of this. but i still have to remind myself over and over again…haha. thanks, aleya

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  9. Aleya thank you so much for sharing with us all your journey of awakening to who you truly are… What a beautiful and heartfelt journey it was… I resonated so much to your childhood/teenager years, being misunderstood, alone… wanting to fit in… but we just don’t fit in… and now looking back, we realise it is not about fitting in… it is all just an experience to gain knowledge and understanding that we can have it all… and once we begin to trust this about ourself we can stand out and express this trust, no matter how others react… we can trust ourself and allow no doubts to invade our life… and as you so beautifully say… ‘I am not defined by anyone or anything; I choose who I want to be, how I want to feel, and what I want to create. And in doing so, I allow others those same things… This is truly what the word reference means… to honour oneself and everyone else… (and I didn’t learn this from going to sunday school either, I learned it through my human life experience of pain and joy)…

    IAM so pleased to have met another divine sister and IAM sure we can enjoy each other journey into the unknown, creating our hearts desire here on Earth… Barbara x

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    • hi barbara! i am so glad i participated in your challenge! even though i share my journey quite a bit on this blog, writing about it chronologically (which i chose to do for the challenge) was something new. it was very cool to have this perspective on my own life – to really think about it, which experiences stood out, and why. since i joined the challenge a little late, i’m only now reading the previous entries. i love seeing all the unique perspectives on awakening…and i’m really loving the word ‘reverence’ right now. 😉 thank you again for making the vision happen. aleya

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  10. I was once told by someone – “You are so different from your culture. Almost like you were born at a wrong place.”

    I thought about that after. And it wasn’t a racist or discriminating comment. It is just how I am, who I am. And it made me smile really. Her words brought truth to my heart. I have, like you, struggled for so long. And such words led me to path of peace of being me – that there is nothing wrong with me at all. Other people may find it wrong, offensive, rude, whatever… but we don’t mean to hurt anyone. That is not our intention. We only intend to be true to ourselves.

    Some folks still find me odd, lol. It doesn’t affect me as much now. I love how I am very different with my culture and beliefs. I’m done trying to please anyone. This will never bring anyone happiness. In the long run, in their subtle ways, you will sense how they learned to appreciate your character, your strength in holding your ground. Only because they never had… xo

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    • these days i just don’t have the energy to pretend about a lot of things. i notice this in all aspects of my life – it’s hard for me to mask what i’m truly feeling in the moment, and i’m saying things i might have held back on before. i think it’s because, as you say, my intention is to be true to myself, and i know that my ‘self’ is fundamentally good.

      in other words, i’m not second-guessing myself so much. (self-doubt is so draining!) there is such relief/release when that sense of ‘wrongness’ starts to disintegrate. i can perceive myself in an entirely new way, and when we come to that understanding…ah nothing can beat the peace in that, can it? xox aleya

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  11. Very well stated and heartfelt thoughts — thanks for sharing them. We should all appreciate our shared connectedness, which is real and meaningful. Namaste to you, Aleya, and peace on you.

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  12. I loved loved the art that accompanied your post, it’s sooo you in every way 🙂
    For me, the third image of being ‘tied’ and free, came across strongly and consistently throughout your story (and some other blog posts I remember).
    But it is when you dare to cut the ties and give yourself fully, all of you, risking being (over)exposed but with nothing to hide, that I see you growing colorful wings and dancing wildly and freely in sync with the rhythm of life.
    And I am excited by what I see!!! This is why I love you and this is what makes your writing so special 🙂
    You are an awesome Soul Sister 🙂 xox

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  13. This is lovely Aleha! You write so fluidly and the artwork really reflects your story so seamlessly.
    I see some connections here as I was raised by parents who grew up with 2 conflicting religious beliefs plus divergent multicultural heritages. I have not written about this yet. Up until my 30s I struggled with identity in terms of my background. Am I Italian, French, German, Jewish. Catholic, Russian, Polish, or simply American? This haunted me for so long although neither religion resonated for me from the get go. Like you, I have found my own authentic way!

    PS, You had mentioned a Josephine Wall print had inspired you while contemplating this challenge. Can you share about this print?

    I loved your post and look forward to building our connection.

    love,
    Linda

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    • thank you so much linda, i’m really happy i got to be a part of this challenge. i don’t know that i’ve ever given such thought to the stages of my journey so it was very illuminating to write it.

      regarding the images, yes! – i had the perfect josephine wall print to use, and then i saw a pic on FB that just grabbed me. i found the artist online and all his images were just perfect for this post. so the plan changed. 🙂 but i know the josephine print will appear someday…

      thank you again for all your love and support! xox aleya

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