Ep. 192: Letting Go of Your Former Identity – Dissolution

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When we talk about “letting go of the old to make room for the new,” we don’t often think about how this can apply to not just old beliefs or releasing “stuff” we no longer use, but to our identity itself. Who we are and how we move through the world – and what unique Soul Purpose we have to bring to the world.


The process of “soul initiation” and discovering our Soul Purpose requires us to FIRST shed our former identity so we can be open to learning who we truly are – without the social and ego-centric input that was necessary (albeit limiting) for us so we could make it through the first part of our life. 


The phrase “soul initiation” may seem unrelatable to a lot us (I know I have no clue what it meant when I first heard it). I think it as the process we undergo to have our soul purpose revealed to us. 


It’s a potent, mystical, and simultaneously destructive and transformative process. How all this happens at once can be kind of hard to imagine if you haven’t gone through it, but the destructive aspect – the dissolution of our old way of being – is what we must undergo first in order to prepare for soul initiation, so that we can actually OPEN to what our purpose is.


One reason the dissolution is so important is because many of us are socialized so deeply that we’re prone to thinking of things on a superficial level… that we must somehow fit into society’s idea of purpose. These preconceived notions need to be released.


Things like “helping people feel more confident so they can achieve their dreams” or “helping people eat less meat and fighting for animal rights,” “helping people have more joy” or “less burnout and more peace.”


Things like our social roles of world traveler, lover, parent, 


These can be valuable things to apply our energy towards, but they are still not at the soul level. 


***Passion or usefulness doesn’t always equal Soul Purpose.***


We can’t “figure out” or plan our way into our Soul purpose. It usually doesn’t fit into a cognitive box or is easily described. 


It’s more often a mystical experience.


When mine was revealed to me, it made NO sense. It took me years of living into it, experimenting, exploring, and wandering. And years later, I’ve finally arrived at a clear knowing.


I wanted to also mention that while this seems very “self-focused,” the process of the dissolution of our former selves and preparing for soul initiation is a compassionate act – not a selfish, individualistic act. 


Much of the destruction and suffering on Earth right now is due to humans – as a species – not being connected to our role in the greater community of the planet – to other humans and the rest of the beings.


But to get there as a species, we need each person to begin with knowing their individual soul purpose,

otherwise we wander aimlessly and carelessly (and destructively).


Humanity has a distinctive niche in this Earth community, just like any other being or organism. We have to discover this for ourselves, and the sacrifice we make is a dying of our former, adolescent self.


When you’re ready to do this, it’s not much of a surprise, because you’ve seen the signs that this was coming. And if you feel forced or pressured to ignore that feeling, you can probably see that, too.


Now, this destruction of our old self isn’t for everyone at this exact moment. There are the other stages and developmental tasks that we need to complete before we’re even ready for it.


But when your time comes, you move toward what everyone else is always running from: the unknown, the dying of former self and ways of knowing, the uncertainty. Because you know that NOT heeding the call will lead to a death of a different, less authentic sort.


I think of a quote from Anais Nin here: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”


And in this phase, we may not be recognizable by others… or even to ourselves. And in a way this is good, because we need to start over. It can seem daunting or sad that someone in their 30s, 40s, or even 60+ may not know what they really love or want to create once we remove what was imposed on us from family and culture/society.


But it’s also very freeing.


So what exactly does the dissolution phase look like? It’s the end of our previous social, vocational, and community roles that we’ve been occupying. Yes – ALL of them.


We may still “participate” in them, but we don’t identify with them anymore.


In healthier cultures, because of the deep understanding of the death that is required, dissolution and the journey of soul initiation ideally takes place before important life events and responsibilities like marriage, or becoming a parent, or taking on a community leadership position. 


Doing this work when you’re single, without kids, and not in a role with responsibilities is not easy to do these days, but you can certainly still do it partnered or as a parent or with a full-time job. But it might just be slower 😉


I hope if you’re hearing this call, which may feel like existential anxiety or depression from suppressing the call, that you consider this message of how important it is to go through this process of dissolution, however scary it might seem.


If you feel ready, consider what is a small way you can create more space for dissolution to occur in your life.


Ask yourself: how can you release some former identities? Maybe look at some hold habits that are sleeping you stuck in a former identity. Or ask yourself what would support you in letting your former self go?


No matter what, please don’t suppress the call forever.


You will learn:

// Why it’s necessary to let go of our old identity before we can be open to our Soul Purpose

// What the dissolution phase – the “little deaths” – look like

// The importance of finding refuge in nature and community during this stage

// Simple steps we can take to create space for this deep letting go to occur in daily life



// 71: How to Find Your Purpose

// 99: Rebel Purpose

// 134: What Your Meant to BE

// 178: The Gift of Wandering – Exploring Our Purpose

// 187: Leaving Home

// 191: Soulcentric Adulthood

// If you’re up for a journey that involves soul-searching, mind-expanding wisdom at a level most people don’t even explore, and taking on the honorable role of a true adult in your community, and eventually even as a respected elder which we really need more of (because remember – we have to complete these other stages first!), check out the Adventure Mastermind – we start with a virtual retreat later this month, and our first retreat is on the Big Island of Hawaii in February. Head over and apply at AdventureMastermind.com. We’ve only got 2 spots left!

// Want something more self-paced with access to weekly group support and getting coached by yours truly? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out. Plus, we have entire months devoted to wisdom and compassion. Learn more at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there!// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday as I go live with new inspiration and topics.