What is Self?

0804-hrh-05-01They say we are not who we think we are. Experts, psychologists, those who deal with personality stuff, say that under the many layers, we are ordinary and straightforward. We eat, drink, pee, and sleep. Who are we after that?

We are the combination of our culture, family training, experiences, and the stories we’ve told ourselves. We can change our stories. Retell your story. Decide to – just because you can. Small things matter. AJordan Peterson says, you can’t reform the world, but you can clean your room.

It is perfectly possible — indeed, it is far from uncommon — to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again? The lives of men — and, therefore, of nations — to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind. It is a question which can paralyze the mind, of course; but if the question does not live in the mind, then one is simply condemned to eternal youth, which is a synonym for corruption. – James Baldwin

The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985

Transformation and renewal can happen slowly. But not always. I’ve had it hit me like a wave flowing from the ocean, picking me up and knocking me off my feet. As the water rolled over me, I was unsure which way was up. When I finally found my footing and spit the water out of my mouth, I knew I was a survivor.

I’m not asking for a knockdown, but I’ll find a way up if it happens. Today, if you are feeling overwhelmed, control what you can. If you want a better life, change one thing. Start where you can. Your “Self” is a fiction that is made up. Layers that have been built over time. Therefore, it can be changed, scrubbed, twisted or ignored. It’s in your hands to mold.

Who do you want to be? Love is the greatest gift. Forgiveness I believe is the second.

Namaste.

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Choking

BIGRecently I ran into a brick wall. I felt I couldn’t bust through. I had ideas, but they just hung out in the air. Pen to paper. Fingers to the keyboard. Where to start? Frustrating. This has been my struggle the last few months.

Back in my junior high days, there was a group from the wrestling team in my history class. They were often cutting up before the class started, before the teacher came into the room. Now, I knew what a full-nelson and a half-nelson hold were. I was familiar with martial arts and wrestling in general. My two older brothers were excellent teachers of how to remove yourself from holds and better still of how not to become entangled.

These three boys in class demonstrated something which shocked me. One guy would hold another wrestler up by gripping him around the neck, cutting off the blood flow. At first, I didn’t believe it was real. The guy fainted. Blacked completely out. Teen boys don’t faint. He’s joking around–right? They did it again to demonstrate. WTF. And then the teacher walked into the room. The chattering of 30 teenagers hushed to a whisper.

What happened?

They were using a modified choke hold. And the wrestlers got high from the choke out. It became a tough guy competition and a then a demonstration to show what they knew. It was even an “I’ll hold you against the wall by the throat thing” until you pass out. Which is what happened and they’d get up and laugh it off.

Back

That’s what I did to myself. Accidently. Only it wasn’t a real choke hold, just in the mad panic of getting too much done I dropped my writing. I quit editing my book. I had ideas, but I choked. I couldn’t seem to get enough air between my crazed thoughts. “Not enough time,” “that’s a dumb idea,” “later,” “everyone else has done that,” you’re a moron.” I choked.

Get up

Like those wrestlers, I’m getting back up and laughing it off. I relaxed the choke hold. I let the events pass that held me captive. One by one the stressors left. One more important thing I’ve done is to receive guidance. I’ve had therapy before, and it helped. This time I’d been thinking about having a life coach and I still might. What I did this time was order some coaching online that fit my specific needs. It has helped me tremendously. Maybe that’s what we all need, a little help, someone to nudge us in the right direction.

Relax.

I think everything will be alright.

Keep your hope alive.

You Embarrass Me

I drew a monster. Such a cute monster. He looked like a puff ball with legs. His sleeves and leggings didn’t match. He was hiding his eyes too. His name is You Embarrass Me and he thinks I talk too much and help too much. He tells me I need to shut up. According to The Fluent Self, our monsters are really there to help us. They help us protect ourselves so we don’t get hurt. They curb our excesses. This morning I noticed You Embarrass Me. What does he want? I’m sorry little guy. I didn’t mean to embarrass you or to put you out front like that.

Why was I am embarrassed? I angered someone. I said the wrong thing. And it bothered me. Sometimes people push my buttons. Sometimes they rub my fur the wrong way. It’s going to happen and it’s not predictable. Sometimes I get over involved. I try to set things right, fix the problem and I make the situation worse. If I take a step back, everything calms down. I don’t have to change others, either their opinions or their lives. When I feel the unable to set things right, when I think someone sees my stumbling, my imperfections, I want to hide. Dig a hole and crawl into it. The urge to hide in shame because I goofed up once again, or I said something callous is so strong that I know You Embarrass Me is close at hand. At that moment, I know it’s time to stop. Sit down.

This was helpful for me, Seven Ways to Push Through Embarrassment.