The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name
Tao Te Ching
Lao-tzu (abt.551-479 BCE)
I am trying not to identify with my “story” any longer; whatever that is exactly. I have observed that I spend entirely too much time focusing on defining myself and my experiences. I think (based on my observation) that I spend too much time worrying about my “story” and how I am being judged and whether or not I am being accepted and how this can possibly affect anything and everything; every day and every moment.
I think that might be why I am so damn tired all the time.
I never thought about “me” and the facets of “me” until I moved to our happy little house on the hill; or at least, not as much as I have of late.
Sure, I worried if I had made the right impression; or if the person at work I thought was sabotaging me really was; or whether or not my best friend was pissed at something I may have done; or if I was being a good parent by working full time. Sure, those are questions of the natural order. The kind of questions that we ask ourselves everyday of our lives. They help us check in with ourselves and with those around us. I think, as humans, those are perfectly natural.
What I am referring to is this new found defense and discussion about all the things that make up “me.” I never thought about any of them, because to be quite frank, where I lived before, I just melted into the social fabric that was an amazing melting pot of cultures, beliefs, personalities and craziness. I never really thought about defining myself with words. I always defined myself with my presence and it could change depending on the season or the cycles of the moon. I have always tried to stay centered and to stay kind – no matter how challenging both of those things could be at any given moment – I have been committed every day to maintain those two elements as aspects of myself.
So at what point did I get caught up in this story and all of these labels that I think define me in my new life here: working mother, vegan, yoga practitioner/teacher, artist, spiritual seeker, liberal, writer, eco-warrior, marketer, artist, home owner, displaced Floridian, outcast, hurricane survivor with a deceased father, distanced from her siblings and isolated from her friends.
On paper (or computer screen) it sounds pitiful. It sounds like I am a lost soul seeking her place in the world.
And that is what made me realize that something was terribly disconnected. That I have been touting all of these labels in my life and in my writing and they are all nonsense. We define ourselves, true, but when we name it, when we start putting labels on ourselves, we are limiting our experience.
When I am on the mat taking the form of an Eagle, a Tree or a Warrior, my movements, my breath and my mind are all one. I am not a label. I am a spirit in a human body. Even when I move into a posture that may be challenging (don’t get me started on headstands), I am limited only by the physical body, not be the spirit. My heart is open and I am one with everything.
This morning, as I lay in Savasana, I realized with perfect clarity that in order to learn the lessons that I must learn, to embrace whatever has brought me to this time and place, I must humble myself. I must release the ideas I have about myself and the ideas that I want others to have about me. I must live with an open heart off the mat and not hide behind labels or ideals or illusions.
I realized that by seeing myself as separate from all those around me, I am keeping myself separate from all those around me.
Wow – crazy thought, isn’t it? I felt like Homer Simpson having an epiphany.
Humbling ourselves to our essence is where we can find the greatest comfort. Our true essence is not defined by our preference in clothes, the name of our church, what we had for dinner, the kind of music we like, where we live, who our friends are, what our favorite sport is, our political preference, if we are from the north or the south, and million of other things. These things only serve to separate us from each other. And the more that we focus on how we can best define ourselves with these external labels and thoughts, the further we separate ourselves not only from each other, but also from our core and center.
Everything we do in life, leads us to this moment. It leads us to how we define ourselves when we stand alone; and how we define ourselves when we stand in a crowd. But what if we cast away definitions? What if, we let the present moment be the only thing that defines us? What if we become so perfectly humble and so perfectly still and so perfectly open that we simply become whatever it is we are suppose to be in the present moment.
Quite simply, what if we become perfectly Divine.
Is it easy to do this? No, I don’t think so, not at all. It is so easy to protect ourselves with “who we are.” Our ego gets all puffed up and takes a superior position which only serves to separate us not only from each other but also from the part of us that is Divine, our higher self.
The more the ego gets caught up in “who we are” the further we move away from the Truth. And the Truth, my dear ones, is that magical, ethereal part of you that exists beyond time and space. It is not the part that cares if your shoes match your handbag and what kind of car you drive or whether or not you recycle, (but you can’t help but notice that your neighbor doesn’t).
I am flesh, you are flesh.
I am spirit, you are spirit.
Except for a few things here and there with regard to personal preferences, I think that pretty much makes us the same.
So I am letting go of the story. Or at least, I am not getting caught up in it. I am going to humble myself to this experience and find the peace in the present.
Because it is there, in the quiet space, where there are no names and no labels that we all meet and we are all the same.
Beautiful spirits having a wacky human experience.