We all have a lot of titles thrown at us. There are the ones that tell us where we fit in a family. For me they consist of wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, grandmother, elder. Then there are those that define us in society … CEO, principal, homemaker, doctor, lawyer, carpenter, engineer, mechanic, healer, etc. There are titles and labels that further define us … homeowner, married, christian, democrat, vegetarian, unemployed, retired, etc. And then we have other ways of further defining ourselves … putting stickers on our vehicles identifying what we like or don’t like, where we or our children went to school, if we are an alumni, or ran a half or full marathon, etc., etc., etc.
At the same time we have millions of books, dvd’s, and other media trying to help us figure out who we really are and find that elusive state of ‘happiness’, self-realization, and contentment.
But all of this ‘misunderstanding’ started a long time ago … back in childhood. Sometimes we tried to ‘fit in’ or to ‘stand out’. Sometimes we wanted to be like the people we saw on television or in movies. Whatever it was that we thought was usually something that was impressed upon us … somewhere along the line of growing up. We were someone’s child, someone’s student, someone’s friend, someone’s enemy. We had our likes and dislikes, and a standard of behavior that was generally accepted by the people in authority. Growing up was complex because of all the input of information and the filters we had to use to know what was good, bad or indifferent; what was acceptable, not acceptable, or simply didn’t matter.
By the time we finish our schooling … which gets us another title or two … we have forgotten who we are and have already begun to think of ourselves as the titles we carry. Titles that come with an implied idea and message. What do you think of when you hear someone is a politician? Or, when someone is a police officer, or nurse, or CEO, or healer, or homemaker, or lawyer? What about the titles of mother, or father, or grandmother and grandfather? Each of those titles conjures up an image or idea of the person’s personality and status within their community. As we know … not all parents or grandparents are loving, nurturing people … but that is the image we conjure up when we think of those titles.
As I mentioned earlier, I have carried many titles in my life including … Systems Support Specialist, Vice President of Operations, Information Systems and Customer Care, Spiritual Life Coach, Owner, Cashier, Private Secretary, etc. But did they say who I really was?
No matter what titles you carry … there are some common things we all share. We all walk on the face of Mother Earth. We all drink and feed from the fruits of Mother Earth. We all have hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties. We are all human beings … from the same race (the human race), sharing the same planet, breathing the same air, feeding from the same source, looking at the same sun, moon and stars, living with the same predetermined cosmic laws, full of spirit, living in a physical body, facing the same eventual end.
Why would we ever come to believe that someone is more because they carry a certain title? We know, for example, that not all mothers are nurturing, loving, caring, selfless people … although we often choose to carry that image of them. Can we not look beyond the title and see the person for who they are? Can we not look beyond our own titles and positions and see the spirit that truly resides within our bodies? Can we read books and find ourselves housed in one of the chapters and walk away ‘knowing’ who we are? Can we look outside ourselves and find who we are inside? When did we stop uncovering the jewel that lies within us … discovering all that is authentic about ourself? More importantly, when do we START dismantling the fear that holds us in place, and BEGIN uncovering the jewel that lies within us? When do we step away from the fears that keep us in the dark and step into the light that binds us together as one?
Hartland resident Gayle Joseph is the owner, founder and elder at the Cedar Water Healing Lodge.