Sunday, October 23, 2011

What Defines You?

I've seen a lot of these lately, in my flipping through the many pages of facebook. In fact, that is where this one, this "Badge" or "Poster" as they call it in the social media world, came from. I promptly "lifted" (another techy term) this one right from some unaware, well meaning individual. I wish I could remember who. Even the identifying print at the bottom has become fuzzy in the many "shares" of it's life.

There's an edge to this one. I get it. I mean I "get" the intended point, which I believe is meant to be a good thing. And, in reality, it is. It's what I have taught each one of my girls and it's a belief I work on with myself. Don't base your worth on what other people think of you. But there's just something... "In your face" about this one. I imagine myself speaking these words to an actual human being. (Which, I believe we forget out there in the world wide web) But who would I say this to, and under what circumstances? Think about it. Would I say this to my husband, to my children, to my who? And if I did, even though it's a "truth" I live by, how would this declaration make the person I am speaking to feel? Really?

And then there's the question, at least in my mind there's the question, "What does define you?"
To begin with, let's define define...


  [ dih-fahyn ]  verb  -fined,  -fin·ing.

verb (used with object)
to state or  set  forth the meaning of (a  word , phrase, etc.): They disagreed on how to define “liberal.”
to explain or identify the  nature  or essential qualities of; describe:  to define judicial functions.
to fix or lay down  definitely ;  specify distinctly:  to define one's responsibilities.
to determine or fix the boundaries or extent of:  to define property with stakes.
What is the meaning of you? What is your nature or essential qualities? What is definitely you? What are your boundaries? At the risk of  making things more complicated than they might need to be (which I have been known to do) or maybe at the risk of making things too simple (depending on your school of thought) I will answer all the above questions with one answer:


Nothing defines me. Not even I define me. The minute I define myself, or allow anyone or anything to define me - no matter how righteous - I am imprisoned within it's constraints. It's the old reality of impermanence sneaking up on us once again. Everything comes to an end. Happy gets sad, rich gets poor, healthy gets sick, young gets old, professionals get passed by, eyes get blurry, fast gets slow, people change careers, they change marriages, they change styles, they change beliefs, they move to new cities, they grow beards, cut hair, move teeth, loose legs and find freedom in experiencing something they never dreamed of experiencing. The minute we finish the sentence, "I am..." we give life to these identities, and in doing so, become the ghost of an image that exists in one place only, and that is in our minds. We forget that who we are is not found in our minds or in any one's mind for that matter. Who we are is found only in our "Being". And with each new cell growth, with each exhale, with each blink of an eye we are changed. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe, said "Everything flows, nothing stands still." He said it's like stepping into a river - you never step into the same river twice. How true! Whether we are talking about a river, or a human being, or time itself - there is what something was - there is what something will be - and then there is the space in between. A space that cannot be pinned down, cannot be defined...THAT is where you and I reside. Always changing. Never the same.

What beautiful freedom exists when we understand this! Tragedy does not define me. Sickness does not define me. Success does not define me. Beliefs do not define me. In being defined by Nothing - I am Everything, abounding in possibility.  If I could wish for one truth for my daughters to understand, it would be this. To wake up each morning unshackled from the regrets of the past, emancipated from the definition of what "should be" and  empowered by the freedom that comes in the understanding...

I am.

This is the message, the badge, the poster I choose to share!

If you would like to "lift" one of these badges for your blog or facebook page, FEEL FREE ! Or, if you are unsure how to do so, send me an email and I can send them to you as an attachment.

I wish you the peace that comes in knowing
you are everything you need to be, right here, right now,
in this very moment.


abcsofra said...

An inspiring post! And I try to live this every single day of my life....the simple and truthful of "I am". It is ironic that since being diagnosed with ra, I find myself spending what little energy I have on living the "I am" philosophy rather then focusing on what others may or may not think of me. I just don't have that energy anymore but it has actually been a blessing. I also like the "I am" philosophy because it keeps me soundly planted in the here and now. I find that if I flounder too long in the past or the future, I miss the part of living to the max. I want to live to the max at this very moment because I am sure I have the now. I am not so sure about tomorrow or the next and since I have already lived yesterday and that is gone...I live the I am as it puts me in the face of living every single day to my best abilities.

Theresa said...

Thank you. I try to do the same, but I must admit, when things start sneaking up on me, it's usually because I have somehow slipped away from this understanding. Focusing on the right "stuff" if difficult when focusing in general is a chore. I find that when I am sick it is easy to slip back into old ways of thinking - without even knowing it.
It's interesting to me that you mention that being sick has actually helped you. I have said the same things - many times. I often wonder if I would even be where I am at "spiritually" if not for becoming sick. It truly is something I am thankful for. Funny how that is. I remember reading, right after I first got sick, about a women that was actually thankful that she had Lupus. Not in any sadistic way, but just understanding that her illness had somehow made her a better person. For the life of me, at that time, I could not even comprehend her view. Now...I totally get it. I may not be a healthier person - but I am, by far, more whole.
And yes - every single day is a blessing.