What is Radical Self-Expression
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Radical Self-Expression in four words: The Now What Process.
More specifically, the soulwork and strategies involved in the process of moving away from fear and over-thinking into the authentic and deliberate re-structuring of something important in your life.
The Now What Process is what happens after your Aha! Moment.
It’s changing your entire environment,
by starting with the single step of asking yourself, Now What?
And taking action to find the best answers to that question.
I’ve experienced this breakup…
I’ve left this job…
I’ve had this vision…
I’ve started facing my emotional baggage
I’ve lost this or gained that…
I’ve re-commited to my health…
What do I do with what I want now?
And how do I create structure
around what I know I want most?
The soulwork and strategies involved in that process
represent the journey of Radical Self-Expression.
What Does It Look Like in Real Life?
PHASE I: Excavation
Radical Self-Expression work is environmental work.
All of us, as sentient beings,
understand ourselves within the context
of the environments we live in.
Who we talk to each day,
What we do with our waking hours
What thoughts and ideas are introduced into our brains most often…
All of those things are what influence our choices,
our actions, our view of ourselves and the world.
Radical Self-Expression work is environmental work because environment dictates outcome.
I can’t take an ackee seed with me from Trelawny, Jamaica
and try to plant them in my mother’s yard in Atlanta, Georgia.
The soil is different: the temperatures are different; the energy is different.
Seeds from The ackee tree that thrives in Trelawny, Jamaica will die in the Atlanta, GA environment. Likewise, a flourishing apple tree in Portland, Oregon will die in Kingston, Jamaica. The Kingston environment for that apple tree, would bring a slow and certain death.
The environment—your environment—is either facilitating your growth
or contributing to your stagnation, and eventually, your death.
The death of your dreams, the death of your drive, the death of your determination.
Certainly, We will all die, but not all of us will grow.
That is optional; that is conditional; that is environmental.
When we practice Radical Self-Expression, we are deliberately and meticulously examining our environment—external and internal—to see where there is lack of growth.
We dig, we question, we set a myopic goal of clarity, just clarity, and that is the first phase: Excavation.
PHASE II: Welling
1. To rise to the surface, ready to flow
2. To rise or surge from an inner source
Once we dig, question, and begin to recognize our own patterns and start to name and define our needs, we use what we learn in the Excavation Phase to create understand and drink from our own wells. This is where we start to shed the skin of everything that has been piled upon us as children and young adults.
This is where we really begin to see the clear differences between
who we’ve been and who we are becoming.
We discover our own wells, and we drink from them.
For some people that looks like a rejection of their religious our spiritual upbringing
For others, that looks like a reconnection to their religious our spiritual upbringing
For some people it looks like leaving their good jobs with benefits to start their own business
For others it looks like going back into the workforce with a new perspective and a real sense of confidence.
For some people it looks like a major life shift,
… getting divorced, moving to a new city, having a baby, or letting go of a toxic friendship
For others it’s a subtle shift like deciding not to shave your legs anymore, or wearing your hair in its natural state, or investing in a personal trainer.
The main difference between the dig (of excavation) and the drinking (from your own well) is decisive action. Action is important because movement, or action, is measurable.
When you’re in Phase I, your internal environment is the focal point of the work.
When you’re in Phase II, you’re using what you learned in Phase I to reconnect with your You-ness
You are making clear distinctions between who you became as a result of your circumstances, and who you are now becoming as a result of your understanding of Yourself.
Now, you not only know what you feel,
you start to understand what you can do
to walk yourself toward how you WANT to feel,
and what you want to accomplish.
And you recognize that it involves taking action so that your plan, your strategy can take form.
This is the Phase III: Expression.
PHASE III: Expression
We’re often taught that in order to do well or be happy in life, we’ve got to do two things:
1. Have a plan
2. Take action
Having a plan—a strategy—is what we consider to be the smartest and safest way to approach a thing. That might work in classrooms and other controlled environments, but in real life… that sometimes complicated, rarely black and white life, our plan has to be part of a process. It can’t be this stand-alone idea based on some research and a deep desire. If that worked, anything we planned for, we would get, simply because we took action. But you and I know it takes much more than that.
So many of us spend our lives trying to fit ourselves into a plan. Whether it’s a plan we made for ourselves, a plan someone else set in motion for our lives (like a parent, a teacher, an employer), or some combination of the two, where we are on a path that we love in some ways, but we are not fully ourselves on the path. We became who we felt we needed to be at some point, but now, we’re ready to define ourselves based on what resonates with us today, what we need now, and who we are becoming.
When we put energy and life force into plans that don’t work out, it gets harder to put our whole selves into another plan. I’ve been there. And as resilient as I am, I’ve still had my bouts with despondency and depression from feeling like I failed myself, or like I just can’t quite get what I want out of my life. I get stuck in my circumstance and caught up in being busy, but not fulfilled.
But when I work this process, I work with the real me. I create a structure for myself and my life that has built-in mechanisms that will hurt like hell when I go too far from myself, and feel like bliss when I’m in alignment with the woman I am becoming.
I free myself from the danger of spending more years defining and refining the person I am in circumstance, instead of the person I am in spirit, in soul.
You get to work with yourself, your authentic self, and you get a better understanding of your Youness.
Radical Self-Expression is the Exploration and Reclamation of that You-ness.
Through the practice, you discover the art of deep self-study, including your natural patterns, core values, and the ability to express and protect what you need. The skill in radical self-expression is in learning how to cultivate your intuition, and to not only recognize it, but to allow it to serve you in all your actions.
In Radical Self-Expression work, this is what we do consistently:
- we breathe deeper
- we become more present
- we assess all of our environments
- we embrace the art of planning
- we define success on our own terms
- we name our emotions
- we partner with our intuition
- we find accountability partners
- we practice saying no and meaning it
- we learn what it means to trust ourselves
- we form and maintain healthy relationships
- we become our own best ally and strongest supporter
In essence, we take 5 deliberate, highly personalized steps:
1. We make a series of assessments
2. We process what we discover (our spiritual strengtheners)
3. We take action based on that assessment
4. We make more analytical assessments about our feelings and our outcomes
5. We use what we learn to refine our plan.
Breathe, pay attention, decide, do, define, do more, refine, do more, …
and eventually, your life becomes a series of commitments—some small, some large—that you can measure, define, and refine so that you are building your life and owning your voice, based on who you actually are and how you want to feel.
You reclaim yourself, one action at a time, and you build confidence in your ability to be there for yourself, to understand yourself, and to—as the poet Nariyyah Waheed so elegantly put it: to be yours before you are ever anyone else’s.