On Being One’s Self

What would it be like to be your Self all the time? What could you imagine might happen?

Mark Nepo wrote in his book “The Book of Awakening”, the following passage:

“Like that old saying, “Water fills a hole,” the ways of others will fill the space we live in if we don’t feel that space with our own authentic presence. For a long time, I thought that keeping who I am to myself was the same thing as being myself quietly. I discovered it is not.

Not that we have to verbalize or shout everything, but we do need to be fully here the way a cliff accepts a wave, the way a stem of clover grows into the one patch of light left in the forest, the way corn sweats its sweet moisture when no one is looking.

In truth, there are always two blood reasons to be who we are. It is how we find love, and it is how we keep the ways of others from sweeping us away.”

I have been processing and contemplating this passage for a week now. And there are beautiful nuances that have sprung up by using it in my weekly yoga classes.

I’ve actually never heard the term ‘water fills a hole’, but I am growing to like the metaphor more and more.

If I am the hole, what do I want to fill it with? How do I not only want to refill the well within my soul, but what do I want to put in my life? How do I want to fill my days, my thoughts, my heart? How do I want to fill the physical spaces that I live in?
Of course I want to fill all these things with goodness, love, creativity, fun, and light.

And, what if I am both the water and the hole? By noticing what I love to fill my days and time with, then I am entering into good relations with knowing who I am here on Earth. On that level of knowing my likes and dislikes, my preferences, and acknowledging what my needs are, and my desires are, I am like the water moving into the whole. I’m entering more into myself with each insight, acknowledgment, and choice that I make. I’m building myself up from the inside out. And at the same time that I’m getting to know myself by being that whole, I am allowing that which is all the goodness that I want, to come into my life. I am receptive and open, letting life fill me up!

Now, I fully understand what Mark Nebo was also getting at with this metaphor of the water and the hole. If I am the hole, and I just let others dictate my life, then that too could be seen as the water filling the hole. In this regard, who I am becomes what other people want. Who I am then gets swept away and I become what society expects of me. I become what society and culture impresses upon me and what society determines as acceptable. Others have filled the hole of my Being, not my own authentic self.

Do you want to choose the water that fills you, dear reader? Or are you going to allow society to fill you up?

Now, I love Mark Nepo’s metaphor of being fully here, like the Cliff that accepts the wave. I’ve been thinking about this in two different sides of the same coin:

  1. The image of a beautiful large cliff and the waves just hitting the cliff, then moving back into the ocean. The cliff is myself, standing tall in my beliefs and upholding my worth. The cliff is me standing in my Light and accepting whatever comes at me. Accepting whatever happens and not crumbling, but rather just noticing. Noticing and then letting the energy disperse away, so that it does what it needs to do, like the wave going back to the ocean. The cliff is not worried about how the water perceives it. It just accepts the waves energy coming at it and stays standing tall in its strength, wisdom, and knowing.
  2. The cliff does not take in the wave. There is an acceptance of the wave hitting the cliff, but then the water falls and gets sprayed back into the ocean. The cliff acknowledges the wave. And, the cliff does not become the ocean’s water. The cliff stays true to its form. The cliff stays true to its own nature. And yet, the cliff receives the wave. An unconditional acceptance of understanding that the wave has a right to be here too. The wave has its own nature and it’s own characteristics. It’s as if the two can meet and say, “Wonderful to see you!” And, “Like what you’ve done with the rocks!” And, “Love what you’re doing with the seafoam!” Lol! Love, acceptance, and staying true to One’s own nature while respecting others!

And then there’s the corn! The corn that’s sweating it’s sweet moisture even when no one is looking. It reminds me of the phrase, ‘dance naked as if no one’s watching’. What would it be like to truly be yourself all time? Even when no one’s looking? Even when everybody’s looking? Perhaps especially when people are looking?

Now, this line that strikes me every time…”It is how we find love, and it is how we keep the ways of others from sweeping us away.”

What a revolutionary thought that by being who we are, we find love.

I imagine that what Mark Nepo means by “two blood reasons to be who we are,” is that here on this earth, at this time, in our body, these are the literal and visceral ways that being ourselves helps us. By being ourselves, it draws the love that we could never imagine towards us. Not just intimate partners, but the love and support of the energy all around us. Whether it be friends, or becoming intimate with a tree or a flower, we start to become love, feel love, and experience love.

Being who we are, and continuing to hold curiosity as to who we are, is one of the best ways to not lose ourselves. To not lose ourselves to society’s norms, to not lose ourselves to becoming what people tell us we should be. To not become anything that we aren’t, nor were we meant to be.

Because we are each meant to be ourselves. The beauty of who we are and all of our characteristics, traits, attributes, talents, personality, beauty, and unique gifts. These span far beyond just a job, this is the essence of what makes you, you!

So, stay true to you!

Speak up when needed so you don’t get trampled over. Stating your needs is not being “out of place” and “obnoxious”. “For a long time, I thought that keeping who I am to myself was the same thing as being myself quietly. I discovered it is not.”-Mark Nepo

Even when it gets uncomfortable to do so, stay true to you. It takes great courage to really be your Self. It takes great compassion to really be your Self.

It’s like the cliff just accepting the waves… we don’t have to struggle at ‘Being’ who we are all the time. Being our Self might just create the greatest release, and move us into an ease of living! Perhaps by being who we are, nothing is a struggle anymore?! At least not to us. If others get uncomfortable with us, that is their stuff. Love them, accept them for who they are, and love yourself as well.
(I didn’t used to feel or speak this way, I thought it was pushy, loud, rude, and mean. But, I am learning to love my Self more and more, and finding that it is not rude to stay true to my Self AND love others, especially when we are different. I pray for acknowledgement, communication, hearing stories, understanding, and love from all sides. Honoring each other’s differences and expanding in gorgeous ways from it!)

I think of some of my beautiful friends who have changed over the years, as have I. And I have seen, and also personally experienced, great challenges in staying true to One’s Self.

But, I have also seen, especially from personal experience, how it has only attracted greater love than I could ever have imagined. And not only love from others, but a greater love for myself.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, as I will always do my best to love you unconditionally.

All my love,
Shawna Emerick
Breathe and Believe.
*Photo credit to my lovely husband, Geoffrey Enriquez, the trees, the light, and the leaves!