Thursday, November 3, 2016

Day 3: The Bowl

In recent years I have begun to explore what I see as my identity.  I have asked myself over and over again, who am I?  What is it that drives me?  What are the things I love?  What am I passionate about?

I often felt a hesitancy in answering these questions and over time I came to realize that my hesitation came from the fear that I might ask the question and not be able to come up with an answer.   That I might ask, "Who am I?"

And the response might be, "I don't know..."  

Or worse, just silence.  

For a variety of reasons, I have a tendency to be an approval seeker.  And much of my life was spent trying to make one person or another happy. Sometimes this meant making sure their needs were met, sometimes this meant doing things in my own life that I knew might garner the attention or approval of certain people.  Their approval meant I was okay, that I had a right to exist. 

It also meant that I spent very little time or energy trying to figure out what I needed, what I wanted, and who I was.  When I started to do the work of seeking out just what it might be that I needed, wanted and yes, to ask who I was, the fear was that I'd spent so much time trying to be for others that what I had inside was really...nothing.  That I was empty. 

This weekend I attended a two day workshop where I deliberately faced that possibility.  I sat in stillness and silence, and allowed myself to be open to whatever it was I might see inside of myself, even if that something was indeed nothing...

I sat for what felt like ages, though it was probably only a few minutes, focused on my breathing. Anxiety would pop up and I'd tell it to go, that stillness was okay.  Silence was okay.  And even that nothing was okay..,as time passed the thought begin to form in my mind that empty might not be a bad thing.  Empty, could mean that I had a space into which I could place anything I wanted.  

I imagined that I had a vessel, a low wide mouthed bowl, in my center near my heart.  And that I could put things in that bowl and see what it felt like to be that thing.  I could try out things I was not sure of.  I could also take things out of the bowl that I didn't want or like.  I could fill my bowl myself, with things of my choosing...

My choosing.

This is one of those things that is both freeing and crazy uncomfortable at the same time.  

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