No matter how many seasons of disorientation and transition I go through, there seems to consistently be one question at the center of the experience, “Whose life are you living?” The first time this question rose to the surface of my consciousness was at least 17 years ago. I remember being rudely awakened in the middle of the night with a strong sense of anxiety as this plaguing question came to mind. At the time, I was married, living in the District of Columbia, and working in corporate America. From the outside, it appeared as if I was living a pretty normal life, and all that I needed to make it sheer perfection was to have 2.3 kids. That was the societal expectation that I had fallen prey to as the “default” path without ever deeply knowing whether that was the right path for me nor whether it was the right time, even if it was the right path.
That disorienting question which challenged the authenticity of my very existence became a quest for me to recover my true self, discover my most compatible path, and find the freedom to BE me. It has been a journey of ups and downs, trials and errors, failures and successes, u-turns and dead ends. In the midst of it all, I have learned that sometimes it is not about the destination, the outcome, or the results, but it is ALWAYS about the journey—the inward journey to more fully being who we be. Who we be is divine essence wrapped in human clothing created to fully express our essence in this life.
This quest that began with a question in the middle of the night has taught me several things about embodying the life I was meant to live. The first thing is that you literally have to “wake up” to the fact that you may be living in “default” mode. In other words, you may need to become more conscious and intentional about making choices and decisions about your life from what you know intuitively and spiritually, and not from what is considered “normal” according to society’s standards. Secondly, you may have to wrestle with the question of who you are as divine essence in order to rediscover how to fully express who you be in this life. You may have to move beyond religion and rules to get in touch with your soul, the intuitive nature that we are usually socialized to silence at an early age. In doing this important soul work, you can more readily access the divine intelligence that resides not only in your mind, but also in your heart and your body. Thirdly, listen for the still small voice of God telling you who you be and what it means to be you. This requires a willingness to eliminate distraction, and to be intentional about making time and space to hear God. Finally, be intentional about unlearning the “default” responses, about staying connected to your authentic self, and about “going” where the Spirit leads. In essence, peel back the layers that no longer serve you to recover who you be and to free yourself up to embody the life you were meant to live.
Embodying the life you were meant to live is a lifelong process of learning and unlearning, growing and pruning, surrendering and simplifying. It is our life’s co-creative work with God that first requires us to be who we be so that we may serve where we are called–out of a sense of devotion and authenticity instead of a sense of duty and pretension.
Tara LaShawn Seabrook is a self-proclaimed “free spirit,” a public, practical, and prophetic theologian; a spiritual and social justice activist; a creative and cultural artist; and a prolific teacher, speaker, and writer. Currently, she resides in Guatemala where she is finishing up a 2-year volunteer in mission commitment with a non-governmental organization before returning to her native Charleston, SC in the spring of 2017. Her book based on her original poem, “I Am She: The Anthology” will be released later this year.