Who am I is perhaps the ultimate spiritual question that triggers the journey of awakening to our true self. It’s an invitation to go on a spiritual quest of self-discovery which leads to a life of deeper meaning, purpose, and connection.
I work with awakening souls of all ages who are questioning who they are outside of their roles.
I received the following email from a young mom: “I just feel so empty all the time, like once my son is grown up I don’t have a purpose anymore. The pregnancy was, of course, a shock as I was only 20 at the time. I just feel like I’ve never had a purpose until now that I’m a mom. But who the hell am I if you take that part of me away? I crave the feeling of doing something daring, like skydiving, just to get a thrill of feeling completely free. I’ve felt like this for so long now. When I try speaking to people about it they just question me about why would I feel like that, and honestly, I never know what to say.”
Another young woman, had this to say about it: “I am currently a stay-at-home mom. I am very happy with my son and being at home with him for this short period in my life. But there is something missing, I don’t know who I am anymore. I feel great as a mom and wife, other than that, I wouldn’t know how to describe myself.”
Let me start by unpacking what I really mean by the question, Who am I beyond all the roles that define me?
When I talk about roles I’m really referring to the roles we fulfill during our lives like parent, child, spouse, friend, aunt, and so on. These roles can also pertain to our professional lives like a nurse, teacher, electrician, etc.
For many of us, fulfilling these roles often brings a deep sense of meaning and purpose to our lives whether we’re conscious of it or not.
This sense of meaning and purpose feels great and yet, there’s something deeper inside of us, which I call the soul that eventually rebels when we derive our sense of self from people and roles external to us.
A part of the spiritual awakening journey is realizing that while our roles are important, we are so much more than our roles.
As I look back over the first half of my life I can now see that I really thrived and lived a fulfilled life by listening to this inner guidance. I loved raising a family and journeying through life with my husband, but I also had a sense that I wasn’t identified with my roles. I needed to have more than my kids, spouse, friends, and my roles. I felt called to be of service. I fulfilled that calling as a Nurse for many years.
During my younger years, I was inspired to find the right balance between fulfilling my roles and creating space for my soul. The soul longs to express itself in a way that creates space for us to grow, expand and bring our unique gifts to the world.
Many awakening souls are confused by this inner tug of war between their roles and their souls. It was this tug of war and disconnect from my soul that triggered my journey through the dark night of the soul.
I had drifted too far away from the path my soul had intended for me and the dark night of the soul became my wake-up call. The greater the alignment between the inner needs of our soul and the outer expression in terms of our roles, the more we’ll feel right in our own skin and like we’re in the flow of life.
The first step in creating a life that feels vital, meaningful, and connected is realizing that we actually have a dual nature. We are more than our human roles and we need to create a life that honours our soul.
We’re not meant to derive our sense of identity or self from the people, institutions, or things in our lives. That includes our children, partners, religious communities, or material items.
When the soul begins to awaken we have an inner urge to be of service to something greater than ourselves. An inner knowing that while being a mom or successful business person is important, there’s something more needing to be expressed through us.
Creating meaning around this inner urge for more is a worthy intention because if we don’t, we find ourselves, just as this young woman shared, craving freedom and feeling empty inside.
This inner urge of the soul for something more is often misplaced as Viktor E. Frankl said,
When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.
James Hollis, PhD. a Jungian analyst put it this way in the book Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey, ” We are a meaning-seeking, meaning-creating animal, an animal that profoundly suffers the disconnect from meaning (p. 111).
These young moms are looking for a deeper sense of meaning in their lives. Their souls are urging them to explore what feels purposeful beyond their roles of being moms.
This is a powerful sign of spiritual awakening and an invitation to go on a new journey. The journey inward to understand themselves and create meaning around this inner emptiness and longing.
It’s a journey that often feels lonely because we find ourselves amongst family and friends that don’t seem to understand. I hear from awakening souls on a daily basis who are lonely and confused. I know I felt like that myself for a number of years.
The challenge for all of us on this awakening journey is to shift the source of our personal power from outside of us and other people to inside us and a deeper spiritual connection to something bigger. We are meant to be vessels for spiritual energy and bring this energy to our roles and ways of being in the world.
So for those of you who are wondering, Who am I beyond all the roles that define me? you’re asking a vital question that’s arising from your soul. When you get little whispers about things you’re curious about or want to explore, beyond your roles, get curious and take action.
You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to listen and respond with as much or as little courage as you can muster.
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