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Pathways

Strip Down … and …

Who am I?  Where am I?  Why am I here? 
If those thoughts have ever jumped up inside of you:  YES! 
If those thoughts have never entered your mind:  It’s time!
It’s time to Strip Down and BE You. 
Look around – how is it working for you when you are “fitting in”, when you are simply copying what others are doing because somewhere, somehow that was announced as “normal.”  Normal, of course only means that in the process of time the idea outlined by one person or one group suddenly was accepted by the collective.  Thus we arrive at collective conditioning or social conditioning.  Once those ‘norms’ are prevalent they guide our lives together.  It is interesting to consider that these norms are actually all set in place to ensure positions of power, they are based on comparisons and hierarchical thinking. This, in other words means the creation of differences through the creation of labels. 

Once we begin to strip down all those labels we are able to reclaim or power, infuse self-love and peace into the process of society and enable all of us to live our lives our way. 

Why does that matter? And what do I mean by this? 
First, by living our lives our way we are able to love ourselves, accept ourselves and thus be at peace.  This is crucial as it demonstrates the lack of aggression and an end to comparisons, which only lead to aggression, feelings of unworthiness, and – basically – a never ending cycle of stress and unhappiness in the pursuit of someone else’s ideals.
Second, by living our lives our way we are able to reconnect with our purpose and understand that the main purpose is to BE ourselves, that our potential resides in the innate talents we have individually and that individually we are all needed;  we are needed just the way we are to contribute to humanity together.

When we begin to grasp that we can begin the process of stripping down. Yes, really stripping down all the labels.  Think about it because you are also using them so it may not come that easy depending on how “socialized” you are, your own background, your own experiences, your own views.  Still, indulge me and join me in this exploration.

Start with identifying the labels that you are wearing.  For example, when you meet someone in a social setting; what are the first few questions someone asks? Hopefully the first thing is “ What is your name?” ….. do you then introduce yourself with your name?  “Hi I am _______,” and you probably add “nice to meet you.”  Your name and the way you pronounce it will bring up associations in the person asking.  Associations that are assumed to indicate your background, your educational status, and more.
Let me ask you – what does your name say about you?  Do you really find it nice to meet the other person?  Are those labels? 

Next is often the question: “What do you do?”  This is where the labels begin to really burst into the open!  Your profession and place in that profession are now on display.  Those are immediate labels, labels that carry an association with them about your social standing as well as your economic status.  Those associations may be right.  Those associations may be wrong.  Those associations, regardless, build the foundation for what is next. The labels are being attached.

In all actuality the labels begin before the first word is ever spoken.  They begin the minute you walk into a room or pick up the phone or arrive at the meeting.  The first labels begin with the way you look.  Are you a redhead, a blonde, brown-haired, bald, tall, short, and so forth? Are you wearing a suit, a sweatshirt, shorts, a bathing suit, and so forth?  Are you driving an old beat-up Honda, a Lexus, a BMW, a bike, a motorcycle, a manual or automatic, or did your walk here? 

If this all occurs on the phone, the associations – and thus the labeling – begins from the moment the line is open.  What is the connection like?  Are you late for the call? Is there background noise?  Are you breaking up because you have bad reception?  Are you speaking very loudly?  Is your grammar correct?  Not to mention that at times your name may not matter, instead it might your reference number, your social security number etc. Now you are a number with a statistical file.  At times your file may be the pre-cursor for labels prior to the conversations actually taking place.  What is in the file are labels, of course. 

Some of us even come with “warning” labels – such as “redheads are ….”, “people from ___ are” etc.

In addition to those labels, what others are you wearing?  One of my favorite questions in my trainings is “who are you?”  It’s a very deliberate question – so think about it for a second.  What is your answer?  Most likely, and yet not always, the answers go like this: I’m ____ (your name), I’m a _______ (your profession), I am a ___ (marital status), I am also a mom/dad/uncle/aunt/daughter/sister …. And I like ____ (hobbies). 


Is that you?  Or all of these roles you have in life?  Meaning, are those all labels you wear? 

You see, we all have them.  The question is: are you in control of them or is someone else?  When you pick your clothes in the morning – who is the decision maker?  Who has the power? It’s easy to say “they make me” and yet, don’t you have the power to decide what to wear? Yes, there may be certain parameters for your professional appearance and we tend to abide by them. At the same time, within those parameters there is also a freedom of choice.  At the highest level you can withstand the parameters (collective or social conditioning) and “do you thing”.  That may lead to you needing to change professions – not because of someone else though.  That would be your choice. 

The question at the heart of all this is: who as the power and what labels are you accepting AND using yourself?  For example, when someone asks me, what is your background?  In the U.S. that is a common question and it’s a way to figure out in politically conditioned correct ways what my “race” is.  Of course, there was already an assumption based on the way that I look.  So this question is trying to dig deeper, really to my ethnicity (which is the more scientifically correct question anyhow).  My answer is:  “I’m human.”  At times I may throw a curve ball by adding “this time around” or stating it more like “I’m having a human experience.”  That’s just my way of having fun and seeing if the other person is open to another level of conversation.   “I am human” is the response because that is what we all currently are, stripped down: human.  Everything else is added onto us. 

(Please note that I will keep a discussion of the term race for another column)

Let me speed forward.  The strip down to the bone, to the core of ourselves is essential. It is essential because when we are born we are not aware of those labels.  We are magnificent super-beings that cannot be hurt by anything and that love ourselves and everything else.  We don’t hold back when we like something and don’t like something.  No conventions apply.  Then we have the first understanding of a label:  A pink or blue room.  The term “boy” or “girl” is applied.  BOOM.  Girls are one thing.  Boys are another.  Boys like blue.  Girls like pink.  Really?
From there on we move into “label bonanza”!
From there on we move into comparisons and hierarchies.
From there on we begin to lose touch with all our superpowers, self-love, self-confidence as we now are placed into boxes with labels. 

It is a surprise that when we get older we may not know who we are?  Is it a surprise that when we get older we may feel stressed and unhappy? Is it a surprise that at some point in our live we have what is called a “midlife-crisis” – which funny enough can occur at any point in life and really is an identity crisis –  a sudden awareness that we have no clue who we are outside those labels.

So, isn’t it time to Strip Down and reclaim our power so we and everyone else can BE who they are so that there is more self-love, love, confidence, and happiness in each of us and thereby in the “collective”?

It is time to Strip Down … and … Show yourself!

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