Remember what it felt like to manoeuver and manouever to get the attention of that new boy or girl at school only to meet them and see they had no interest in us?
Remember what it felt like to kiss your date goodnight, see her amused smile, go home, and look in the mirror, only to see that you had blueberry pie all around your mouth?
Now flash forward to your adult years and remember what it felt like to be sitting at the head of the room, leading a meeting, knowing what needed to be done, feeling comfortable with yourself, and getting the job done.
Just get the difference in the two feelings. Experience the gawkiness, insecurity, and yawning dread of the teenager and the comfortable competence of the adult.
I personally prefer the comfortable competence of the adult.
The difference in feeling between the two is similar to the difference in feeling between coming from the constructed self and coming from the authentic self.
Coming from pre-fabricated ideas of who we are and how we should be, coming from our calculations and poses causes tension in the body, dampens our awareness, bottles up our courage, and leaves us second-guessing our every move.
Coming from a willingness to see ourselves as we are, to acknowledge our secret thoughts, our hidden agendas, and the reasons behind our strategies – in other words, being transparent – releases tension in the body, which then releases our awareness and our courage, and relieves us of the necessity of second-guessing ourselves.
The second way of being restores us to aliveness, full-self-expression, satisfaction, and bliss. The first way of being dampens them.
But to get there we have to open a door and walk through it. That door is what a colleague called “owning our own stuff.” We have to be willing not only to look at our warts-and-all self but to actually own it – to acknowledge it to ourselves and, if questioned, to others, to accept it and thereafter to run it from a point of awareness.
We’ll never entirely escape having a constructed self. Every diplomat or statesperson conforms to a constructed self. Musicians, artists, soldiers, athletes do. It isn’t a constructed self per se that’s the problem. It’s running it from a point outside awareness that’s the problem.
In my family we listened to Broadway musicals. And my Mom, when she brought food to the table, would pirouette across the floor and act out with gestures the piece of music she was listening to.
She once posed beside actor Tyrone Powers at a Shakespearean festival, in such a way to suggest that she was talking to him when she was not. She was a terrific card and my favorite sequence of photos of her was when she was laughing so hard she nearly fell off the steps.
She loved to act but she acted from awareness, as all fine actors do. And she didn’t have just one act; she had many acts. So a constructed self is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be the spice of life.
But when we’re not willing to stand there, acknowledging what others can plainly see, wanting to remain hidden, wanting to hold onto our deep dark secrets, that’s when the mischief begins.
We listen to spiritual advice. But our spiritual advisers may not tell us how to come out from our unacknowledged constructed self. They may not help us with conflict-reduction and conflict-resolution strategies. And many of us will be acting on a world stage.
We need to have looked at ourselves, to know our quirkiness and idiosyncracies, our hidden investments and agendas. A colleague said the other day, I’m happy to give you my distortion of reality. She’s in on the buzz. She knows how to reveal herself, warts and all … or perhaps pimples and all. (No, she doesn’t have warts or pimples.) She can laugh at herself.
Once a person has walked through that door, once they can say, yes, I got it on with a guy in the hospital linen closet; yes, I stole twenty dollars from Mother’s purse; yes, I cheated the bank, then a whole suit of armor falls off us and we have our emotional mobility and freedom back.
So that’s what I’m doing here now – trying to kickstart this process which is more often associated with the mind/body complex than with the spirit.
If you want to kickstart it within yourself, try filling in the rest of these sentences:
- Something I’m aware of about myself is….
- I see in myself that I….
- I feel….
- I have this thought that I….
- Secretly I feel….
- What I’m really after (or really trying to do ) here is….
- What I’m hiding is….
- I’m pretending to be….
- I want you to see me as….
This opening up to our constructed self is needed or we may find ourselves at the most inconvenient times with the apple cart up-ended. Some heckler from the audience reveals something about us and we’re not used to encountering that kind of revelation. Someone finds our button and presses on it repeatedly. (Well, you’ve seen me go off so you know what that looks like in my case.) Someone says something innocuous but it reminds us of our worst nightmares and away we go.
We reduce the chances of this happening by “looking at ourself,” as my colleague said.
We as lightworkers, looking at walking onto the world stage, cannot afford to be up-ended. So it falls to us to begin the process of self-examination and fessing up to what our hidden and constructed aspects are.