Six Powerful Steps to Reclaiming Your True Self.
Virgin is a misunderstood word. It used to mean to know in your heart that you are of value for being yourself, as in a virgin forest. The ancients believed we all have a star inside us that deserves to shine. The greatest thing you could do is to know yourself and be yourself.
Fast forward to now—patriarchy has twisted the word virgin to mean sexually inexperienced and of value as a commodity. How sad. Let’s agree from this moment on to adopt the original definition. With this definition we can all be virgins, again and again, with each awakened connection to our authentic selves.
Yet feeling this connection isn’t always easy. I have moments but too often I don’t want to upset people so I make myself small, I conform to have a place of belonging. I feel I should be more practical, follow the rules, please people or help them because I hope it will earn me a turn later. It’s like that line in the movie The Holiday where Kate Winslet is asked why she is playing a background role in the story of her life.
Instead of hiding our true selves from the world, let’s all start today and let our virgin light shine a bit. Here are some rules of the road for going on this journey to awaken the seed of potential in you and to see what it could flower into.
1. Connect to what you love. The virgin’s journey is a pull towards what you love. So begin by giving attention, and time, to the things that genuinely please you. What music do you really enjoy? What is your unique fashion sense? What is your taste in architecture? What is your favorite meal? Connect and reconnect with what appeals to you. Practice self-care. Sometimes I go to the art gallery and instead of musing over what the artist was trying to portray, I just notice how I feel. Once I noticed I really like orange, any variety, and green, but only the new-growth shades. The point is, each of these moments exercises your ability to know your authentic self. Start small and then get into the bigger stuff.
2. Create a secret world. Being authentic involves being vulnerable. Many people in your regular world won’t be comfortable with change, especially when it is awkward and partly formed. While you are fragile, give yourself a protected space within your regular world where you can be yourself. Neuroscience has shown us that we cannot be creative when we are experiencing fear and discovering your calling is deeply creative. You need to feel safe and appreciated in order to shut down your self-limitation.
Invite true friends to be a part of it or keep it for yourself. The key is to use this space to be playful and curious. You will have to move back and forth between your secret world and regular world. This contrast helps you to grow, as you juxtaposition you new self-awareness with the values of your regular world. As you travel the distance between who you were and who you want to be you are also making a bridge. This protects you from becoming too weird or isolated in your secret world.
3. Follow your bliss. Your guide is internal—as long as it feels right you keep moving forward. As soon as something doesn’t sit right with you, you go back to where it was good and find another branch to explore. This is very different from setting a goal and driving towards it. You can give up on an avenue whenever you want on a virgin’s journey, and find a new curiosity. It is all part of the process of nurturing the seed. On the virgin’s journey you have no idea where you will end up but you know it will be in close connection to who you authentically are and it will be joyful.
4. Give yourself gifts. Don’t be that kid with her nose pressed against the toy store window, never able to play. Dreams need gifts of inspiration. Dancers needs shoes and a costume, painters need paint and a canvas. Gift yourself these things because you are worth it—because you deserve to be in the game. I’m not saying brand new and the best money can buy is the only way to go. Buy the best you can afford even if it is from a thrift store. Dress the part you have an inkling you are meant to play. Giving yourself gifts that allow you to connect to your interests is not the same as accumulating material excess. And forget about delayed gratification. Rewards are for heroes. Virgins need gifts to begin their journey.
5. Take baby steps. The journey of the virgin is driven by love. It’s not meant to be an adrenalin ride with life threatening consequences. Take baby steps into novelty that are exciting and fun but short of terrifying. Mis-steps are curiosities if the consequences are small. In your secret world you are safe and protected so see what it feels like to step out of your ordinary—one baby step at a time.
6. Face unintended outcomes with curiosity and humor. Some might call unintended outcomes mistakes. I prefer to think of them as surprises. If everything proceeds as expected, then you are not being creative. Be curious and playful when things flip or flop. Remember that the negative space defines the positive space in art. Or, there may be an unusual combination of things that inspires you to try something else. It all brings you closer to discovering your unique way of shining some light in the world.
Raise your hand if you feel you have a strong connection to your authentic self.
Congratulations, you’re a virgin!
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Editor: Lori Lothian