Stephanie Red Feather
Shadow Speak
Are You Still Trying To Get
Back Into The Garden?

Being Cast OutDo you ever feel like there is an unnamed force compelling you to constantly prove your worth, earn your keep and show that you deserve all the good you receive?

Personally, this is a core wound of mine that I have been consciously walking with for over 16 years. And the stink of it is, the clock starts over every day for me. In this warped, dysfunctional view of the world that has run my life for so many years (very sneakily and subtly I might add), it doesn't matter how productive I was the day before, or how many good girl points I racked up or how much I accomplished, the score is reset to zero every day.

Currently, I am at that place in the spiral where I have come around to work with this aspect of my psyche once again. I recognize it as a huge death cycle -- a point where I am identifying the breadth and depth to which this plague has spread and am ready to release the strangle-hold it has had on me since childhood.

In a recent reading I received, I was reminded of a concept that I've known for a long time, but just hadn't thought about in awhile. It felt important to share it with you.

In Western society, we -- as a collective -- chose to be born into a culture that is founded in Christianity and the notion of original sin. Whether or not the bible or Christianity were an active part of your upbringing, there is a huge shadow piece that we carry in the Western world: that we were all kicked out of the garden and must spend the rest of our lives proving our worth and earning our way back in.

No wonder so many of us have chronic guilt, feelings of unworthiness and engage in self-sabotage when too much good comes our way!!!

Am I Good Enough?

Now I don't mean to step on anyone's toes here, but the idea that we were somehow fundamentally flawed, deemed unworthy of all of God's kingdom, blamed for our flaws and then sentenced to a lifetime of groveling, points back to the most egotistical, arrogant and self-serving God I've ever heard of!

As comedian Bill Burr says: "You set me up to fail and now you got the balls to question your own g$%d*@# work?!"

It took me a lot of years to have the courage to release the concept of a God who would create me in his likeness, determine I was unworthy and then make me suffer for it. But damn it is amazing how the effects of the story of original sin still linger years after I completely shifted my understanding of God and my relationship to him/her!

Does any of this resonate with you?

We haven't done anything wrong! Say it with me..."I haven't done anything wrong!"

"Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it."
- Reinhold Niebuhr

What's more, there are many cultures (often the ancient indigenous ones whose wisdom texts we so often quote) who have a completely different understanding of and relationship with their Creator. They look at us with disbelieving incredulity, like "what are you people smoking?" The idea of being undeserving isn't even in their lexicon. They grow up knowing they originated from Creator and are a part of creation and, furthermore, are loved, honored and cherished by their Creator. They understand that abundance, joy, pleasure, love and fulfillment are their birthright.

We've got it all backwards.

Yet at the same time, we all deserve to take a moment to acknowledge ourselves for what we took on at a soul level.

Summarizing what my friend Toby Evans told me during our reading, "We in Western culture are part of a global transmutation. We collectively said, 'Yes, we will take on the guilt, shame and undeservedness to transmute it for the planet. Yes, I will take that on.'"

So recognize that you chose to be born into this society, to experience the loss of connection -- the "fall from grace" -- and buy into the myth of original sin so you could help shift the consciousness and transmute it for the planet and all of its peoples!!!

Yet the question still remains, how do we free ourselves from the shackles of this oppressive, deep-seated belief? How DO we shift this?

1. As with any shift in consciousness, change always begins with you. And it begins with acknowledgement. Look inside yourself and recognize your participation in this belief system (that we are still trying to get back into the garden.) In what ways do you feel beholden to a nameless authority who demands you constantly prove your worth and value? Tell yourself the truth about what you say to yourself, how it affects your motivation and dreams, how it alters your behavior, how it shapes your expectations.

Purpose Not ShameYou might have to scrape through multiple layers to get to exactly how this plays out in your life. For example, maybe you don't feel the pressure to prove your worth or earn your keep every day. But how do you do "receiving?" Do you say thank you graciously but then quietly feel guilt or shame? Do you withdraw from the people who support you the most? Do you unconsciously sabotage yourself when too many things go your way and then feel a twisted sense of relief when the other shoe finally drops and something bad happens? Withdrawal, shame, guilt and self-sabotage all point to hidden feelings of unworthiness.

2. Shedding the effects of this untruth is also going to require some courage on your part. The courage to stand up to this voice of oppression. This means standing up to the voice whether it is internal (what you say to yourself) or external (the expectations of others). The latter can be difficult because people tend to get very comfortable with how we are. When we go changing ourselves, it's human nature for those around us to want us to "get back into our box." Don't.

3. It will require a measure of rebellion, too. Activate the piece of you that has always known the truth and has wanted desperately to rise up and say, "No more!" Introduce your inner rebel to your inner courage and let them work together.

4. Every time your inner voice says "you haven't done enough today," consider replacing that with "you haven't had enough fun today." I know for me that my inner slave driver says "work first, play later." Except the work is never done so I never get to play. It has been a huge challenge for me to make time to play and do things for fun and enjoyment on a regular basis. It's like the old joke about hell, "OK break's over...back on your heads." My old programming says I can only have so much fun or frivolity and when my tiny little fun meter gets pegged, then it's back on my head.

5. Put one foot in front of the other. I'd love to give you the magic switch to instantly flip, but changing beliefs and behaviors ALWAYS takes time. It is a process. Give yourself permission to begin.

6. Give yourself permission to regress (it's going to happen anyway.) Give yourself permission to get angry -- at all the people who told you this falsehood and at yourself for believing it. Anger is part of the healing process. Let it out or it will go underground. Yes, you chose to incarnate into Western culture, but it doesn't mean you have to continue flogging yourself for it. Recognize the bigger picture. You are here to help transmute -- and eradicate! -- this belief from the planet.

7. Do your own work -- don't take my word for it. Bounce everything I've said off of your own internal truth meter and decide for yourself what is true and what is false. What resonates for you and what doesn't? But do your work. You owe it to yourself to get clear about whether or not you believe in the story of original sin.

Suggested activities:

1. All the steps above.

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