In the second week after my first chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, I began to lose my hair. Like a white angora cat, I shed hairs everywhere: on my clothing, in the shower drain, on my chair, in my hairbrush. Sometimes they drifted down onto my shoulders like cherry blossoms in the springtime; other times they clumped like small snowdrifts on my pillow. All of it strangely fascinating to me, as if they were bits of my identity falling away, freeing me even further at a soul level.

That may seem an odd way to view it; yet the process feels symbolic of a larger shedding that occurs as I clear out the clutter of a lifetime of identities. To be human is to move through many experiences and identities. I used to gather identities like flowers in a basket (flower child, activist, feminist, lesbian, writer, editor, spiritual seeker), feeling glad that I was eclectic and not tied to any one self-identification. I felt freer that way. As the years went by and my spiritual practice expanded, I began to realize that freedom is a much more expansive designation when viewed from the soul’s perspective.

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…..So Who Are You Really? (Identity Crisis)

water-picture-id117147386 …..So Who Are You Really? (Identity Crisis)
If you hit your head and woke up in a hospital and the doctor said you lost your memory completely. What would you say? You wouldn't know your own name. Your past life is blank. "I am" is all that matters. Where do you exist?

Your thoughts, emotions, body and beliefs all influence your "identity." We put so much emphasis on our past when deciding who we want to be today. You are not your labels. You are not your past. You are not your identity. You are everything and nothing. Beyond death and birth, you are infinite!
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How can we hold onto our identities more lightly?


When you take birth, you are extremely vulnerable. You’re at the whim of all the forces around you, so what you develop through socialization are techniques for your own survival as a separate entity. That survival comes from creating boundaries so that you don’t just get wiped out. Those boundaries as a little person, as a child, are enlarged by being a member of your family, where you have allies, and are now a part of a group. It becomes, “I have people that are gonna help me. We’ve agreed to help one another.” You know, not all the time, but I’m thinking more in physical proximity than in a psychological sense.

So we grow up feeling that our identity groups gives us power, while it’s also securing our separateness. You can see this within the bigger system of nation-states where there are these huge egos. What’s very interesting historically at the moment we’re living in, is that the sometimes multicultural economic structures are becoming more powerful than the nation-states. The nation-states are in deep doodoo economically, and the industries are doing great. So that the reference to, “I am an American,” while it’s great, is no longer absolute salvation for you, because there’s a whole other ball game playing here.

Now, the more insecure people get, the more they’re frightened by existing conditions.

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What is the ego?

What is the ego?

The ego is the aspect of the mind that feels personal. It emanates the boundary of "me" and "I." We can observe in a newborn child that the personal sense of "me" has not yet crystallized. A newborn may be crying loudly one moment and perfectly content the next. States of mind seem to come and go without a central identity holding on to experiences.

By the age of two, toddlers start to use words like "me." "Mine" can become a favorite word in this stage. This is a sign of the ego crystallizing. The greater mind is creating a demarcation within itself, a sub-identity, which we have given a first and last name.

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Creating Your Own Enlightenment


To be enlightened has many positive connotations and no negative ones. Therefore, you’d think that more people would pursue it—but they don’t. The first obstacle is the lack of a clear definition. What does it actually mean to be enlightened? The simplest definition, which would clear away a lot of confusion is “waking up.” To become enlightened is to move out of a state of confusion and conflict, anxiety and depression, or simply dull routine—whatever you associate with “being asleep.”


Waking up is a metaphor, since most people already consider themselves awake in the ordinary sense of not being asleep in bed. But it’s a powerful metaphor, pointing toward a state of awareness better than what we usually experience. Also, the metaphor is simple. It implies that you don’t have to be a monk sitting in a Himalayan cave practicing intense spiritual practices. Waking up sounds a lot like enlightenment for all. This in fact is true.

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Why It’s Important to Let Go of Hobbies that No Longer Serve You


Every year at the end of March I get excited about planting my garden. Whether the Midwest air has turned a corner toward warmer days or the threat of frost hasn’t quite left, it doesn’t matter. Once April is in my sights, I start thinking about what I want to grow in my small garden for the season. It’s a ritual I’ve enjoyed every year for more than 10 years. Watching the fruits of my labor (yes, pun intended) blossom into something nourishing for my family served me a tremendous amount of joy. The garden is where my youngest daughter and I experimented with different varieties of tomatoes, tried our hand at growing watermelon, laughed when we pulled vines from the ground and discovered potato-like roots (tubers, for those of you wondering), and were genuinely shocked the first time grape tomatoes grew from the previous years’ fruits that we left rotting away over the winter. Working in the garden was a new experience every year.


Unfortunately, though, time marches forward.


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