Spiritually Speaking

| Nov 20, 2017

We experience life in our own unique way as an expression of our values, beliefs and aspirations. I participate in a religious faith, and I attend an inclusive church, but I’m not a religious person. When I found something deeper than religion during a crisis many years ago, I found myself. I found that a life is lived to the fullest when our inner being and outer expression of ourselves are in harmony. Depth psychologist Carl Jung made this the foundation of his exploration of the mind and mental health.

My inner spiritual life and who I am at the core sustains me as an out transgender woman. When I began to explore, dive inward and grow in consciousness, over time my authentic-self emerged. Not the self that everyone said I should be, but the self I really am. This outer shell my soul temporarily inhabits and the outer life it once lived are no longer real to me. Awakening to a new inner life introduced me to universal truth. Universal truth is the foundation upon which I outwardly live more confidently and unapologetically.

My spiritual and transgender journey began in earnest after surrendering my ego and letting go of the old outer life. The intentional act of surrendering and letting go are crucial to personal growth and identifying with true self. The idea of ego-death, or surrendering the self, is found in many cultures and spiritual traditions. Anthropologist Joseph Campbell called it the hero’s journey. Jung’s work helped me see the connection between psychology and spirituality. Within each of us is the power to create. We can make a heaven, or we can make a hell.

I came to realize that the hell I was living in was created by an ego shaped by lies I too willingly embraced. These lies were rooted in the society and culture in which I was living. The world was an ugly place in my mind. Religion said I was an abomination. Society said I had failed as a man and was weak. Culture mocked me as a freak. I was held prisoner by an ego that was ruled by the cruelty of others. For a transgender person this could not be truer.

Have you experienced a sense of imprisonment, fear or hopelessness? If so, tell your old ego to get lost! It’s carrying around a lot of negative baggage. Don’t be your own prisoner. You’ll find the things you were fearful of losing don’t really matter and the things that stay with you are more precious than ever. I constantly lived with fear of the unknown and the prospect of staying miserable the remainder of my life. When I hit bottom, I turned fear and self-pity into anger. I turned anger into resolve. I turned resolve into a no-compromise new beginning. Living between the margins is not living.

I wouldn’t be writing this column if I hadn’t looked behind the curtain and gotten angry at the imposter turning the dials and pulling the levers. The Wizard has been outed. The wicked old witch is dead. The ruby slippers fit the girl. I don’t know what part of my psyche produced this Oz reference here in this context, but the point is to live bravely and authentically. Wear your ruby slippers. Click your heels together. Make the world a beautiful place with your full, authentic presence in it. This is your gift. Please share it.

Moved to comment? Login in here and use the comment area below.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Body & Soul

About Beverly: The majority of Tommie Smith's career has been with Fortune 100 companies, working with the news media, the public and all levels of government. Tommie began as a newspaper reporter after graduating from Clemson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Journalism minor. Tommie is currently marketing manager for a local media outlet and resides in the Charlotte, N.C. area.

Comments are closed.