Forget about clothes, even when we're naked we still wear our myths like a heavy cloak.
Awareness is a tricky bag. We think we are on top of ourselves, we have ourselves figured out, but then we suddenly realize we are still hiding underneath something after all. It's like trying to right a kayak once it's gone over: not easy. You flip up into the air light, you think you are finally good, and then suddenly you are upside-down and underwater all over again, gulping down murky pond water.
Sometimes the pot that helped the seedling grow is the same thing that smothers the sapling. The needs of the plant sometimes outgrow the pot.
Now, this is not a think that is discussed much, but we all carry around a personal mythology. We all have a grand story inside ourselves, of ourselves ... and even though this story might be guiding us somewhere - helping us to make decisions and shape our future - there are times when this myth we have built up about ourselves has got to go. Sometimes the myth becomes constrictive, like a child trying to wear the same pair of tiny shoes as they grow larger and larger into adulthood - what once protected their feet and freed them to run safely eventually pinches and punishes their feet, bringing them to a painful standstill.
The truth is that, yes, we are all here to grow into something larger - nothing wrong with that. But sometimes we create a story of ourselves ... but then never check in again whether that old story still works for us. We effectively say, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it!"
But sometimes we have to destroy our stories. Sometimes the pot that helped the seedling grow is the same thing that smothers the sapling. The needs of the plant sometimes outgrow the pot.
So check in with yourself. It's still the New Year and a good time to do it. What stories about yourself need to be shattered? What has got to go? I know one of my stories that has to go is perfection. I have always tried to be perfect. My story was: If I do everything right, and perfectly, and always stay within the lines of acceptable behavior, then I will be safe and I will be loved. And that need to be perfect also shows up outwardly: I spend way too much time on things like keeping a clean apartment, thinking I will be judged if my place is seen to be a mess, that it says something fundamental about me, that it will unmask (reveal) the poor and financially unstable childhood I came from.
I do this with my own image as well. I hated my body when I was younger, so now I want to look fit and verile and strong and confident. Well, what if I am not always all of those things? (Although, yeah, sometimes, I am - but guess what, age will take away all these things anyway.) So what if there is a bigger story? A bigger picture of me where I can be imperfect and erratic ... and still be lovable. Where I can make mistakes ... and still be valuable. Where I can be a total fucking mess ... and still be worthy of respect. I have another myth of myself I want to shatter: that I am amazing and powerful.
But why would you want to destroy a story like that? Because it is bullshit. Believing that you are "above others" in any way might have saved you (and you should absolutely thank that story for doing so, it may have been the only thing that got you through a rough childhood where you always felt "less than"), but in the end a story like that is fundamentally isolating. It doesn't allow for you to be human. It does not let in the air to be vulnerable to others. It does not let in the light to show your flaws. Believing you are better than others - in any way - does not allow you to reach out for help. And we all need help.
So I am not saying that I don't have the ability to be amazing and powerful. Being amazing - especially by being of use to others - can still happen on a daily basis, based entirely on choices that I continue to make, and the risks I choose to take in trying to be my most authentic self ...
But the myth of myself as an amazing and powerful being is false, and that has got to go. I am not an amazing and powerful being. I am just a human being who makes amazing and powerful choices on some good days, and who makes really flawed and lazy ones on others. Sorry pot, consider yourself shattered.
OK, that's good enough for now,
~ Quest Barely, all!
Kemson Cooper is the creator of QuestBarely.com, a site about using the body as a path to explore the Self. He is also the author / artist of "Love Yourself ~ A Body of Work" (hailed by at least a few as the world's first naked self-empowerment book) & "The Bird Who Had No Clue" (a sweet little illustrated tale about life, for all ages).