I am the oldest child in my family. I am a rule follower and am a bit of an extremist. If I want to learn something, I fully immerse myself in it. I create and maintain certain ideals and ideas that land me in my own jail. Perhaps you do it to.
Moms can’t ______. (be busy)
Farmers can’t ______. (eat out or get their nails done)
Teachers only _____. (teach)
Writers are always _____. (famous)
Medicine people can’t _____. (drink wine or wear makeup)
I have taken my occupations and made them my intrinsic identity. So whatever didn’t fit into the job description didn’t happen in my life. I am a healer. Therefore, being taught in the Native tradition, I cannot be a wine connoisseur (but I am!). I am compassionate therefore I should be vegan and feel guilty if not (at least vegetarian). I am a mom therefore I must live close and always be available (okay, well the last one probably isn’t going to change). I get these images in my life of what a writer or healer or farmer’s life looks like, what the décor is like, what they eat, what they wear, what they talk about, what they dream about, and stick to it like fly paper.
Time to undress. Our identities are the same as our first memory of ourselves. We as children. We at our most innocent and laughing self. That is still who we are. Our jobs, families, experiences, even our lifestyles do not dictate who we are. Our true self is totally different than our work or experiences. Peeling off layers is difficult but freeing. Pretty soon we can run around the place buck naked remembering who we are and participating in life without forgetting our inner spirit.
So a few days a week I will be working in my apothecary with my daughter while watching my granddaughter. I will design antibiotics for the upcoming season, blend smudge herbs for people, have tea, listen, counsel, make pain relievers.
Then a few days a week I will be working at a winery. I will lead people through the mysterious world of wine nuances, how to tell place and time of the grapes’ growth, how hot that summer was, how long the grapes sat in oak, or steel, all these things you can taste in a sip and a smell. I will help people find their favorite wine, dried fruit, jammy, rich, or sweet, minerally, and cool. Wine is a way to make people present, connected. You cannot be worried about anything while your nose is deep in a long glass smelling a world away.
Just like my writings, all of my work has two things in common, make people well, present, and happy, and they all include me as my true, original, passionate, excited self to present them. No different than my cat loving, dandelion collecting, dancing, writing, spotlight hog, leave me alone, twirly skirt wearing six year old self.
What identities do you need to separate from your true self?