Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Who Do You Think You Are?

In one of my favorite books, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert likened life to a road trip. She mused that fear--along with anger, jealousy, bitterness and all your other emotions--get a seat in the mini-van; they just don't get to drive.

I've spent a good deal of time trying to outrun, outsmart, out-pray, and grow out of what self-labeled weak, negative, or non-productive feelings. Instead of just acknowledging them and then moving on, I wrestled, criticized, condemned and guilted* myself. For what seems like -ever, I prayed for more patience until a few years ago when a mentor-sister-saint-friend admonished, "MARE!!! If you pray for patience, God will give you trials so you can practice and develop it."

Sweet. Jesus. Light bulb moment to say the least.

A guided meditation I listened to recently focused on taking your power back. Letting go of the labels others place on us and more importantly resisting the urge to label ourselves.

I get angry sometimes, but I'm not an angry person. I feel sad sometimes, but I'm not a sad person. I have felt jealous, snippy, snarky, bitchy, embarrassed, insane, proud, smart, stupid, beautiful, sexy, confident, terrified and hideous... Guess what? Having feelings makes us human. Normal. Okay.

Throughout our lives we give up things, people, plans. Oddly enough, sometimes we give up what is good for us and have a harder time relinquishing what is bad. I'll chose to sit and watch a movie over a workout most days. I'll usually choose beer over water. And it's way easier for me to point out my many flaws than it is to acknowledge my strengths. I'll usually make myself small rather than allow myself to take up too much space in the world.

But when we are brave enough to let go of our own ideas, labels, and yes even sometimes dreams...when we are willing to let ourselves be who we already are, we open our hearts to receive blessings beyond our wildest imagination.

One of the questions I've struggled with my whole life is, "Who do you think you are?" Every word, every action, every thought ... I question. Every success. Every mistake. Who do you think you are? I'm claiming power over that question today and will no longer let it keep me "in my place." I know who I am.

So, my beautiful friends, I say this with the utmost love and compassion: Who do you think you are? Who do you want to be?

*Anyone who was raised by a Catholic mother knows that guilted absolutely is a verb.

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