Possession is a word I like. It conjures up all sorts of things, like this book, which is one of my favourites, and the fascinating idea of being ‘ridden’ by the gods, of being claimed by them, and entered by them, and becoming their hands and feet in service to their will.
But my favourite way to use the word is with the added self in the front. Self-possession.
This has been my goal for many years now – to possess myself, to lay claim to myself, to be personally sovereign, like Virgo, like a temple virgin – not ‘chaste’, which is a misreading of the definition of ‘virgin’, but rather, owned by no one.
Self-possessed. Delicious word. Delicious reality. Love. This.
I’ve dug into a few different spiritual modalities that hold as their ultimate aim this concept of self-possession or personal sovereignty, and I believe that my goal in therapy, though I could not articulate it when I began, has been to achieve this aim. I had a very vague idea about what it would look like, a gauzy, ephemeral sense of what it might feel like. I had barely formed images of myself saying ‘no’ a lot more, saying ‘yes’ a lot more. I had a sense of myself as standing taller, of being less likely to be knocked about by the winds of circumstance, the storms that one inevitably finds in one’s path. I had no idea, really, how it would actually look, how it would actually feel, until I found myself there on that x marks the spot called self-possessed.
Here’s how it looks today:
I own my entire life. All of it. It belongs to me. I may share it with others, but I do not owe it to anyone to share it.
I own my entire body. All of it. It belongs to me. I may share it with others, but I do not owe it to anyone to share it.
I own my time. All of it. It belongs to me. I may share it with others, but I do not owe it to anyone to share it.
My no is holy.
My yes is equally holy.
I have the right (and sometimes, the obligation to my highest self) to change my mind. Any necessary course corrections are mine to make.
My response to things is mine to choose.
I choose to be responsive rather than reactive wherever possible.
I sing myself back to centre when something has knocked me off course, with self-empathy instead of the sledge hammer of shame. The wielder of that sledge hammer of shame, coming as it does from my own shadow, gets loved gently into the light of awareness.
Hello. I see you. We’re working on it. Please to put down the hammer, for I am soft and made of stuff that bleeds.
I am my own authority. The rightness or wrongness of a thing for me is mine to determine. A right thing for you may not be a right thing for me, and I honour your authority. This means I am never in a battle of the wills over right or wrong ways. Never. Your rightness is your rightness. My rightness is my rightness. I reserve the right to change my mind as I receive new data.
I know where I have power, and where I don’t. I know the kind of power I have. I know how to apply it liberally while respecting the sovereignty of others. I picture my power to be very much like the power of that lowly weed pushing up and creating cracks in asphalt. I want, always only ever, to crack my own asphalt. It’s up to you to crack your own.
I know where you have power in my life, and where you don’t. All the power you have in my life is power I have given you. I reserve the right to take it away at a moment’s notice.
No one can ‘make me’ feel/think/do anything. No one. If something you have said or done triggers shame in me, that’s mine to unravel. If I feel bad in response to something outside of myself, that bad feeling is up to me to identify, soothe, and ultimately heal.
My feelings are never wrong. Ever. Sometimes I misinterpret where they originate from (is this a feeling about a real thing that’s happening now? Or a feeling about a real thing that happened before? Is this a projection? Can I let this pass, or does this need to be examined?) but I am adept at unraveling all that with time.
I have a tool box full of skills I’ve picked up along the way – journaling, sitting with things, letting things unfold organically, befriending uncertainty, staying curious and open about what’s to come – that have allowed me to build trust with myself. This trust with myself means I spend a whole lot less time second guessing my choices. Sometimes, I give someone the benefit of the doubt, even when my instincts are are all WHOA THERE NOPE, but I do so lightly, poised to withdraw whatever gifts of time, energy, space I’ve given should my doubts be proven accurate.
I have shifted from insecure attachment style to secure attachment style in most of my affairs. The ones that feel tenuous, not quite secure, get liberal applications of self-empathy. and requests for honest data. Tell me what’s up. Do not let me twist in the wind. Anyone in my life who refuses to engage honestly with me gets pushed out of the inner sanctum and onto the periphery. If my spidey senses tell me that someone is being purposefully dishonest, I trust that. That’s good data. I don’t need to vilify them in order to protect myself. I simply refuse to continue to engage. If my spidey senses tell me that someone is struggling with honesty due to their own wounding, I love on them still, but from a safe distance, because people struggling with their own wounding are minefields of unconscious content that could spray shrapnel in my face at any given moment. I do not like shrapnel.
I am centered in self. This is not the same thing as ‘self-centred’. I am the only one I will never lose or leave. Me, first. I can’t pour from an empty cup. I can’t serve when I am depleted. If mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy.
I don’t have to explain or justify myself to anyone except those with whom I have contracts. I make very few contracts, but the ones I make are signed in blood.
I live unapologetically. I take up more and more space. I use my voice. I get what I want.
Knowing myself is the singular most important piece of my work, so I guard my solitude ferociously. If you get to have time with me in meatspace, you earned it.
I know things, and my knowing will not be denied.
Pleasure is my birthright. So is joy. I seek it unashamedly.
I am proud of myself, and I carry myself that way. Other people may interpret that as haughty or aloof. That’s not a ‘me’ problem. That’s a ‘them’ problem. I have been called ‘full of myself’. Well, yes. Who else should I be full of? You? No. I am. Full. Of. My. Self.
I love lavishly. I am a devotee of my people. I want as much for them as I do for myself and I give whatever I have to give with no strings attached as generously and as often as I’m able. I take delight in giving. I do not keep a checklist of favours owed, but I will notice if I am starting to feel resentful, and I will adjust accordingly.
It is not up to you to meet my needs. It is up to me to meet them. That being said, I am not an island, and while I am ultimately the architect of my own experience, you can enhance it.
I know how to ask for what will enhance my experience. I know who to ask.
I need skin.
I feel the need to be celebrated.
I need someone to cook for me. I need to feel nourished.
I need to turn this screen off and be face to face, eye to eye with you.
I need your highest truth so that I may feel comfortable sharing my own.
I am here, now. Alive. In this skin. My own. Orbiting no one. More sun than moon. My own north star. Self-possessed.
About The Blog Along
Every year, twice a year, once in April, and again in September, I blog every day for a month, and invite others to do the same. We have a Facebook group, and in that group the only rule is that for every link you post to your own blog, you go off and read three other blogs and leave a comment. This is simply a way to ensure that a community happens rather than just a ‘promo’ group. You’re welcome to join in as long as you are willing to read and comment on three blogs for every blog you post. Click here to join us! If you’re too busy for that, you’re welcome to just blog on your own for a month. Easy peasy. No one is keeping score. There are no prizes except that you get to build your own readership by regularly populating your blog with good content.
To read all my entries for the Blogalong, please click here to access the Blogalong With Effy Category on my blog.
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