At the end of our first class of Sovereignty Kindergarten, I gave the wonderful people in our group a homework assignment: To make a physical space that celebrates and honors them. Something that reminds them, in a concrete way, of everything that makes them who they are–unique, unlike any other person in the world.

This Sovereign Self Space celebrates their gifts and talents, their quirks and foibles, their accomplishments, heart and love.

Then, they are to spend some time with this space each day, developing and growing it, if they wish, or just hanging out in it and taking in the fullness of who they are.

Lindsay sent me photos of a giant collage she’d made for her Sovereign Self Space. Her accompanying email was so insightful and filled with realizations about her patterns, that I asked her if she would be willing to share it with you. She very graciously agreed. So here is her lovely email, along with my response to her.

You may relate to many of the things she talks about here.

I did my homework! But I’m shy about showing it to everyone so I’m just sending it to you.

It was interesting because in the beginning there was a lot of resistance but then I just hit this flow. And I liked it. I liked the feeling about not thinking about how it had to be and just making/creating/writing without a voice editing it.

And it ended up being a circle. Which was not the plan.

It started very literally, then became more abstract, then ended very poetically.

I made note of various monsters that came up, like my “there’s no time monster” and my “seriously, you think you can solve your problems by sitting around doing arts and crafts” monster, and my “you aren’t doing it right! Go review EXACTLY what Hiro said so you FOLLOW THE RULES” monster, and my “what is the point” monster.

But now I like it. Although part of me wants to go back and ‘fix’ parts of it. Which I’m trying not to do.

Which makes me realize how careful I am to edit myself before I go into public (by public I mean be in front of anyone who is not a close friend – and that group is small). How cautious I am of what I say and how I say it.

So that being in public can be really stressful for me if I’m not on a stage (like at the front of the classroom), or in charge (as in the head of the group), because then I’m not in a position to craft the image of myself as I want people to see me. And I don’t think that constant desire to present only a portion of myself is very sovereign . . .

Of course, I’m willing to have you look at it because I know you’re here to help. I thought maybe in looking it over you might be able to observe some things about me that I can’t see through the haze of all my need to construct a narrative about who I am, even to myself.

Lindsay, this is wonderful–an intriguing mix of inner and outer qualities and accomplishments, and the underlying patterns that they reveal.

Thank you for taking the risk to explore all of the feelings that this exercise stirred up in you. It’s great that you met those parts of yourself that want to be right, follow the rules, feel not-good-enough and need to have their story straight before showing it to the world.

We all have these selves within our ego-structure. And, since everything including the ego is made of the same soul-essence, each of these parts of your self holds, in its heart, a spiritual truth.

The need to please or to be seen in a certain light is, in its essence, the need to belong, to be loved, to take your place in the circle of life, and to contribute to your world.

The expression of these needs becomes distorted through fear and misunderstanding about your own nature and your place in the world, but the needs themselves are universal, and fundamentally human.

We’re not here to do away with the urge to present a certain image of ourselves or construct a narrative about ourselves for the world. Rather, we are here to meet that urge with love and curiosity, and to discover the jewel hidden within it.

That willingness to explore, to be curious and open to whatever you find in yourself, brings you into your sovereignty.

The voices within you that say: Who do you think you are? What makes you think any of this is interesting? You didn’t do it right! and so on, are fragments of your wholeness. So they have the memory of wholeness within them.

As their sovereign leader, you can help them feel safe and heard–first, by inviting them to tell you their stories and listening for the underlying fears in which those narratives are embedded; and then by holding up a mirror so they can see their own essence.

When you help these fragments of your selves reconnect with their wholeness, they lend the power of their gifts to the shaping of your life.

This is one of the main tasks of sovereignty–bringing the inner selves that live in your kingdom into harmonious relationship with each other, and making your kingdom a place where all of your selves are liberated to grow into their full potentials.

These feelings are so universal, yet we’re shy about talking about them, because that exposes the most vulnerable parts of our selves. We feel ashamed, tender, afraid of judgment or criticism, so we all walk around hiding our feelings under masks that stifle our power and creativity.

You’re brave for having done the homework with such clarity and determination to seek out the truth about your self and your patterns.

Your willingness to share this publicly is both an act of courage and of great generosity. We learn from each other. And in sharing our most vulnerable selves, we make the world safer and kinder for everyone. Thank you so much!

I’d love to hear what comes up for you when you share your self more fully and honestly with your world.

Each time we risk being ourselves, we open up a channel for greater intimacy, closeness and connection. Our world needs you–your particular, unique, quirky, wonderful self.