Once more I take to wing and the road is calling my name. If change was a road it would be a superhighway for me right now.
So the past few months have seen an incredible amount of shifting for myself. Apart from all the travel and expos most of the underpinnings that make up the fabric of my life have completely changed their hue. I will start out by saying this really is all my doing. (Well mostly my doing, Fate threw her ante into the pot as well). I've been tackling deeper issues with clients, drawing people with a greater need for healing than I ever have before. I've published an ebook which is soon to be a print book as well. I lost both my part time jobs within a week of each other. I cofounded a new group of holistic practitioners all focused on removing inner blocks to our own personal development and healing. You could say I've been a busy little bee.
I have this theory that the difficulty in creating a change is directly tied to how much we link whatever belief, role, or circumstance that we are trying to change with how much our identity is intertwined with it. For example, in my tai chi practice I run across people all the time that claim they've always been clumsy. Now some people show a greater improvement when they practice tai chi than others, but those people who repeatedly insist on their own clumsy nature have a harder time learning the forms and improving their overall balance. They have defined their physical identity as someone who is clumsy, and until they decide that is not who they are, there is little that can be done to change that reality.
Now where it gets weirder is when you involve more "magical" methods of change. Some of the approaches I use bypass the mind entirely going for an overall pattern change. If the pattern is accepted there is often an accompanying period of adjustment for the client. Sometimes they even experience non localized anxiety. This is due to one of the core ideas of their psyche being shifted or in some cases removed entirely. This causes every linked layer of self identification to have to reorder itself. The feeling of not knowing who you are anymore is very disorientating and uncomfortable. I have worked with shamanic methods where entities have been removed that have been with a person for decades. After a consciousness has been within us for so long it's removal can cause an identity crisis, as the person doesn't really know themselves without that entity's influence.
Who we think we are and what we identify with has a profound impact on our lives and our interactions. It is helpful to be aware of how people identify themselves particularly in a disagreement. Many conflicts begin because something we do or say is perceived as threatening what somebody identifies with. Think holy wars and you'll get the extreme example of this concept. When people closely twine their ego with their faith it is a recipe for volatile reactions. This is why people will kill in the name of one religion or another. Threatening someone's belief structure that they define themselves through is a direct assault on their identity. It steals away the foundation of their identity. The ego goes into defense mode and reacts as if the person's very life is in danger, and in a sense it is. Your ego sees no difference between what you identify as and you. I will give you a little exercise to practice with to get the feel for this. I want you to think of what your reaction is to the next series of words: Democrat, Tea Party, War on Drugs, Fundamentalist Religions, Atheism, Family Values, Gay Agenda, Pro life, Pro Choice. Now at least some of those words got an emotional response (some even got a visceral response I'm betting). The degree to which you reacted to each of those words represents the degree you define yourself in relationship to them.
At the end of the day, we all define ourselves one way or another. The trick is not to do so rigidly, leaving a way open for change to come. If we define ourselves too rigidly change feels like death because that is what it becomes. Part of our identity has to die to allow for the change. I'm not saying we should be wishy washy, but rather than using external sources to identify ourselves we should be looking within for the traits that are truly us. That will allow us to let go of what is not us more gracefully.
So what about you? Does change feel like death? Do you define yourself by your occupation, your relationship status, or your social associations? Are you aware when you react to a threat to your perceived identity or are you unconsciously playing out a conflict? If you removed all the external markers of association who are you really? Think a while on that and tell me who you wish to be.
Peace and Blessings,