*Originally published 9/3/2013
Most religions have somewhere embedded in their doctrine a practice or belief in detaching from worldly possessions. The more I deepen my spiritual awareness the more I understand what that means. Essentially, who each of us are- at our core- has nothing to do with anything outside of us. Not our jobs, our cars, our homes, our clothes, our hairstyles, our body size/shape, our TVs, computers, stereos, not our record collections, nor our bookshelves. Our spiritual or political beliefs have nothing to do with who we really are. Even our friends and family don’t define who we are at our core. Underneath the layers of all the stuff is Who We Really Are, and we are essentially all the same at that level. LOVE.
That being said, I may have deepened my spiritual awareness and thus understand more clearly what detachment means, but I also have deepened my personal-development in this modern world, thus I understand the deeper meaning of Stuff.
I believe it was Confucius who said, “we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.” Or maybe it was Bob Dylan- I can’t remember. Anyway, our stuff may not be who we are as human beings, but our stuff can be a creative expression of how we want to present ourselves to the world- what we want to say about ourselves and how we want to represent the deepest and truest aspects of who we really are.
But the thing is- so many of us don’t really, truly know who we really, truly are. We have defined ourselves by our stuff. And if not by our stuff, certainly by our beliefs and surroundings. If we don’t take the time to explore the uncharted territories of ourselves we may be defining ourselves by false pretenses.
Even if we think we know who we are, when was the last time each of us took a good look at our current selves? A lot of the time we are representing outdated versions of ourselves. We could be representing the person we were ten years ago without taking the time to see if we still feel the same way about this, that or the other.
A few years ago, when I was coming out of a deep depression, my therapist pointed out how all of my clothing was black and grey, and anytime I wore color it was dull and muted colors- washed out blues, army green, and the likes (consequently I now can’t stand the color grey and it agitates me). I was coming out of a dark time in my life, and I brought some dark colors with me. But I was also deep in a creative process- I was taking a blank canvas and a few shades of grey and beginning to turn my life into a work of art. It didn’t take me long after my therapist’s observation to start wearing brighter and brilliant colors. I was no longer grey and blue. I was expanding my palette.
For so long during my dark times I just conformed. Everything I wore was understated. But I’m a fucking fiery Leo! And there has been and always will be a part of me that needs to ROAR! But I had no sense of who I was for so long that even though I was blossoming, I had gotten so used to the understated, muted version of myself, that my self-expression was only a subtle update. Bright, brilliant… and understated.
The more I worked on myself I still managed to somehow live a slightly counterfeit version myself. I kept trying to fit myself into molds even though I wanted to sculpt a free form version of myself.
I kept tinkering and eventually I started to purr, then my purrs became meows, my meows became growls, but I hadn’t reached full roar yet.
And then I tried on a pair of sunglasses. Not just any pair of sunglasses, these sunglasses were trendy, flashy, and SO not me. But I tried them on anyway, just for fun. I looked in the mirror and laughed. I felt silly. But something about wearing these glasses made me feel different.
They were cheap so I bought them. Just for fun. I wore them a few times, just for fun, but still felt silly, as if I was walking around with a Halloween costume on. But then I started to notice- that I was getting noticed. And I liked it. I was getting compliments on my silly sunglasses. And they started to feel not so silly.
I put those sunglasses on and I stood up straighter, my walk became a strut, and I started to feel what it was like to ROAR… just for fun. By simply wearing a stupid pair of sunglasses I was able to tap into a part of myself that I had completely denied- because I thought that it was SO not me. But in actuality what I found out was that what I thought was SO not me was actually more ME than anything I’ve ever known. It was just SO not the me that I thought I was- SO not the dull, muted and understated me.
Who I thought I was, was much different than what I felt inside of myself that wanted to come out. And there is a BIG difference between what we think and what we feel– which is a whole other can of blogs.
It’s ironic that something so superficial taught me something so spiritual. But big lessons can come in small packages (and on sale!). Those sunglasses helped me see myself- and the world- in a whole new way.
I now see that I don’t need to wait for other people to compliment me in order to strut my stuff. I felt it the moment I put those glasses on, but I didn’t embrace it until other people told me it was ok. Now I know better (but thanks to all who complimented me and helped me see that). I also now see that I don’t ever want to stop exploring Who I Am and how I want to express myself, and I don’t ever want to limit my self-exploration and self-expression, because there is never an end all be all. And we are all evolving works of art.