Labels, they create a certainty that we all cling to. A certainty of who we are and how to relate. But why do we cling to this false identification? Why were the labels and measures and standards created in the first place? Are we afraid of our own true nature? Perhaps we haven’t known our true nature and these definitions keep us from the fear of the unknown. On my journey I have been labeled many things. I have experienced the lack identification as a young girl (ADHD) and then the identification with grandeur (International model & actress) as a teen and young adult. Both given to me not by God but by society. These extremes lead me to my own Truth, but first I needed to be willing to face what was in between the extremes. I had to stop running from one by proving the other. I had to be willing to sit in the void of the unknown, face the fears that came forward and find the awareness that existed beyond it all.
When I was a little girl I did things and thought in ways that defied convention. It was hard to find where I fit and often times this is when we fall into the definition of “disorder” or “deficit”. That which does not fit the current system of identification and order. The pain I experienced of being told I lacked something became my identity. At the young age of 7, I started to feel hopeless and helpless in a world that took from me that which I knew I was. I was told to take medication that would make it easier for me to conform. I was being forced into a way that was not natural for me so that I could have an easier experience in the world. I began to believe that something about me was wrong or bad because it did not fit in and was different than the majority. As you can imagine this was pretty traumatic. I accepted it for about ten years until I started to wake up out of that dream. I began having experiences that reminded me of my own wholeness. As I began to mature and develop I felt the world responding to me in a positive way. It made me question this lack I had identified with for so long. As I began feeling this new way, I also began to experience synchonicities and a connection with something magical that I did not yet have a name for.
As a teenager I entered the world of professional modeling. I began traveling the world and getting paid a lot of money for the way I looked. This new positive identification became everything to me. It saved me from the lack I previously hid under. This was my ticket to feeling good, being seen and praised for the first time. The amount of pressure I put on myself to maintain this new identity was at the detriment of my health and happiness a lot of the time. Behind this pressure was a massive fear cycle that I lived in for another 10 years. Any time I felt the lack being triggered I would go into over drive with the need to FILL IT.
It came to a point where the praise of one was no longer defending against the other. The constant need for the external fill of the void became too obvious for me to continue fooling myself. I was coming into this deep desire to stop running from myself and to start knowing my Truth.
For many years I traveled the world having elite experiences but still never able to feel that lasting inner satisfaction. Constantly afraid that the new identity would be proven wrong and the old one was right. Endlessly caught in the cycle of the illusion and separation. If It wasn’t one it was the other. Still not having a sense of True Self that I would own beyond the worldly identifications.
The aha moment came on a very simple day in 2011. I was an actress playing a reoccurring character on a soap opera called Day’s Of Our Lives. I was sitting in my dressing room at NBC and there was an electric keyboard sitting across from me. I grabbed it and started playing Für Elise, one of the songs I used to play as a child in piano recitals and competitions. I played it and felt this connection to myself that had never been lost. I realized in that moment that this acting job was not the security I was searching for. Neither was any other job, career accomplishment, relationship or thing out there. The thing that was bringing me joy in that moment was this inner connection to Self. It was this awareness that is always there whether we acknowledge it or not. It is the part of ourselves that is untouched and always whole.
This may sound simple but the effect it had on my life was profound. It was the day I felt safe to explore this Self more deeply and come home to the soul. This part of me that I had been distracting myself from for years was calling to come home. These external confirmations that never lead to an internal Truth were no longer working. This constant search to make sure that one identity wasn’t true and another was. These achievements that would confirm that I was enough, I was worthy, I was good. I realized that I didn’t need that anymore and what I wanted was something unconditional. What I was truly longing for was my TRUE SELF. Who was I without this constant seeking for my identity? Who was I behind the false securities of this world? Who was I when no one was watching, when no one was paying attention, when no one was constantly making me feel loved or like I existed? Who was I regardless of conditions and opinions?
That was the day I quit acting. Not because I didn’t love it but because I longed to know myself without it. I forced myself into the unknown with all it’s discomfort and uncertainty. My desire for Truth became greater than my desire to feel externally safe.
It was the scariest thing I have ever done. You can imagine all the fears of lack I had to face. I had to give up the identitfication with grandeur. The pendulum of my ego was swinging greatly. It was one or the other for a long time. I am not enough or I am better, neither of which were really me. I sat in fear a lot of the time but also had a lot of faith.
What I eventually discovered was something beyond measure. It’s been a tender journey. From time to time I would need a dose of my old life to feel “fake” certain. Even though I knew it was “false”, it still helped me in those moments. That dose of false identification was necessary to revisit and then recommit to my path. Getting rid of it completely without a replacement was inconceivable but ultimately it was the VOID that has transformed me. Each time I would go back to my old addiction of “external validation” I would almost stall my progress. That fake fill would save me from the depths of “nothingness” which was ok for the temporary feeling of safety. But then it would ware off and the old insecurity would return. It wasn’t stable or lasting, I was looking for lasting.
I constantly came back to the high road of daily meditation, taking care of my authentic needs and allowing myself to just BE. Each time a judgment or fear would come up I would talk to it and find out more. Where it came from and what it needed. I was filling myself from the inside.
Eventually I started to notice the richness of my new friendship to self and others, the authenticity in me being reflected in my world, the inability to tolerate judgment for others because I no longer entertained it in myself. I noticed my habits changing as well as a release of control on myself and life. I wanted to trust myself and be myself above all else, no matter what that meant.
I wanted to constantly contact that part inside that was always there, “the wise guide inside”. That unwavering truth, that knowing I had touched when I was a teen but did not know how to maintain.
I have come to know this as my authentic self. When we get real about how we feel we begin to heal back into the knowing that we are and always have been everything we are seeking.
The illusion of separation is what continues to keep us away from our authentic self. We see others as more powerful or less worthy but it is all just a mirror of our need to maintain the false self. I became free of the illusion when I reclaimed those parts of myself I left behind as a little girl. This was never anything broken that needed to be fixed, just something hurting that needed to be healed. The belief in lack as well as the belief in grandeur are what keep us in the illusion of being separate from others and reflect the separation we have feared within ourselves.
My new reality is a profound relaxation that comes when we no longer need anything to be any different than it is. We realize that we do not need to be any different than we are. We are no longer threatened because our identity is not based on external labels but on internal truths. It can not be taken and it is always certain. When we take away the meaning we have attached to something it still remains and so do you. When all else is gone or different, there is an awareness that remains the same.