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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Who, Me?

I’m not a morning person. But when I worked in production, I was often up at sunrise and have enjoyed numerous early mornings while working other, more normal jobs, as well as, for recreation. They may have been challenging mornings to greet, but were ultimately embraced.

I’ve never liked Amusement Park rides. But when my daughter wanted to go on the swinging chair ride in Ocean City, how could I say no (and potentially pass along my irrational fear)? I went on the ride with her, stomach in my shoes, and laughed and sang the whole way, unsure at first that I would make it.

I don’t eat red meat. But when I was pregnant and craved spare ribs or steak (rare as was the occasion), I listened to that quiet voice and complied. And when I was taken to Nobu for dinner and the waiter asked if I had any dietary restrictions, my response was, “Not tonight.”  That turned out to be one of the most memorable meals I've had.  I can still taste the Kobe beef.

Whatever the inner dialogue, we all have statements about ourselves that seem to solidify into identity over the course of our lives. Where once I found comfort in the labels that defined me (and, in some cases pride), I now feel constrained. While an essential truth may remain within my collection of identifiers, I am free to make choices that contradict them, if they are true in that moment.

Within my Yoga practice, I have always struggled with arm balances and back bends. Every time a teacher would say, Let’s prepare for Crow Pose, We’re going to move our mats to the wall to practice preparation for handstand, or Why not try a Wheel today, my mind would shut down, reminding myself that I've never been able to do it. A couple of weeks ago, I surprised myself. Instead of relying on my past experience, I opted to move eagerly into Crow. I got myself into position and did what I’d done countless times before, with one exception. After I got my first foot off the ground, the other one joined it with some effort. I was there and as soon as I realized that, my mind entered the pose and I fell out of it. The point is, while it took some effort, it wasn’t a struggle. Now I look forward to hearing the words “Crow Pose” and seeing what happens. I’m just a few seconds in flight, but I’ve taken off.

All of this is to say that if life is about learning and growing, it stands to reason that identity, what we lovingly embrace as our personality, must be porous & not solid, flowing & not fixed. In my own efforts toward growing my own mind & heart, I cannot hold myself to the standards of years past to where I am today. All of the above statements describing myself have been negated for what was true in that moment. I’ve become a lot less of a purist as I’ve aged, trying not to confine myself to labels like “vegetarian,” or “slacker.” While I may often fall into these, and many other categories, they are only part of the definition of who I am. I hope to never become a stereotype of myself.


  1. I'm not a morning person either & I don't like amusement park rides except really wimpy ones like the Himalaya...but I do like red meat now and then. The hard one is pork, because pigs are in top ten most intelligent animals.

  2. "While an essential truth may remain in my collection of identifiers,I am free to make choices that contradict them, if they are true in that moment." That one sentence hit me in the solar plexus today. It is one I'll memorize to say to myself when I contradict one of my identifiers, and I'll say it to others who witness my contradiction and tell me (insert judgmental 'nyah, nyah, nyah' tone here), "I thought you were a ...." "I thought you don't do..." "You said you never.." That one sentence will color my whole day; thank you for being--what's Sanskrit for "G"