Monday, December 13, 2010

Defining Ourselves


Who are you? How do you describe yourself, to yourself, and to others? Do you define yourself by your occupation? By relating yourself to your family members? By your Medicine? By your beliefs? What makes you who you are? And how do we determine this?

First, I want to talk about stereotyping, and how we tend to do that to ourselves. By defining ourselves into one category, we are only limiting ourselves, and our potential. If, for instance, we say that we are a Southern Baptist (not to pick on them, but, well, maybe I have reason to!), then we are shutting out potential knowledge of other paths. And I have to relate this to Christianity, due to the Crusades of Christianity, that attempted to wipe out everything and everyone that did not follow their beliefs. It was the same when the "Pilgrims" landed in this country, even though they claimed to be here in order to exercise their right to Religious Freedom, when, in actuality, they instigated their own Crusade against pagans, witches, and Natives - or any others who didn't follow their beliefs. Perhaps they didn't kill them all, and instead set about converting them to their "one true faith".

I have to ask myself if God would disown us, shun us, for not being any one specific religion. A real God would not ever do that. Would God choose to have others intervene on our behalf, for His grace, instead of allowing us to speak to Him ourselves to plead our own case? I think not. Yet, from my understanding at least, a Preacher or Priest is one who would do this for us. In a way, this is like telling us that we are not good enough to speak with God ourselves, so they must do it for us. On the other hand, it's always beneficial to have others pray for us, while we are praying for ourselves.

For me, it's really a matter of supposed superiority. Why do we allow others to tell us who we are? Granted, others are going to define us however they choose, but we do not have to accept that. We do not have to be influenced by others opinions of us. Nor should we let those said opinions, stereotypes, prejudices, nor the beliefs of others, shape our lives, nor our beliefs or practices.

Here I am, writing a Spiritual Healing blog, and hoping to infect you with my own brand of belief system, yet I wish to do it by making you think for yourself, act for yourself, and find that which works for you. That is my belief. If we do not follow our own true Path, we are living another's Path. If we blindly follow any belief system, without questioning everything about it, we are living blindly, by choice. I can no more tell you how to worship, than I can tell you how or what to eat, or how to raise your family. No one can, and that's my point. What you do in your own belief system, has to work for you. If it doesn't, throw it out and find what does work for you and your life, and your Path. What you believe, and how you practice that belief, is between you and the Creator. No one else is a part of this, nor should they be.

This is also about superiority, as I mentioned. We are all equal in the eyes of the Creator. We are, each of us, equal to every living being on this planet, including animals, trees, and plants. We've gotten so far away from nature, that we believe ourselves to be superior to it, and this belief begets other, more devastating spinoffs, such as believing we are superior to other humans, or others in our caste, church, or belief system. While there are always Elders, and those with more knowledge than we ourselves hold, and they should always be respected for their wisdom, none are superior in the eyes of the Creator. We each put on our pants, one leg at a time. We each must face the Creator one day to explain how it is that we thought ourselves superior, or above, any other living thing.

Going back to the stereotyping, let's say that on my resume, I list that I am a Chef. Does that keep me from getting a job as a dishwasher, even though I need the money? Yes, I'd be over qualified. You see, stereotyping can also apply to your resume, or the face you put on out in public. To say that I am a Mixed Media artist, kind of keeps me from exploring other mediums, if only subconsciously. To say that I am Native, I am Pagan, I am Wiccan, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Taoist, is a defining quantification, that can potentially shut us off from seeing or understanding those of other faiths. To truly open our minds, we have to open our hearts to others, we have to have compassion for others, we have to be willing to accept that others may not have the same beliefs that we hold as true, nor the same morals. We cannot change another's path for them, they must do that for themselves. And if it does not resonate with them, nothing will change. We can no more expect others to follow us blindly, than expect ourselves to do the same. And no one should ever do that! It's demoralizing to expect anyone to submit to anyone else's belief. Submit - key word: indicating that a superiority is implied. Is that too harsh? From where I sit, this is what Christianity in America did to all of it's Native Peoples - forced them to submit, or else. We no longer need those labels, those enforcers, nor that abuse. It's time to step away from it, and stand on our own two feet, in our lives, and in our beliefs.

"Finding one's true Path sometimes means stepping outside the accepted norm, going out on a limb, going beyond that which already exists in belief, and accepting responsibility for your own path. We are not here to follow others blindly, but to follow our own heart. For only in following our hearts, will we find the reason we have chosen this lifetime. Be true to yourself, first, and always." ~Mi

What I am attempting to do here, with this blog, is to help us all find a common ground, to help us all to accept that we cannot find our truest selves, our highest selves, without first finding out what we believe, for ourselves. Experiment with things, read about other paths and faiths, explore them, meditate, pray, seek balance and centeredness in your life, in all that you do. Faith is not something that only rears it's head on Sundays, it's something we must live with every day of our lives. If you are going to live with it everyday, it must work for you, it must be a comfortable fit, even if it does not follow any predefined doctrine. Let go of that judgment, that you are wrong if you don't believe as others do, if you don't behave as others do, if you don't act or think as others do. This makes you unique, which is a GOOD thing. We are all, each of us, unique, and meant to be unique. What works for one, does not have to work for you.

All of that being said, now let's talk about how we define ourselves. I think a good opening statement for me would be, "I am a spiritual person who is willing and open to exploring all that there is, in this lifetime." Not that this defines all that I am. Perhaps, when with a different group of people, I might begin with, "I am here to heal, both myself and others". What does that say about me? Realistically, it says that I am defining myself differently, depending on where I am or who I'm with. Is that healthy? No. We must bring into alignment all that we are, at all times. We must "Walk our Talk", in all areas of our lives. I may be a sister, mother, aunt, and niece, but at all times, I am a Woman. We might be part Native, part Irish, but at all times, we are Human Beings. The labels we use define us, and where we are on our Path. We will never become One World, One People, One Heart, if we keep separating ourselves with our words. It's time to step into who we are, in all places, at all times. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. I am Love.


Enough with the labels. Let's begin seeing beyond that, to who we truly are, in our heart of hearts. I want to issue you a challenge here today. I challenge you to list all of your talents and abilities, your strengths, your areas of wisdom, of expertise, and then see how you can combine them to describe who you really are. I'm thinking that if we can do this, it will help us to be more in tune with who we really are, at all times and places in our lives, in all situations, with all people. Define yourself by your highest good, with love and compassion as your guide.

Now, who are you? How do you define yourself?

With love and healing, may you find your highest self.
Walk in Beauty,
Michelle

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