Labeling of Who We Are Begins at Birth
My given name is Tetana Adkins and I am a God in training, a powerful co-creator Goddess. Sounds quite powerful and unexpected, right? Believe it or not, I didn’t always think of myself or define myself in this empowered way. This new way of viewing myself beyond the labels of society is a very recent experience that I am only just beginning to understand and really embrace, seeing the beauty in how much my world has opened up now that I chose to go beyond defining myself with labels. I allowed the labels of others and greater society to determine who I was for many, many years; nearly all my life in fact.
When I was born, I was defined by my biological gender as female. Then I was given a name by my parents, quite a unique one at that, which took nearly 30 years to appreciate but that is a whole another story. By the age of 3 years, I started identifying myself by the ancestry of my family, notably as Native American. Being raised on my mother’s side of the family, the Native American side, primarily shaped my world view lens of experiences, even though I was what society termed a ‘mixed blood,’ because my father was White. I struggled for years being called a mixed blood, never fitting in with either of the ethnic groups I was born into, nor being really accepted for my unique ancestral mix. Ultimately, I was compelled to choose which label of ethnic identity I would proclaim in every aspect of my life: how I introduced myself, what boxes I’d check on forms, and how I would identify myself in the US Census. Over the many years, I felt great pride in my choice to identify as Native American, because of our history as survivors of colonialism and genocide, the 500 years of resistance gave me something to embrace proudly as it was part of my family story, my own personal story.
The Need to Define – Why Labels Exist
The word label is defined by thefreedictionary.com as a verb where it is used “to identify or designate with a descriptive term; describe or classify,” “a brief, descriptive phrase or term given to a person or group, school of thought, etc.” Labels exist to create meaning, to define someone or something in ways that make sense on an individual and collective level. However, the question must be asked: By accepting labels, whether it be regarding ethnic identity, sexual orientation, race, class, and the like, are we then limiting ourselves, not realizing by accepting labels and all that is ascribed to it, are we then denying who we truly are?
The Problem with Labels
As human beings, we are used to putting a label on something or someone. We tend to look at the world through a very judgmental, limiting way, and labels definitely create limits, including separation between us, when truly, we are all connected, one.
How does this happen? From my own personal experience, I became very attached to my ethnic identity of Native American, and it was very important to me to be recognized for that by others, so much so, that every time I introduced myself in public, I made sure people knew I was a member of the Colville Tribe. I absorbed the story of the Native American experience wholeheartedly, not realizing how much I was allowing it to define everything about me, thus limiting my worldview and understanding of who I was at an even deeper level. The experiences I was having in my personal life reflected the limits of accepting that label as the only story of who I was.
Moving Beyond Labels – Paths of Understanding Opening Up
As I stepped forth into the path of the initiate in the Modern Mystery School, I began to receive teachings starting at Empower Thyself that opened up channels of curiosity within my soul unlike any other before, specifically being told that I am God, that I was a ‘God in training,’ to which I remember my first reaction was, ‘Really?!’ I truly had no idea of how to apply that incredible teaching to myself and it was clearly difficult for me to accept and embrace that I was God. It was far easier to take on the labels that others had placed upon me.
However, through my work in Kabbalah I was then pushed further in understanding who I was by answering these life-changing five questions:
- Who Am I?
- What Am I?
- Where did I come from?
- Where am I going?
- What is my purpose?
When I started my first climb in Kabbalah, I answered the five questions quite diligently with ease, in the expected way, from the influence of labels, by saying who I was by my first and last name, followed by my gender and ethnic identity as Native American. I wrote quite the autobiographical piece in answering all the five questions initially, noting at the time that my purpose in life was to be “on a sacred journey of discovery,” which in some respects is true, but is not the complete picture of what my actual life purpose is!
Taking the course, Know Thyself, as well as following the Ritual Master Path has opened up in me even greater clarity into what it means to be God, to be a spiritual being having a human experience, understanding that “I have never been born, and therefore I can never die.” When I first heard these expressions, there was resonance within, yet initially, I still clung to the labels of my outer world because it seemed so much easier and safer to do so. Now that I have embraced the fact that I am God, and letting go of the labels of personal identity, I am now seeing how my world is reflecting this inner opening of my spirit to endless possibilities and opportunities for growth.
The manifestation of how I would like to experience the world as a Healer-Warrior is happening with many situations moving forward in my life, now that I have chosen to let go of this old pattern of labels that no longer serve me. Additionally, I am learning to forgive myself for my humanness, my shortcomings at times, and really embracing the fact that I am a powerful co-creator, a Goddess. The truth that set me free was in making that choice to see myself as God and to live and embody it fully every day when I wake up, so I can then go above and beyond the limits of labels.
Tetana Adkins is a Certified Professional Life Activation Practitioner, Crystal Healer and Reader, trained in the ancient lineage of King Salomon through the Modern Mystery School. Additionally, she is in her second year of the University of Washington School of Social Work Master’s Program to get her MSW and serve as a mental health counselor. Her healing practice focuses on a holistic model of wellness, balancing the mind, body, and spirit, honoring the interconnectedness of all aspects of the individual, and from an empowerment, strengths-based focus.