A Little Fable
“Alas,” said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.”
“You only needed to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.
This is a horrible story (I like mice! And cats!), but it carries an interesting idea. We feel alone and afraid, and so we dash toward enclosed spaces that seem safer. But eventually, the enclosure becomes a trap. It hadn’t occurred to us that our focus on safety can limit our options in devastating ways. It hadn’t occurred to us that we can change direction.
What does it take to change direction?
I think it is related to the sense that “I have a right to be here and to shape an outcome for myself.” I would call this a sense of sacred sovereignty—our deep personal sense of identity, presence, strength and wholeness.
To me, sovereignty means our capacity to govern ourselves, to make choices, to express our individual will, to accept responsibility and to be accountable. It is the capacity to be our Self.
In Celtic spiritual lore, Sovereignty is a goddess, the goddess of the land. The right of kingship is a gift from this goddess. In ancient times there was an actual ceremony of marriage between the king (or queen) and the land itself. The monarch became sovereign only because he or she vowed to be one with and serve the land and all that lives upon the land, including, of course, the people of that land. So Sovereignty is a blend of rulership on the one hand, and service on the other.
I am sovereign because I am connected. My “land” is the world around me, the life that moves through all of it; my sovereignty as an individual arises from my unity with that land and my willingness to serve it.
At a deeper, more fundamental level, Sovereignty is the unity between oneself and the sacred. This isn’t about self worth that has to be earned or gained. We are born into our own sovereignty. It is a birthright.
If the people who raised us had known this they would have taught it to us. But one of the challenges of being human is to learn this for ourselves. When we get eaten by the cat enough times, we eventually learn to change direction on behalf of our own sovereignty!
I have been teaching about this in my teleclass called Bright Spirit, Blocked Path.
One of the exercises we did was to fill in answers to the following unfinished sentences.
If, when I was young, someone had told
me that my wants really mattered —-
If, when I was young, I had been taught
to honor my own life —–
If I treat my life as unimportant —–
If I were willing to say yes when I want
to say yes, and no when I want to say no —-
If I were willing to let people hear the
music inside me —-
If I were willing to express 5% more
of who I am —-
Thinking of my difficult relationship with my mother, I had an insight about sovereignty. My mother’s whole life focus was to gain approval from everyone. But my whole life focus was to figure out how life worked for me, which often meant that what I did would be seriously disapproved of by all the people she wanted approval from. That was really hard for her, and by extension, hard on me.
I grew up feeling invisible. It took me a long time to realize that my parents had been raising the child that other people would approve of, and that they failed to see me as an actual person.
As a mother of two daughters, now adults, I still take every opportunity to mirror their goodness and strength back to them. Siblings being siblings, they still have occasional issues with each other. I often find myself encouraging each of them individually to see the strength and goodness in the other.
When my mother got old, she had dementia. I believe that in many cases, dementia or Alzheimer’s is a strategy for not having to confront what is difficult in one’s life. In addition to making it possible for her to opt out of direct awareness of a truly untenable family situation, dementia eventually also gave my mother permission to stop thinking about getting anyone’s approval.
She became crotchety, mean and very critical. In the years before she died she made life extremely difficult for the people around her. Trying to think of a way of describing my mother for her home health care coordinator one time, I was finding it hard to explain how my mother was not just the fuzzy minded and sometimes sweet (though often stubborn and angry) old lady that she appeared to be. I knew that she was more.
The image came to me of a Queen—without a crown. I began thinking of other images that had the same sense of strong, expressive Presence, sovereignty, but Presence rendered invisible or obstructed. The image needed to reflect the sense of the very intention of her incarnation — sovereignty, strength and power — having only a blocked channel to flow through. An opera singer without a voice. A wizard without a magical staff. A sun without fire.
Seeing her clearly, my mother had the aspect to me of someone with great power, awareness and wisdom, and a gracious heart, but who was seldom able to exercise these capacities. She was dominated in her growing up years by two older brothers whom she and her parents idolized and favored.
Her constant refrain when I knew her was “No one ever lets me speak…!” She didn’t have any assurance or even awareness that any power was there in her at all. Her sense of self worth was off-the-chart low self esteem. Over the years the power in her had constricted into passive aggressive anger, criticism, and a constant victim mentality.
She didn’t know how to turn toward her inner truth, her power of spirit, awareness and wisdom. She didn’t know how to use these qualities in herself. You could say that her sense of her own sovereignty got eaten by the cat….
Once I worked with a woman who wanted to lose weight, but she kept sabotaging herself. In a session one day, we were considering what emotional issues might be connected to weight for her. She had said before that she had no problem with anger, but as it turned out we managed to touch into a deep store of anger at herself for her inability to lose weight and at her own body for being heavy.
She talked about the weight issue as “struggling to beat it back with a stick!” She was one of those people who always is seeking oneness, the “higher realms,” trying through prayer and meditation to get away from her body. So much spirituality reinforces that notion: we must work hard to overcome our flaws, “beat them back with a stick,” to become worthy. I think of it differently!
I talked with her about this idea of sacred sovereignty, and about our individual bodies and our lives as the realm of our personal monarchy. (I didn’t just tell her all this, in her face, so to speak, but wove it sort of quietly into what we were doing, as another choice for her.)
It was a profoundly moving experience for this lady to begin to think of her body as a sacred land, and think of her incarnation as a sacred act of sovereignty.
I think that this sense of personal sovereignty is the foundation of the second half of the EFT set-up phrase: “I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
You can find ways to incorporate these ideas into your own tapping sessions.
One way to start might be to look back at the phrases that you used to complete the unfinished sentences above. Think of the situations that lie behind these phrases. Pick one that particularly triggers you, or is resonant, and choose a memory that this phrase describes. Write a paragraph or a page about this situation, and how you feel about it. Pick out phrases, sentences and feelings that you can form tapping phrases from, and tap through the points on.
Imagine that you have been the mouse, running with blinders on, down the narrow pathway. But now you realize that you can change direction. Metaphorically you can turn around, and notice that that old ferocious cat is actually no longer chasing you. You have been running from the memory of it, not the actual cat. You are Mighty Mouse!
Tap for turning yourself in the direction of your power and presence, your balance and goodness… your sovereignty.
End your tapping session with a celebration:
Especially because I love who I am, and I love who I can be… I am deepening and expanding my Presence in even more powerful wonderful ways.
Especially because I love who I am becoming …I hunger for deep connection with the world, I make creating and maintaining a sacred relationship with myself my first priority.
Especially because I love who I am becoming… I have a mission of bringing peace into the world, I intend to be a portal through which loving, helpful energy can flow.
Especially because I love who I am…I am standing up for myself, paying attention to what I notice and honoring my sensitivity….I am expressing who I am with love and a light heart.
Especially because I love who I am…I deeply and completely love and accept myself, and I appreciate and honor this world-changing soul capacity that I have been so blessed with.
The world needs what I have to offer.
I am ready to emerge into more of who I am!
Here is a great quote by Steve Jobs, who says the same thing in a different way:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for status quo.”
“You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while many see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
from Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
With my love and blessing to you,
(photos from Dreamstime.com)