Monday, January 16, 2012

Sticky labels


It’s difficult to truly know anyone (others don’t see us the way we see ourselves), so we’re constantly showing each other who we are, trying to gain some understanding of one another. It can be difficult to change others’ perceptions, though, especially because we tend to show different aspects of our selves to different people. We’re one person at work, but we’re different people with our parents, our friends, our loved ones, even our pets.

It’s human nature to want acceptance, so we play the roles needed to be accepted within each group. It’s a lifelong journey (at least for me) trying to reconcile all our “selves” and to learn to be authentic and genuine, to drop away the false ego, live our own Truth and connect with our Divine center within.

“People will try to tell you who you are your whole life. When they do, you’ve got to push back and say “No! THIS is who I am.” 
~ Emma, Once Upon a Time

It’s human nature to categorize; we tend to like things to fit in nice little, easily identifiable slots. We slap a label on the box—smart, funny, odd, slow, old, young, fat, thin—because we believe it helps us to know how to interact with the person. Labels are easier than getting to know a person. But labels are so limiting. I rarely tell people my age, for example, because I’ve found that they tend to then treat me differently. I want them to know me, not the number of years I’ve been on this side of my journey.

Labels aren’t just limiting, they also tend to be sticky, not easily changed. But people are always growing, learning, changing. I think most people spend much of their lives trying to be better people and learning what that means for them. Personally, I pick various undesirable traits of mine (impatience, judgment) and try to work on them to change and improve myself, with varying success.

Everything is impermanent; people and circumstances are always changing. No one stays exactly the same all their lives. We have to keep our hearts open to see the changes and not retain our old perceptions when they no longer hold true. With open hearts—and no labels—we can see the genuine consciousness within a person, not just the outer shell projected to the world. We need to stop slapping labels on others and work harder at trying to see the essence within.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Ruthless purging …

Happy 2012, friends!

Periodically, I do an assessment or discernment, asking myself:
Am I holding onto anything that no longer serves my highest and greatest good? Is there anything in my life that no longer serves a purpose in where I am currently in my life? Is there any burden that I’m carrying that needs to be released?

I’ve used this technique over the years to release all kinds of things, from just excess stuff to jobs and even relationships. Releasing helps me to make transitions in my life, to make shifts that hopefully help me to open up and grow by not clinging to things that no longer serve a purpose.

Right now, I feel the urge to purge—to lighten up, clear out, freshen up—and declared last Saturday Ruthless Purging Day. It’s carried over into Sunday and now today, but boy am I making happy progress in going through all this stuff, clearing, cleaning, organizing. Whew!

First, I finally sold my china cabinet. Too big, too cramped for seating. Helped carry it out with the guy who bought it. Heavy! Of course, then I had to go through the contents and toss/donate/store everything.

 053110 dining area   010112 Dining area 

Mom’s china is going to my brother so I went to the Container Store and got china storage packs. (And other stuff; that place is dangerous.) Packed up Mom’s beautiful china. (Being from Texas, she loved yellow roses.)

010112 Mom's china

Then I went through everything downstairs—cabinets, drawers, closet—and kept filling bags. A friend is going to be taking a rug, a floor lamp, a table lamp and the coffee table in about a month, so I’m releasing those to live a new life in her new home. I gave her some stemware, a wireless modem and a large tray, too.

Cleaned and rearranged stuff downstairs and I just love the new, more open look of everything. Today, I’m working on the upstairs bedroom and office, filling more bags to toss or donate.

It feels great to lighten my load and release things that no longer serve me and my  needs well. I think we need to take a look at things from time to time and get a fresh, new perspective, whether it’s stuff or behaviors (another aspect I’m working on) or the people in our lives. When anything has fulfilled its purpose in our lives, it may be time to let it go and live another life.

May every thing and every one in your life serve your highest and greatest good. If something/someone doesn’t serve you well any longer, release it to be of better use to another perhaps. May you be blessed with love, happiness and the freedom to be authentically YOU.