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Choosing the Real You

October 4, 2013

butterfly art“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes

it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  – Maya Angelou


In our busy world of cyberspace, iPhones and multi-sensory, multi-media advertisements and entertainment, we are bombarded daily with messages that want us to believe that we are missing something in our lives; that we are somehow inadequate just as we are. Our aging bodies need a lift, a tuck, a new exercise routine, a new diet; our breaking hearts simply need positive affirmations, a new wardrobe, or a new attitude; our fears about our finances, our job security, our retirement funds just need a more stable economy, a different president, a get-rich-quick scheme.

Our culture would have us believe that if we “do” just the right thing, all of our problems will be solved, all our wounds healed, all of our hopes secured. It’s easy, it seems to say, if we just choose to spend the money to do the thing they suggest.

We are easily sucked in by our culture’s flashy, attention grabbing, charismatic presence and the ever constant pressure to  “look and see”. No matter how hard we try to avoid doing so, we are drawn in, if only for a brief moment when checking our email. In a flash our attention turns to our inadequacies, the imagined missing pieces in our life and we subconsciously, or consciously, add another check mark to the list of inadequacies and self-criticisms. In that moment, our social self is in charge. We long to measure up to all of the external expectations that have been with us since we first discovered how to get our parent’s attention.

Suppose instead, there a cultural, social pull in our lives? What if every morning we arose to see only our soul self reflected in everything around us? What if the first thing we saw was a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower, or the face of pure and unconditional love smiling down upon us? What if what we saw all around us was a perfect reflection and reminder of how perfect we are, just the way we are? There would be nothing to add to our “to do” lists, or “don’t do” lists;  just pure creative drive arising from our deepest, truest desires?

It’s not such a stretch. It’s more of a choice. Each moment we are awake and alert, we have the power to harness our will to choose where to place our attention. The discovery of the essential self, or the soul self,  is not a simple, easy process in a world gone mad with the superficial, but like my grandmother used to say, “nothing worthwhile is every easy”.  But, when we make the choice to tune in our self’s center, be it by practicing mindfulness or meditation, going on a nature walk or journaling, we our opting out of cultural expectations and pressures and opting in to self-discovery and personal/spiritual growth.  

It is not a one and done choice. It is an ongoing series of choices, a practice, a lifestyle, a developed pattern of behavior that returns to us the gift of life, meaning and purpose. When we do not make this choice voluntarily, chances are  the culture will make the choice for us, by drawing our unfocused attention again and again to its message.

© Dorothy Sander 2013


12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2013 3:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Nwlambear's Blog.

  2. October 4, 2013 5:42 pm

    The placement of our attention – no matter the external circumstances, we always have the freedom to choose what we give attention to. And since attention is good, what we feed will grow in our lives.

  3. October 5, 2013 3:35 pm

    My Philosopher friend: Grateful to you for once again calling out and naming sly, culturally imposed values that produce vague doubts, drain positive energy and squeeze out the light of self awareness. Thank you Dorothy! xo, SofI

    • October 5, 2013 3:59 pm

      So good to see you here! I just visited your blog today and plan to share your video. Hope you’re doing well!

  4. October 5, 2013 3:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Feed the Beauty.

  5. lucindasagemidgorden permalink
    October 6, 2013 11:02 am

    Dorothy, Thanks for posting your most timely thoughts. It always comes back to us doesn’t it. That’s where the work toward change has to take place.

  6. October 9, 2013 2:02 pm

    Well said!

  7. October 28, 2013 12:30 pm

    Yes, thank you. What a good reminder to keep trying to focus on the things that matter.

  8. October 31, 2013 10:25 am

    I have to keep reminding myself of this: statistics show diabetes takes xx number of years off our lives. I have diabetes.
    Some doctors are saying we need to reduce waistline measurements to 35 inches or below. Mine is hovering about 35 inches.
    Physical trainers say we should do aerobic exercise a half hour a day/3 hours a week/a full hour twice a week depending on who is talking. We should eat fish 3 times a week, however this will increase the mercury intake. When I start to worry, I remember my mother and her 3 sisters. They were all diabetic, obese, and exercised very seldom. They did die–the youngest was 88. The oldest 92. What, me worry?

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