Success: Ditching a Political Career to Be a Visionary

by SofiaWren on July 9, 2013

“The Declaration of You, published North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s Blog Lovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more – and join us! – by clicking here.”

When I graduated from college, one would think I had everything lined up: I had the Political Science degree at high ranking Bryn Mawr College, magna cum laude; I had the recommendations from my thesis advisors that I would make a great lawyer; I even had acceptance into an Americorps program the following year.

I’d soon have the perfect application to become a diplomat, politician or lobbyist, should I desire to go through rounds of unpaid internships.

But before crossing the stage in my graduation cap, my heart had felt heavy for some time. A creeping sense of unease and powerlessness grew with each semester.The facts I learned were depressing. I volunteered for a progressive female candidate and she lost due to gerrymandering. I studied the Middle East and Africa, knowing diplomats couldn’t stop the Iraq War despite knowing better. I calculated that a select elite owned all the traditional media, including 95% of Google News articles. I went to women’s college and I felt it my duty to vote for Hilary. Sigh.

Jaded by Senior year, it was clear that changing the world is harder than it sounds. As my diploma passed into my hands, I shook firmly. As if to say, “Goodbye politics.”

I wasn’t cut out for politics anyway. I stepped off stage a healer, not a fighter, as I’ve always been. I’d wanted to heal the world or countries, but gradually I narrowed my focus to people. (What a thought!@!)

Ones I like. That way there is less arguing.

My most heated discussion arose at college when I announced my Senior thesis subject, “Is there a constitutional right to use drugs?”

“No way! It’s the job of the government to protect people from themselves,” a friend stated with the air of fact. I’d known her since my first day at college and I didn’t want to lose that.I could have gone on at length about America’s position as the world’s top jailer. Or that 30 million people have been arrested for drug related charges, most of which are nonviolent. Or that by 2003 58% of incarcerated women were arrested for drug charges.

My adrenaline pounds when I’m on the spot. So I breathed deeply and replied,  “Well, that’s one perspective, but some people argue that they should be able to skip wearing seat belts. Without a ticket.”

“Another perspective is that people have rights to free control of their bodies that no entity should be allowed to take away,” I continued. However, despite supporting a woman’s right to choose, she was unconvinced.

“Or that alcohol causes more damage to society than any other substance.” Yeah but that’s alcohol…”Or that marijuana has caused fewer deaths than advil.” …But won’t someone please look after the children?

As always, something stands in the way of change, even if it makes sense.

 

My study of the Supreme Court and rights continued throughout the year. I found myself defeated by what I found.I opened each book to find the same facts: America’s bloated incarceration rate, a disproportionate number up of minorities who often got out of jail and couldn’t vote, and nothing I could do about it.

Tobacco and alcohol caused huge social problems. As top legal sellers, they have a lot of profit to lobby against any competition.The worst is the legacy of fear of anyone talking to me about this. Despite working my ass off to keep a solid reputation for a decade, now that I had something to unique to say, often my thoughts were immediately dismissed just because I said “drug.” And they are bad.

Thanks D.A.R.E. for instilling my peers with objective facts rather than blind fear. Funny, as in fifth grade, I gave the speech at the D.A.R.E. graduation event. Note however, that my speech was about tobacco and how my grandfather died of cancer.

And just in case anyone wants to argue with me that drugs can be very dangerous, I know. Someone I loved dearly probably died from unclean needles. There would have been opportunity for them to recover if there had been a needle exchange program that didn’t put people with problems in jail.As an adult I learned it’s not as simple as “Don’t do drugs.” I knew some people had it rough, didn’t have the same opportunities than me, the same education and chances.

And many people will never have the life that I have. The life that the president has. Because they got picked up and locked away.

Finally my last constitutional study dead ended. 

I believe now as I did then that people have an inalienable right to decide what influences their minds, spirits, and bodies. 
We’ve self regulated for thousands of years before certain substances were made illegal. In America that was only within the last century.

Since then everything that has to do with our freedoms has now been narrowly interpreted and closed off by the Supreme Court. 

Translation: We have fewer freedoms than ever. 

My paper got high marks and I surprised my teachers. “No I’m not planning to become a lawyer,” I told them.And to myself, I thought, no I didn’t know what I will be instead. “I’m thinking of a degree in social work, maybe counseling?”

Having excelled academically I felt proud at graduation. And then when I went home, I cried all week.

School dumped me after a 15 year love affair. My mission for As and the praise of my teachers was over. Now what, I wondered.

 

As I waited for my new job to start, I weeded my things. Shedding the old me. I found Writing Down the Bones, a book I bought at 12, before I dove into honors classes to start impressing colleges.I found an old treasured part of myself, my writing as I buffed my old dreams away. 

That next year volunteering through Americorps, I found a job of bright moments and countless trials. Once again my plans for “success” in the nonprofit world were dashed.I realized my family of self employed musicians, artists, poets and tradesmen had ruined me for office employment.  I could barely scrape myself off the floor unless I crammed creativity into the cracks of the day.

I clung to my notebook. Scribbing every thought became my meditation and spiritual practice. I ached to write a novel and failed time and again to create a satisfying story (this was before I figured out my Intuitive Outline Process)

In my room I recorded hours of harp music and took up drawing. My spirit cried for meaning after hours of disrespect by middle schoolers.Why didn’t they want me to teach them how to read? Couldn’t they tell that reading is amazing?

Creating beauty was all that kept me going in the drudgery of my Philadelphia existence. But I was happily making canned beans in 2009 after the economy tanked, when many of my classmates warmed their parent’s house.

Then I met some new friends: other people who also lived for their little minutes of drawing or cracking a funny joke for a roomful. They took me on adventures in the city. 

And one day I found success in an unlikely place. Success being that I felt alive, I felt life was easy and I had control. 


I felt so authentic just by being who I was, not by anything I was doing.

I laughed with joy, finding a spiritual meaning for all the crazy lows of existence. One day I found that there was hope and something more to all this. 

And it was the day I tried LSD.

Not a typical plan for success, and don’t think I’m trying to corrupt the masses—I wasn’t participating in a counter cultural rebellion. It so happens my brain is pretty resilient to the side effects the internet warns might happen.(Dear readers, don’t ever do anything without understanding what it will do to you both short and long term AND checking your family history for psychosis. Educate yourself. www.erowid.com is essential reading)

Really, I was seeking new experiences since following the rules and doing everything right failed me.

The rules that I followed didn’t work for me, maybe they would for anyone else, but for me, I had put in over a hundred thousand dollars for a stellar education, done all the work, and stuck to the “good girl” thing.The result of all that neurosis is that I hated my life.

I was stuck in a prison in my own mind, still telling myself not to do this or that, splitting myself off into fractals to stay invisible in a crowd.

As it was I was slowly losing the will to keep fighting. Who would I be without that day?

I broke through ten years of living like a zombie, and gave me a taste of freedom. I saw for myself that there was something more to this world. Something deeper, something that connected everything, something that I could live for.

For me, it was success. But when I shared my truth, my old college buddies thought I had flown off the deep end.

I had hoped friends would be happy I learned things about myself and the world. I lost one forever.I thought it was the end of the world. But someone once said,

“Some people will always love their version of you more.”

I at least had hope. I spent the next three years seeking my purpose.

Let’s skip to the best part… 

Recently I attended a conference with women of intellect, caring and more in common with me than anyone I had ever met. They understood the power of plants and psychedelics to heal pain on every level.We agreed on other topics: the power of story, art integrated with science, love for the earth and damn good food, gratitude to be alive and conscious, and a deep desire to heal the direction of this planet before we have nothing to live on.

It was enough to make me cry realizing that for the first time I felt accepted in a community. I hadn’t realized that I didn’t even accept myself.

I’ve spent so long feeling like an outsider and here I find out I’m a type. A visionary woman.

How grateful I am, that I created a new life in which I feel in control and amazing, with as few substances as possible. I don’t pretend to live without any and neither should you. Especially if you drink coffee.Happily, though, I probably am less inclined than most. Because meditation is my bliss, writing is my high.

But it blows my mind. What if there hadn’t been any other way to see life differently? Maybe I’d never have become myself.
\

Overjoyed with empathy and compassion with my sisters, buzzing with energy, I offered my talents.I trusted myself.  I stoked the power of story, as well as offered energy readings, sang a song to make someone smile, and led a ceremony to bless the bright world we are making. (Best to be optimistic.)

\As speaker after speaker underlined the power of stories, I understood how I fit in. I realized this is the arena where the individuals and the sensitive ones rule.

It’s my mission to help women write their stories. Once people hear a story, they remember it, and it’s a fresh way to look at the world. In sharing our struggles, we are healed.I found my own medicine and I know I don’t deserve to go to jail for that.

I only wish that more people were able to feel in control of their lives and bodies.

***Ready to get your story out into the world? Apply for a free Blast Your Blocks session to assess where you are and where you desire to fly with your beautiful message that could impact the world.

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FREEDOM YEAR
by Sofia Wren


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Comments

comments

donaldinho July 10, 2013 at 2:47 am

Thanks! I loved it.

SofiaWren July 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Thanks for reading!

Asia Hoe July 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm

How do you just poor your heart out like this? It must be so gratifying. All I know is fear when I try to talk about myself.

SofiaWren July 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm
Kris Katsuko Oster July 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

Hi Sofia, another bewitching blogpost!

I love the new pics of you in the red dress and how honest you are.

Your transparency and courage are inspiring to mermaids everywhere.
And, they will hear your siren’s song to help them write their stories.

With affection and deep bows of respect,

Kris

SofiaWren July 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm

mermaid bows! I am glad the photos turned out well, I feel they express me better without the sunglasses hehe. I think transparency is very powerful and it’s getting more and more fun to walk into the butterflies of honesty.

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