I was leading a workshop on the weekend, trying to follow my introductory script, nervous because I had never lead a volunteer participation event like that - when my co-facilitator said something funny. I was writing down our "goals" on the black board (we were doing a bilingual routine on top of it). I automatically, without thinking, said, "Oh you should be a translator, you're so good at this" - and then I thought - Oops, I just forgot about my script about who I am - the facilitator, etc. and talked out loud something I was thinking casually. I was almost embarrassed, as if my slip was showing.
And yet, for a split second I was feeling natural, comfortable in my skin, as the French say (bien dans ma peau), and I just spoke without thinking about the effect on my audience.
A small moment of recognition, but an important one for me. Often, I find myself leading class discussions with the hat of 'teacher' on, or 'English and Mythology Major', or 'housewife' or 'menopausal woman'. I don't think those are my best moments. The book learning comes through, but the human presence is less. Less love, less feeling, less heart. When I talk to my kids, and put on the severe tone of homework-not-done reminder parent, there's not much love and it's very annoying to my teens.
When I forget my serious roles, and just laugh out loud at how happy I am cause my day is going well, or my singing makes me feel good, my daughter (14) looks at me, like "who is this person who's impersonating my mother?". I take my mother role too seriously, it seems.
So reading Eckhart Tole's new book, A New Earth, Awakening to your life's purpose, I was not surprised to read this : "Give up defining yourself-to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don't be there primarly as a function or a role, but as a field of conscious Presence."
Makes sense, doesn't it? Years ago when I began to meditate, the Indian mahatmas teaching us about the ego, the self, and the bliss within, often used examples and stories to show us that who we are really is not the 'hats' we wear on the outside, but the consciousness within. One of the Indian guys used to call me "Jennifer the Great" when he saw evidence of the ego pushing its way around. Then when the heart was open, he'd call me "Baby Jennifer". It was a cute reminder.
Somehow, ageing, working, studying, mothering, I have become identified with my 'hat's. In those brief moments when I am brave enough to be myself, it feels very freeing to let them go, let the wind twirl them off my head. Be 'baby me' again.
When I allow just being me to be enough. "I am enough" without my hats on. I don't need to change to earn your love, or praise, or good thoughts.
It seems there are always more ways of being enough.