There are two sides to all of us. There is the public-facing side, the person we are at work, at social functions or out and about in our community. And then there’s the side behind the mask, our private side, the place where we keep our innermost beliefs, our hopes and dreams, our fears and struggles, our relationship with God.
It’s this private or inner side that is most fascinating. It reveals who we really are, what makes us tick. While we may share this side with close friends and loved ones, it’s often in small or selective doses. We tell parts of our story when the time is appropriate, but our whole story remains locked away. And it’s a story that needs to be told, if only to share it with our significant other, children and/or grandchildren.
First-time author Kamaria Powell is telling her story in a book she just published called What the F#@k is Enlightenment? As the title indicates, it’s an uncensored look at herself and her life, and more importantly the core beliefs that propel her forward.
Powell has not led an easy life. She is the oldest of four children, born to a schizophrenic mother and a father who was incarcerated more than not. While a church-goer from a young age, she was raised on the margins of society, barely skirting homelessness for years, becoming the de facto mother to her three bothers. But those difficulties have not defined her. In fact, as this passage shows, they became a source of strength:
There came a point in my life when I stopped praying that the pain would go away and instead asked God to help me learn how to operate gracefully in the midst of the storm.
While Powell’s book touches on her upbringing and struggles, its primarily a story about her belief system. She talks of the lessons she has learned in love and in life. She also discusses her spirituality at length and how she uses prayer and meditation as spiritual tools. Here are some of the insights she shares:
- If you are going to put any level of importance on your physical identity, you must also consider your spiritual identity.
- Being spiritual does not require a specific text, temple or religious affiliation, but it does require a certain level of awareness or consciousness and a desire to view life through a spiritual lens.
- You are your greatest point of access to the Divine; everyone else is simply a guide.
- The love that the Divine has for you is profound, extreme, and immeasurable. There is nothing, not one single thing you can ever do that will stop the Divine from loving you. You are loved simply because you are.
- Remember that if God is in the light, he must also be present in the darkness, for there is nowhere that God does not exist.
I don’t think Kamaria’s book will be a bestseller and I don’t think that’s the point. She has put down in print, for her son and her family, for those here and to come, her spiritual story. She has left a record of who she was and what matters to her in life. If her story can help anyone else, well, that’s just icing on the cake. In her words:
No matter how fucked up or painfully beautiful your life might be, it is your story, your walk, and no one can tell you how to live it.
What’s your story? Who do you want to share it with? What’s stopping you? Pick up a pen and start writing. Turn on the computer and get typing. Verbally tell someone your story, record it if you like. Chances are you have a story in you too, one that’s worth telling, one that needs to be told. In Kamaria Powell’s words:
Take off your mask. Our fears, our pain, and our struggles are the very things that unite us. My story might not be the same as yours, but feelings of anger, loneliness, and despair are universal. The masks we wear hide us from one another and prevent real connection from happening.