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Stepping Out of the Shadows/[Re]Connecting With
Your Life's Journey

© 2002 Alive And Well Publications. All Rights Reserved.
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Awakening the Soul

By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.

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Bringing Honor to the Journey

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.
-Issac Bashevis Singer

Our soul will awaken when we choose to honor ourselves rather than appease our little gods.

Honoring ourselves or appeasing the little gods. Honoring ourselves? Just what is the act of honoring ourselves? What does it look like? What does it involve? How does it take place?

What are these little gods that we abandon ourselves to? What is the power they hold over us? What is the fear that so paralyzes us that we choose to continue our relationship with them rather than forge a different kind of relationship with ourselves?

Well, let’s start with the little gods. By what names are they known to us? How do they appear in our lives?






Right vs. wrong



Fear of the unknown

Avoidance of pain

To better understand the choices we make, it’s important to recognize how we pay homage to our little gods rather than honor ourselves. Once we see how we forsake our soul for these little gods, we can free ourselves to listen to our soul and find the things necessary within ourselves to honor our soul. Take some time and look within yourself.

What are the names of your little gods? What is the power they hold over you?

As we become more aware of what our little gods are, we next need to learn about all the ways that these little gods appear in our life, all the ways these little gods chip away at our emotional and spiritual well-being. So take some time and tease out how words like perfectionism and willfulness and other such little gods that appear in your life and what impact their appearance has on your well-being.

The flip side of this? Honoring ourselves? Being true to who we are? Be all that you can be? Do these sayings have meaning to you or are they just overused clichés? Just what does honoring ourselves mean, more importantly what does it look like in our day-to-day lives?

Laura has been helping me with those very questions, sharing with me what it looks like for her, giving me glimpses of what it might be for me.

“I feel like I woke up one day and asked myself, ‘Where did I disappear to?’”

“You mean, like you were missing in action?”

Laura chuckled and said, “Yea, in a manner of speaking, I guess you could put it that way.

“For whatever reason, I just came to realize that I had literally abandoned myself. Abandoned my interests, my passions, all the things that brought me joy, they were no longer a part of me, a part of my life.”

“Life has a way of doing that to us,” I offered.

“This wasn’t life, this was me doing it to me. I just lost, well no, it wasn’t interest, it was more like I lost touch, I lost touch with all those things that made living life more of a celebration rather than a test of survival.”

“The books I used to read, the walks along the lake every evening, my arts and crafts projects, the long talks with my friends, there were so many ways I used to express myself, so many ways I used to be involved with people, with life. Gone. It all just stopped.”

“You know, now that you mention it, I remember how we used to talk about the music you were writing, but I haven’t heard much about that anymore.”

“That’s my point, but much worse than that was all the ways I was hurting myself. That was a whole different way that I would abandon myself. All the choices I made, all the ways I was sabotaging myself. I have so much shame about how out-of-control my life became.

“But...” I tried to get out a word of understanding.

“But nothing. I did things that just had no integrity to them. Those things cling to me like sludge from a black lagoon.”

“Wow, those things still seem to cut real deep for you.”

“Yea, they do. So much waste, so much lost potential. And for what? Such a long time to go without me. So long to go without, without my dignity, my joy, my passions. I gave it all away, and sadly enough, I gave it all away so cheaply.”

The pain that was etched on her face reminded me of the pain I once saw on a mother who had to bury her two-year old son.

I was moved by Laura’s profound sense of loss. But at the same time there was some sort of transformation that came over her. So much pain yet at the same time it seemed she was experiencing some sort of emancipation. It was as if revisiting her pain was enabling her to reclaim a part of who she was. It seemed as if the bitterness was melting into gratitude right before my very eyes.

I was only guessing, but perhaps gratitude for the opportunity to grow, maybe for the opportunity to complete something within her, or gratitude for the opportunity to learn something new about herself, I didn’t really know.

But what I took away from that conversation has made me think long and hard about what it means to honor ourselves. And what the connection between honoring ourselves and awakening our soul is.

Honoring ourselves is a two-step process. The first step is reclaiming. We need to reclaim the parts of ourselves that we have denied, pushed away, or cast aside. In order to honor ourselves, we need to reclaim what is rightfully ours, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our emotional experiences, we need to reclaim our passions, all the ways we express who we are to the world.

Reclaiming. It’s an act of ownership. It’s an act of courage, an act of living your life in spite of the consequences of what that may bring to you rather than carving out a life where you are what you believe the world wants you to be.

Once we reclaim these pieces, we need to next consistently give expression to all the parts of who we are. We need to express them, and more importantly refine them, add to them, consolidate them.

The connection to an awakening soul? Simple.

You see, honoring ourselves is active, not passive. It’s not something to be learned about, it’s something we do.

Let’s end this section with an opportunity for you to identify parts of yourself that you long ago abandoned. What are the parts of yourself that you have come to miss? What effect has those parts of yourself not being there had on your life? Finally, what can you do to start reclaiming those abandoned parts?

Have you begun to see from the very outset how much control you can begin to exercise over your own journey? Hopelessness can give way to a new way of being in your life--all those things that you dream about but are too frightened to create for yourself. Hopefully you have begun to see how the first steps begin with the choices you make. Simply, do those choices honor who you are or appease your little gods?



Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at drfrisch@aliveandwellnews.com  or at
(847) 604-3290.

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.


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