Who am I?
The fundamental question we will all ask ourselves at some point in our lives.
Who are you really? When you strip away all the labels you carry and the roles you play, what is left? When we become the observer of our own lives, what do we see? If we go beyond the mind and into our spiritual selves that lives in the heart, what do we see then? How would you describe who you are? What is your essence?
Definition of essence according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary
a: the individual, real or ultimate nature of a thing, especially as
as opposed to its existence
b: the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a thing or person
c: one that possesses or exhibits a quality in abundance, as if in
Essence cannot be seen. It is the spirit of something or someone. It is that photograph that catches the personality of a person that is not seen but felt. Essence is the painting that captures the essence of a landscape – of a place in nature – that can only be felt through being there to experience it.
The Buddha taught that your purpose in life is to discover your true nature…..your essence. When you ask yourself, “Who am I?” on a daily basis, your answers start to go beyond your ego mind, and surface from the core of your being. The key is to not accept the immediate answers – the labels – because those will be the first things that come to your mind. Your mind is your human experience. Who you are is your spiritual being.
Who you are not:
Labels are what you call yourself in your head. They are the tags that you attach to yourself, to describe the person you think you are. These can be both positive and negative, and they also involve the roles we play out in our lives. The roles we play in our family life, and in our career. Your name is also a label.
Examples of positive type of labels are: career woman, super mom, a lover, a wife, a nurse, a teacher, an artist, a lawyer, an energy worker, etc. Some negative labels might include: ugly, fat, over-weight, stupid, selfish, not-worthy, etc. We need to watch our self-talk, which comes from the ego mind – it is a construct of the personality. Your words are prayers. Your thoughts are prayers – so treat them as if they can manifest in an instant because they can. If you are constantly telling yourself you are not worthy, whether in words, thoughts or through the things you do, whether consciously, or unconsciously, guess what you are attracting? You are bringing to you more situations and experiences that reinforce the idea of your unworthiness. But, this is also not who you are.
Labels are also the tags that society attaches to you, to describe who you are. Examples of these might be: a diabetic, an addict, an alcoholic, a care taker, a witch, a dreamer, a person with heart disease, a person with ADHD, a PHD, a high school drop out, homeless, middle class, rich, poor, etc. These are also not who you are.
When we distill ourselves down to our essence, these labels disappear. We are not these things. So who are we then?
Who are you?
We can make a simple start and touch the surface of this idea, by asking ourselves these questions: What is it that you do intuitively without even thinking about it? What are the things in your life that you could not live without doing or being? Behind the labels, what is left? What are your passions? What lives in your heart? Have you left something behind that you long for?
So for example: I am not Candace Moon, 5’7” tall, brown eyes and brown hair. I am not a mother, a stay at home mom, or a homeschooler. I am not an artist, a designer, or an energy worker. I am not divorced. I am not what I have done, where I am from or how I look. These are elements of my personality. It is said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. The spiritual being is your true essence – your human experience creates your personality. They are not the same thing. Just like your human DNA ancestry is not the same as your soul’s ancestry. They are two separate things.
Who am I?
I am a creator. I am creative. In everything I do, I love the process of being creative and the act of creating. I love to create anything. I love making handmade pottery, plant medicine, crocheting, drawing, cooking, and baking.
I am organized: without organization I would feel lost. An unorganized space makes me uncomfortable.
I am a planner. I keep a calendar of everything that is going on in my life, places I need to be, things that need to be done, our homeschooling schedule, meal planning – I plan everything. It’s part of being organized. Having said that – I crave spontaneity in my life. So every now and then we throw the schedule out the window and do what we want. I love that and need that in my life.
I am a knowledge seeker. All of my life I have felt the need to learn. I followed my passions, my interests, and my desires. I have always been fascinated about learning about other cultures through their art, architecture, food, and ceremony. For me there is so much we don’t know. The more we know, the more we know what we don’t know.
I am a healer – I have healed myself. I can hold space for you while you find your inner healer.
I am passionate. I am a passionate lover, a passionate mom, a passionate gardener, and a passionate artist – I love what I do and put my whole self into it.
I am an outdoor enthusiast. I love to be outside, but mostly, I love to be out in the woods – in the mountains. Being beside a creek in the forest, next to a lake, hiking to the top of the mountain, and finding hidden places and spaces, is my bliss. I love camping, canoeing, kayaking, foraging for wild edible and medicinal plants, the sound of flowing water and bird songs.
I am an animal lover. I love connecting with animals. Just like humans – they are all so different in spirit and personality. They have so many lessons to teach. Look into a horse’s eyes and you see into their soul. And it’s as if they see you too.
I see life in everything. Everything is alive.
What do these things have in common?
I am one with all beings. I am the creator in my life. I am vast. I am the rainbow, the rocks and the trees. I am unity, harmony and balance. That is who I am: and because of that, I am you too and you are me.
When we get rid of labels we touch on our essence. Labels are a general category we happen to fall under, and largely they are seen on the outside of us – on the surface. They do not describe our unseen nature. When we can see our essence, it helps us to see where we are compromising ourselves to fit a label, or to fit into our current situation because it is comfortable. Taking the labels away helps us remember who we are, what we have always loved to do, and to bring that back into our lives and act from a place of authenticity. Once you do this exercise you might realize you really don’t fit in to your current career position and start to wonder why you ended up there. It helps us to see where we have compromised, and where we might have lost our essence along the way. It helps us to shift our perspective. We start to recognize what is a story and what is actually true about us.
How do we find our true and whole essence?
We need to quiet the mental chatter in our minds – the voice that is always talking, always thinking. You need to recognize that voice in your head is not you. You are the one who is aware of the voice. Become aware of how you react to things in your life. Become aware of your thoughts. Watch your thoughts pass like clouds – observe them – see where they are coming from. How often are you driven by old stories? We need to practice mindfulness in our everyday life in order to become the witness in our own lives. We need to become the witness in order to see our patterns, the old stories we are carrying out that do not fit us anymore, or the ones that aren’t even ours. Being the witness helps us see the wounds that need to be healed. The witness happens from our spiritual self. We witness our thoughts, our mind, the things we tell ourselves, and we re-examine them. Is this true for me now? Is this serving my highest good? Is this who I want to be? Is this who I am?
These are big questions, and they will take time to answer. Becoming a witness takes time. It is a practice and an awareness that needs to be cultivated. We are taught to act and be from our humanness – from our mind. The problem is – that is not who we are. Who we are is inside of us. We do not need to learn anything to discover it. Everything you need is inside of you. When we practice looking within, and becoming the witness, we can discover things about ourselves that even we had been hiding from – which can be scary to confront. But we are in an age of deep transformation and change and this is the type of work that needs to be done to move forward. We need to become WHO WE ARE. We have been acting for long enough and our entire world has been created and perpetuated from a story we were told, believed, and followed through with. In order to write a new story, we need to act from a place of authenticity, drop the masks, the labels, the acting out of someone else’s story, and face who we really are. We need to become that, embody that, and treat it as a sacred act. I’m not saying it’s easy because, believe me, I know it isn’t. I’ve been in there and done that. But nothing about what we are living in now is easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.
To your journey. May you strip away the darkness and become the light.