By: Danielle Wilson
Life has recently reminded me just how multi-faceted I am, and how different people, places, and experiences tend to lure certain aspects of my being to the surface. It’s difficult to even comprehend the infinite parts that come together to make me whole, but I will attempt to culminate them into a few words, and before reading further, I’ll encourage you to do the same…
I am: hippie, earthy, loving, nurturer, strong, independent, intelligent, over-thinker, doer, achiever, anxiety-ridden, motivated, passionate, tough, emotional, compassionate, considerate, honest, argumentative, strong-willed, opinionated, open-minded, vulnerable, fearful, outgoing, ambitious, bubbly, introverted, artistic, connected, curious, thoughtful, energetic, unencumbered, still, moving, confident, hesitant, hard-working, patient, kind, particular, control-freak, type A, nutty, social, cool, silly, loud, eccentric, adventurous, single-minded, team player, leader, understanding, worldly, friend…
The list could go on for eternity, as could the lists of all beings in existence. When we dive into the conversation of who we are, we must realize that every word placed upon the thought is relentlessly limiting in its nature, as who we are is a complex collaboration of all of our parts. It can be staggeringly difficult to accept this boundless nature of Self. As I mentioned, this is an immense reality that can hardly be understood, which is why most people only feel they’ve attained such an outstanding view of Self for a single, existential moment in time via meditation, therapy, or psychedelic drugs, but what if I argued that words and thoughts are not the key to attaining your grasp on ALL of who you are? What if it is merely a feeling manifested through diverse connections, atmospheres and experiences?
I’ve been working towards expanding my social horizons and venturing outside of my comfort zone. I’m a few months into these endeavors, and the self-awareness I’ve cultivated through yoga and mindfulness has allowed me to sit as an observer of these connective experiences. I watch myself interact with certain friends, with acquaintances, or even with strangers, explore new places or challenges. I feel the shift happening in my body as my energy merges with people or atmospheres around me. There is a clear vision, in my mind’s eye, of specific portions of myself awakening to externalize for this person, or that experience, while other aspects of my being lie dormant, unamused, or sometimes too frightened to make face all-together. Taking in these observations, without judgement or attachment, has opened my heart to the importance of saturating my life with a vast variety of people, places, and experiences. It has served as a reminder not to assimilate so closely with one “version” of myself—an act of the ego in order to feel secure within identity—a sense that will always remain false in nature, as it can’t possibly incorporate all aspects of the true Self.
Although my ego may feel validated and secure when living under the notion that “I am a, b, and c,” this mindset and way of life is forever limiting, and in my opinion, cause for spirals of anxiety and/or depression. In my effort to connect more—with all beings and aspects of our world—I am finding that clarity of my most authentic Self comes when I balance my life with different people, places, and experiences that draw out the countless parts of me. Like a child playing dress up, every new moment is a chance to try out a different costume, fully live in that character for some time, and then, when the time calls, dust off another outfit I haven’t seen in a while.
This balanced fluctuation through facets of Self has left me feeling more centered than ever before. Finally, I feel I am allowing each portion of my being to externalize, play, and breathe. Awareness of Self is imperative in this practice, as it aids in determining who, what, and where trigger different aspects of my being. That way, when I hear the call to feel a little more this way, or a little less that way, I have dependable tools and tactics to draw upon in order to coax certain parts out of the infinite me. I also feel as if my emotions, in particular my anxiety and depression, are regulating with more ease, and I wonder if their presence from the beginning was due to portions of my being feeling suffocated, neglected, or on the other end of the spectrum, overly indulged upon. Intentionally placing equal love, care, and attention on my limitless parts of Self, allowing my life to encompass the vastness of who I really am, has brought harmony and growth to my spirit. Every day feels like an exciting new adventure, as does every person I meet, place I investigate, or experience I take in. The freedom I’ve gained from releasing attachment to any singular sense of identity is truly unparalleled. I feel like I can be anything and do anything because the way in which I am choosing to live my life is acknowledging that I am everything.