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July 2014 – Identity

Who are you?  What are the first three things you would say if someone asked you that question?

Our identity can be tied to our roles in family life like daughter/son or maybe sister/brother or mother/father.  Our identity can be tied to work-life such as a job we have now or had in the past.  It can go back to school when we were in my day a nerd, jock or gear-head.  Our identity can be from our cultural heritage.  It can be from a hobby or sport like I am a dancer, a scrap-booker or a runner.  Some people define themselves as their personality traits, I am an extrovert, shy or stubborn. I like to learn the history of someone I meet.  I often ask people what they wanted to “be” when they were in grade school.  The answer is alway a job or role and if that makes you happy it is great.  Are you what you wanted to be when you were young?  In grade school I wanted to be writer or a teacher.  Some times that early wish does not change.  I have taught fitness and yoga for twenty years now and I still get excited about designing a new class.  I enjoy writing this newsletter feeding my inner writer.

We are always changing and growing with experience.  However, there is also a you that has always been there.  Someone you were before any role you chose and before any role that was imposed upon you.  I am reminded of the real me when think of an event when I was young.  Maybe you have not been honoring a part of your core personality.  My main role in school was getting good grades and being teachers pet.  Getting approval and  conforming was very important to me.  When I was five, for a school performance we had to sing the Bear Went Over the Mountain.  Everyone on stage had to be a bear or mountain.  I told the teacher I thought that was silly.  Very unlike me, I refused to be either.  So she let me and a friend (who I convinced would also not be happy as a bear or mountain) be wildflowers growing on the mountain.  Looking back I am amazed I rebelled in my tiny way.  When I feel I am not being the real me I remember the five year old wildflower unafraid to be different.

When I spend even just a few minutes each day reconnecting with myself I am much happier.  There is an essence of you that is timeless.  Spending time with yourself alone is often the only way to get back to your core and integrating it with your current self.    “…to have any real possibility of contentment I must cultivate a relationship with silence and with the ever new self that can emerge out of that silence.”  David Whyte