"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." ~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
"And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed, because it helps someone or that's an evil one because it hurts them. People are too complicated to have simple labels." ~ Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
When we don’t know who we are we are desperate to be anything. We shape shift. Having not built a solid foundation of our self identity we claim to know who we are. We say I am this or I am that. I truly believe that people are always changing, continually evolving. You have the right to be a new person any moment you decide to be. I’ve changed so much sometimes it’s hard for me to recognize my own behavior and trace back the steps on how I got here. I ask myself, who is this person who trusts and loves herself? Who have I become? The fact of the matter is that I’ve changed some of my patterns and repetitive cycles, I’ve rewired my subconscious in certain ways, but I haven’t really changed that much at all. I am both entirely different and completely the same.
"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost." ~ Dante Alighieri
I was lost, for a long time, I was lost. Yet I remained here, lost in my destructive patterns, lost in my dysfunctional cycles, lost in the layers of personality I had mimicked from those around me that I decided I should try and be like. I’ve betrayed myself more times than I can count, but my point is I always knew it never felt right, I always knew something was wrong, it was never quite right. I couldn’t do it without hardship and I lacked the awareness to realize that it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me, it wasn’t because I was broken. I felt off because I was off, trying to be like people I was never meant to be like, trying to fit a mold I was never meant to fit. My life only shifted once I began to slow down, to take time to figure out what it was that I was actually like, outside of trying to be everything everyone wanted me to be, rather everything I thought everyone wanted me to be. We’re constantly projecting our insecurities onto the world and then paying attention to any behavior we see that confirms our bias. We don’t see ourselves as we are, we don’t even see ourselves as others see us, we see ourselves as who we think others think we are.
"Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of 'I know.' Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas." ~ Eckhart Tolle
I honestly don’t like the term awakened and how it’s been used as another label to separate people. Life is always changing, it is in constant flux, it is never static. We are never simply awake or asleep, we are variations, heterogenous mixtures. We are never just one way, that simple verb fails to describe what's actually happening. I understand using the terminology as a communicative means, a descriptor to convey an understanding of a concept. However, I now hear this slapped on people left and right, a distinction and separation, another ego identification. Those out there and us in here, another clique, another selective club. I don’t know what it means to be awake or asleep. I refuse to label my multidimensional being as something so arbitrary. I mean, what does it even truly mean, to be awake?
I know people who are consciously aware of their carbon footprint, meditate daily, have started amazing nonprofits and appear to be the most generous individuals you will ever meet. Some of these people that I have just described, with a generous helping of neatly stacked labels, are people that I genuinely love to be around, there is something vivacious, something otherworldly in their presence, something grounded. I also know people that can be described with the same stacking of labels, people that I would really rather not be around, there is something disingenuous about them, something lost.I know people who aren’t aware of their carbon footprint, eat meat with every meal and haven’t even heard of a sound bath. Some of these people that I have just placed into finite boxes of existence are kind, generous, loving, and can make me laugh until my ribs ache. Some, that would fit just as well into these finite boxes of existence, are angry, selfish, fearful and could really use a good evening of laughter.
I myself am a mixture of labels, depending on the week, the day, the hour, I think you see the pattern. Are we not all a jumble of labels, albeit some more consistent than others over the illusion of time we have so aptly constructed? I know some days I’m terrified, some days all the walls feel like they’re crumbling, some days I’m drowning in a sea of labels clawing for a breath of life. On these days it’s helpful when I go outside and put my feet on the bare earth, but at times of drowning it can be challenging to remember how much freedom that simple act can offer me.
So I ask you, what does it mean to be awake? Is it not just another label, something malleable? Is that not just another identification with the ego? I ask because I don’t know, but I surmise that it very well may be.
"The danger of labeling someone is the separation it creates between who they actually are and the perception of the person they think they have to be." ~ Jairek Robbins
It’s hard for me to trust the label, it’s challenging to navigate the attachments we all hold to them. It’s easier when you let people be, however it is they are choosing to be, and don’t hold them in a state of continuity. Hmmm. I say it's easier. That's a lie. What I mean is, it's much more challenging, but it's worth it. The labels convolute the simple power of being. It isn’t simple, it’s complicated. Have we made it complicated? We create labels to fast track our judgments, to make the separation easier. Wait. It's harder. No, but wait. It's easier. No. Stop. It's just confused.
Everybody has reasons for why they are the way they are, everybody does the best they can with what they know. Everybody. We’re all just searching for connection that we never really lost. The complicated part is the illusion, the feeling of separation, the longing to go home. I think that’s why we all dream of love so much.
The presence of love gives us a glimpse of the unity our hearts crave.
You see, we never really change, we’re always there underneath the labels and the white noise we’ve grown accustomed to.
We’re always there, witnessing the experience.
Sometimes it’s just hard to remember who we are, souls born to be free, buried in the yard beside the oak tree, 6 feet under all those labels.