“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
I was going to to share a part of my 2020 journey here. But, the minute I touched it with a word or two, I felt just how tender it still is. It’s not ready to be shared. I respect that. I have tried to write things that had not finished writing themselves before and it simply doesn’t work.
So instead I will only share that 2020 demanded that I reconnect with and redefine myself so strongly that it uprooted me and shook all the emotional rubble that I had carefully covered with an ornate psychological carpet and a prayer clear. It hurt like hell but as I look back with the new eye of a fresh rebirth, I know in my heart of hearts that I will never ever be the same again, that I have never ever been as connected and rooted as I am now, that authenticity is a double-edged sword, that healing after cleaning out the trash feels like a hug from God and that I am grateful for every bit of this or it. Perhaps this will work best if I tell you about me from the beginning…. 12 years ago…. just a thought.
While I think and the words keep forming themselves around 2020, I thought I would share this piece on redefining one’s self Adapted from Your Redefining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be by Dennis Merritt Jones. Copyright © 2014 by Dennis Merritt Jones.
“I often wonder how many of us are living our lives based on who we are not rather than who we truly are. Since the day we were born, we learned to define ourselves primarily based on the input of others. Over the years, that information, be it correct or incorrect, embedded itself deeply in our personal belief system, far beyond our conscious knowing that it even exists. If we were to excavate the deepest recesses of our consciousness, we would discover many beliefs about ourselves that are simply not true and that may never have been true. Yet we live from these beliefs as if they were true because we have never identified them clearly enough to question them, to challenge them.
We may have defined ourselves in a limiting way based on our history and the opinion of others, or after we’ve suffered a job loss, failed out of school, gone through a devastating divorce, experienced a painful health crisis, reduced our material status, were abused, lost a loved one, and so on… and we stay stuck there, wearing labels attached to those people and events because we fail to recognize there is a door right in front of us providing another opportunity to redefine who we are today. This is the power to be found in our redefining moments; they create an opening for us to consciously challenge old ideas and beliefs about who we think we are by accessing the limitless new possibilities that lie inherent in the authentic self.
But what is this “self”—where exactly is it, and what makes it “authentic?” These are questions we were born to explore, understand and apply the answer to in our daily lives. You may consider this a guidebook to help you fathom the depths of your own understanding of your authentic self and, equally important, your being—the Original Self from which you have come.
Asking the big questions
It has been said that our personal growth and evolution is generally motivated by either inspiration or desperation. In either case, if you have a predisposition to self-inquiry, you’ll find your (re)defining moments popping up in a delightful way. Sincere self-inquiry is taking the vertical path directly from living on the surface of life to the centre of your being. When you courageously and earnestly ask yourself the big questions that require you to dig deep, the deeper you dig, the closer you get to merging with your true self.
How will you know the answers you receive are correct? They will lead to actions that honour Life; they will be answers that put you on a course of action that harms no one, including yourself; that affirm the presence of a prevailing power for good that lies within you that guides, protects and sustains you; and seeks only the highest and best for you and every sentient being. They will be answers that move you forward on the pathway to your wholeness as a fulfilled and joyfully self-expressed person. Most importantly, they will be answers that connect your mind and heart with your soul.
What are some of the big questions that often precede a (re)defining moment? Here’s a list for starters. You can add to it according to your own inner compass.
» Who am I?
» Why am I?
» Where did I come from?
» Where will I go when I leave here?
» Why can’t I let _________ (fill in the blank) go?
» What role do I play in how my life is unfolding?
» Am I being who I was born to be?
» Am I learning from my mistakes and failures and growing every day because of them?
» Have I been looking to someone (or something) for my sense of identity?
» Am I living a life of purpose and meaning?
» When I die, will the planet be a better place than it was when I got here—because I was here?
» What are my gifts I bring to share with the world, and am I sharing them—and if not, why?
Be assured, asking the right questions with clear intention and a willingness to faithfully follow where they lead you requires courage because once you ask the question, you have to be willing to dance with the answer, which may or may not be to your liking. However, if you stay on the dance floor and embrace the answers you receive, you’ll find yourself on the pathway back to your authentic self.
The practice is to remember to slow down and “be” with your questions in real time—don’t rush the process. Not only will your answers that already exist within you be revealed, you also will have automatically pushed the “reset” button on that which defines you. When you make a conscious choice to ask yourself the big questions, it alters your perception, which in turn alters your behaviour, which in turn alters your experience. With that level of awareness, all life becomes a quest leading you back to the place you never really left—your Oneness with the Original Self, which, in truth, you are now and have always been. —Make no doubt about it, be it motivated by either inspiration or desperation, asking the big questions opens the portal to a (re)defining moment that will reshape your entire life in a profound way.