I said I was a broken soul; nothing could repair me.
Nothing ever seemed to have much meaning anyway.
This world is nothing but a parade of images, and humanity’s keeping score —
Yeah well, I failed to fit into those frames long ago.
I’ve got a broken mind; I’m stuck in a rut and I’m probably blind.
I’ve worn this mask so long I don’t know want to know what lies behind.
I can’t even seem to let go; I’m holding on tight
But hey my time’s up — I don’t have strength to fight that fight.
Life’s broken my heart and no one lives up to their word
Sellouts, liars and fakes are at my every turn
People don’t really give a shit about you; they just pretend
So I’ll be fine by myself, I don’t need to let anyone in.
The other night something came to me, randomly in my sleep.
Maybe a dream, yet it was much more real than anything I had ever seen.
I saw my mind right in front of me; I saw all of my pain —
It was like a gigantic, visual, cause and effect chain.
I looked at my mind in 3d space as I was existing outside of it.
Immediately I exclaimed, “how is this possible?” — and then I heard a voice say:
”Don’t you see? None of this darkness nor this mind has ever been who you are.
You are a being of duality and your soul is still pure…”
It continued: “Earth is but a play; And your mind’s ideas and concepts set the stage.
You created your own prison because your pain perpetuated more pain.
It’s no mystery darkness overcame you because of your mind running this game.
You were never separate from the light, you were simply living in a cave.”
I then woke up from this “dream” in a daze and had a strong urge to cry.
I felt I had finally found what I was looking for my entire life.
I knew the voice talking to me was simply part of my self
But in this Earth school, like most, I had been partially blind.
Even so, my mind and its patterns did not immediately change
But how I subconsciously defined my “self” infinitely expanded and rearranged.
Clarity began to seep through my once shaky foundation;
I then knew what to do to let go of these self-imposed lines.
I realized we sometimes may need help from the outside
To shatter the boundaries of what we thought we knew.
Carrying through the midst of an often dark world
We might then eventually find the truth: the battle has always and will always be within.
I’ve always been, since I was a child, someone who is very tapped into my soul.
”Soul” is one of those slippery terms that varies too much based on the person, so I’ll define it as I understand it. I can’t claim to know what the soul is made of, its exact properties, nor exactly how it operates.
But I have always had a strong awareness (and sense) of a part of me that I would call simply an awareness in itself. It does have its own attributes — it is ME, in the deepest sense. But it is something that remains constant while the rest of my human character does not.
As humans, we define ourselves by humanly things: genetics, various factors in the environment, values, likes, dislikes, and so on. The soul is outside of this. It is a constant presence — an essence — and many describe the soul as having more of an “observer” role throughout our Earthly journeys.
Being aware of my soul to the degree I am today often makes me feel like I am simultaneously in two worlds.
All of this generally sounds like a positive thing, and it is. But now that I have been through multiple types of consciousness-breakthroughs as well as various types of spiritual experiences that came to me rather spontaneously, I’ve become increasingly able to differentiate between the “soul” part of me and the “human character” part of me.
The Challenges of Increasing Awareness
As I become more aware of my soul as I am experiencing being human, I’ve realized that there are inherent difficulties that can come with this.
Part of the difficulty for me has been the fact that learning to follow your soul has been very much like walking blindfolded in a pitch dark place, having to learn to use another set of senses to guide your way.
You have to develop this set of senses, and keep developing them, if you want to fulfill your soul’s desires and understand yourself to the very core. This requires discernment: you have to know when to shut out outer influences and trust your inner voice.
There is a time to acquire knowledge from outside yourself, and a time to shut it out and pay more attention inwardly.
I’ve noticed that the majority of people I meet don’t really know how to trust themselves, let alone listen to themselves, and it’s not really their fault. We are part of a time when we look to external authorities, common knowledge or perhaps the “latest” knowledge in order to decide what anything means. We are taught this from a young age — we get our knowledge from going to school and having someone tell us what things mean.
It’s not a surprise to most at this point in time that as a whole on Earth, we are spiritually lacking, because we are mostly cut off from our selves.
The idea that there is wisdom to be gained from our own selves — from a part of our selves — sounds ridiculous to many. So they don’t even attempt to believe in themselves or begin to listen. They see themselves as just another human going to school to “get smarter.”
From the time I was 17 years old, I began to have significant things happen to me psychologically (including my first “consciousness-expanding” experience at 18). If I, for example, had had a parent who was not very open-minded and I had told them what happened to me, I could’ve been committed to an asylum.
Instead, I learned to follow what my intuition was telling me. Because it was sending messages to me loud and clear, and honestly, those messages were hard to ignore even if I had wanted to.
The other difficult thing that happens when you begin to align more with the “soul” part of you, is that you begin to have things happen to you that make it more difficult to relate to others at times.
You may begin to feel, see, and desire different things that sets you apart from the rest. You may become more detached and potentially not enjoy the things you used to enjoy in the same way anymore.
Values or other perceptions you felt once were a part of who you thought you were may begin to fall away as your human character expands beyond what you thought it could ever be.
Seeing the Duality More Clearly: My “Higher Self” Is a Parent to Me
I like to say this journey of awareness really accelerated starting at age 17, and I am now 35. It has taken me this long to be aware of this “soul” part of me to the degree I am now, after developing my mental tools.
In one key experience I had which was some type of random out of body experience, I sensed my “higher self” presence there directly. It felt as though it was the parent and I was the child, yet both were me! It’s hard to make logical sense of with the way we understand things, as it did feel like a separate presence from me in some way, but it was pretty clear that it wasn’t somebody else.
After that for about two weeks, I felt this incredibly secure, beautiful, unimaginable sense of love. It felt like something was taking care of me, showing it loved me and wrapping me in the most unbelievable security blanket. It wasn’t a presence I sensed at that time, but rather just the love itself.
I still don’t fully know where that sense of love came from, but I believe it may have been a result of experiencing that higher consciousness state in the way I did.
The Expansion of Your Understanding of Your Identity
As you continue to wake up to your soul’s presence and understand that you are not just merely the human character you’ve been playing for so long, there is usually a bit of an initial shock or time period of integrating this knowledge. Because quite honestly, it changes your life completely. But it only comes to you when you are ready.
When this integration happens, over time you slowly start to uncover things that feel like you simply had long forgotten them. But at the same time, you can’t put these memories on any kind of timeline. They feel like they are coming more from another dimension (for lack of a potentially better term) than they are another “time.”
For one thing, I began to constantly get what feels like pieces of memories coming from this “soul” part of me. I was able to feel that it not coming from the same part of me that my typical human memories come from. But these memories are so vague that I can’t hold on to them for more than a second. However they often offer me some recognition of something. They often feel like a very sudden remembrance and confirmation of something I experienced but once again, on a timeline I cannot pinpoint.
No matter where you’re at in your life in terms of understanding who you are and how things work, I think the most important thing to take away from all this is simply to believe in yourself and trust in yourself. Learn to go within.
Sometimes this starts by simply questioning who you think you are and why. Where do some of your opinions and perceptions come from? What types of emotional attachments might you have that drive your desire to interpret something one way or another?
Try to look at yourself objectively and with an open mind, and watch how your thoughts tend to process things. Are you mostly negative or positive? Where is the negativity coming from, and does it have any basis?
The journey within typically starts with questions and really learning to acknowledge why you are feeling what you are feeling, without judging yourself.
It’s all easier said than done, but it is one of the most worthwhile journeys there is — and it becomes an endless river of learning as well as many rewards along the way. Over time, you’ll begin to have more confidence, depth, and clarity than you could’ve imagined having.
I’m one of those people that have always been considered a creative type — because I have always been interested in art/graphic design, writing, music, and many other creative ventures over my lifetime. But even for me, creative thinking itself doesn’t always come naturally or automatically.
In 2011 I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and landed a job as a Web Designer/UI Analyst. Although I had no question that I was a creative person (with an overactive imagination), on the job they would often have brainstorming sessions and expect me to be throwing out ideas right and left for any given project they’d be working on.
This particular way of being creative didn’t necessarily suit me at the time. I wasn’t comfortable being put on the spot and expecting great ideas to just shoot out of me rapid-fire style. I’m a more methodical, strategic type that prefers time by myself to think over the best approach.
Additionally, it was very clear that they were expecting something very specific out of me and out of any given project we were working on, and I was expected to match that. This ended up causing a mental block for me — I felt like I didn’t have any room to really be fully creative and was rather overly focused on meeting their expectations.
That being said, I started to lose my confidence in my abilities to some degree. I felt like I wasn’t living up to what they expected, and I felt like there was something wrong with the way I did things, because they didn’t seem to understand it either.
I kept thinking, “maybe I’m only sort-of creative in certain ways, but have an issue when it comes to being pressured to having something to show for it.”
Over time I also learned that that particular job just wasn’t a great fit for me for a number of reasons (not in the work I was doing, but more in the environment), and feeling like an outsider there to some degree also didn’t really help me to be creative.
Understanding the Nature of My Creativity
Some time later, I found an online class that was entirely centered around developing creative thinking. I learned that even those who weren’t born to be a “creative type” could learn creative thinking strategies that would help them come up with creative ideas; and the more you practiced it the more efficient you would become at doing this.
I took it because I felt vulnerable due to my experience at the job, and felt like this would help me regain some of my confidence. Maybe it would even help me adapt to situations where I was expected to come up with ideas on the fly.
The class really helped, and showed me that developing your creative mind really is like a muscle. It also helped me realize that I wasn’t lacking, but that I worked best in a specific way and there was nothing wrong with that.
So in addition to understanding how creative thinking could be developed, I gained more self-awareness about how my own brain worked and what stimulates my creativity rather than hinders it.
Some Strategies for Creative Thinking
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, as the saying goes. Get out of your comfort zone. Doing this is extraordinarily valuable in how it can open your mind and teach you things.
Learn to embrace your own “weirdness” and what makes you unique. Don’t suppress or deny any parts of you just because you think they might be looked at in a negative way. This will help you embrace all of your traits and expand your limits.
To think of something unique, practice thinking of two or more unrelated things and putting them together to make something entirely new (for example, an “air conditioning monster”).
Take a project that’s already been done or somebody you’re inspired by and put your own spin on it.
And most importantly, read this super awesome article from one of my favorite entrepreneurs James Altucher. He talks about making a habit of coming up with 10 ideas a day and how this consistent habit can seriously change your life over time.
He also mentions the following:
Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle. Perfectionism is your brain trying to protect you from harm. From coming up with an idea that is embarrassing and stupid and could cause you to suffer pain.
We like the brain. But you have to shut the brain off to come up with ideas.
This explanation is exactly what happened to me on the job. Not fitting into their method of coming up with ideas and the loss of confidence in myself as a result further debilitated me from being able to function in a creative way.
Perhaps if I had focused on not caring what ideas came out of my head (whether good or bad) or if they matched what I thought their expectations were, I would have actually come up with some pretty awesome stuff.
Hopefully if you’re having (or have had) an experience similar to mine, this will inspire you to regain confidence in yourself even if you’re experiencing a creative muscle block, and not to fear if it happens!
It doesn’t mean you’re not actually creative, you just have to learn and work with how your brain works best.
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I'm Liz, a NASM certified personal trainer, nutrition student, artist and graphic/web designer. My passion is helping people eat better, live better and enhance their self-awareness.