Thursday, May 08, 2008

the collective "they"

I looked at the young woman and I saw a hundred others; perhaps even a bit of myself. If we see it in someone else, we have it in ourselves. Fact or Fiction? What did I see in her? I saw the holding on. The struggle to maintain an appearance that she thought was pleasing. I saw her battling to stay in composure and keep others at a distance. And I saw her pleading for someone to come a little closer.

Is that not a struggle we all have? Come closer, but not too close. Searching for our true identity—one that we can call our own rather than one created to “please” everyone around us.

This week I have been helping facilitate a personal growth workshop for Soltura. With a little break in the action, I thought I would share the above ponderings along with the following words from Sue Monk Kidd. As always, I would love to know your thoughts.

“Change begins with the recognition that we’re not so much an “I” as a “they.” We may like to think that we’re individuals living out our own unique truth, but more often we’re scripts written collectively by society, family, church, job, friends, and traditions.

We need our outer roles and identities, of course, but we also need to live them authentically, in ways that are true to our unique and inner self. When we live exclusively out of the expectations thrust on us from without, rather than living from the truth emerging within, we become caught in the collective “they.”

So if all those roles were suddenly stripped away, what would be left? Who would you be then?”

--Sue Monk Kidd. When the Heart Waits

photo © h3images

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lucy....Hello! and loved the post particularily knowing that one of the 'theys' that you are facilitating on her journey is one of 'mine'! When I read you last post I agreed that we see ourselves in others....particularily when one lives in a sculpture called 'I'm OK what can I do for you?'!!! As the Course in Miracles says "anything expressed outside of Love is just another call for help and healing." I'm so glad you are there doing just that and that you continue to do that on your blog. Love to EVERYOME there with you....Love, Pamela

blisschick said...

To take Sue Monk Kidd's observation a bit toward buddhism, change can happen, finally, I think, when we realize there is no permanent "I" at all. This can be completely and utterly freeing -- the idea that we are never the same from one minute to the next and so can become whatever possibilities reside within us. Amazing stuff. But people are generally afraid of their own power.

Tess said...

I have that SMK on my unread pile. So many books, so little time!
To take this in a slightly different direction, in my experience once people become aware of their habitual masks, they can start beating themselves up a bit. "Why can't I be authentic, I must be a horrible, undeveloped person" kind of thing.
It can help to recognise the usefulness of masks - they are part of us to help us.
Just as in meditation, if you get frustrated at all the irrelevant thoughts that emerge, they have more power.
Acknowledge the thoughts, the masks, thank them, and it is easier to lay them aside.

BrettRam said...

Hi Lucy,

I love the SMK quote. Need to check her out some. I also love your sentiments about finding others within ourselves. It took me years to realize that life is my mirror. I was in such denial. LOL!

One of my fav quotes along these lines is:

"I am what I say you are...but only always"

Pax

BrettRam

lucy said...

great comments, dear readers! thank you.

blisschick--thanks for stopping by. i love the open possibilities when realizing that i am not the same person i was only a moment ago...at least not EXACTLY the same :-) the flip side is that there are certain aspects of us (our true self or core) that stay with us throughout our journeys...at least that's what i believe.

tess--when i think of monkey mind/ the ego/ masks, whatever...i like the attitude of addressing them with "thank you very much for your input, but i am going to listen to my heart/ true self today."

brett-- cool quote. the mirror has two faces, right?

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Great post. I agree with SMK that we're scripts written collectively by society, family, church, job, friends, tradition......how could we not be influenced by the places that we spend the most time. If we pick carefully through the collective resources, I believe that we can come up with a face that we're pleased to present, an actual authentic face that we need not be ashamed of showing.

SMK's remarks remind me of Brian McLaren's "A Generous Orthodoxy" - we cannot declare that we are of one faith or another without recognizing all of the faith patterns that have brought us to the point where we are.

I'm beginning to think I would be the person I am if I stripped away all of my "roles" -

xoxoxox

Karen said...

It's actually why I started to blog, and why I named my blog "Journey to Authenticity." I'm struggling every day to make one the person I truly am and the person I present to the world. It's still not happening--but I'm trying...and I pray to get there in the end.

lucy said...

SS--great connection with the brian mclaren quote. and what a wonderful place for you to be...beginning to think "you would be the person I am if I stripped away all of my "roles". i do not disagree :-) xoxoxoxooxoxo

karen--it is a wonderful struggle to undertake. i walk right alongside you! i truly don't want to sound like i "know what you need" (yuk), but i have read your comment several times and had the same "still small voice" speak to me each time. so, i am offering you to take a look at the soltura website. it is a place that is near and dear to my heart and i have seen scores of individuals move closer to their personal "authenticity" (including me :-) )

it is an offering from my heart--no strings or expectations attached :-)

www.soltura.net

peace.

Sunrise Sister said...

thank u
xoxoxoxo