by Larisa Stow
This past New Years Eve, one of our beloved fans brought a friend along with him to our transformance at Glen Ivy. I watched this fellow sitting off to the side, challenged by the face-paints we were wearing for the holiday celebration… and I could venture to say he was probably challenged by a lot more than just our celebratory make-up. He was uncomfortable with our bold self-expression, he thought that we must be “pagan”. My initial reaction was disappointment and angst because I wanted him to see us for who we truly are, not some limited perception. But then I felt another energy come in… acceptance. Because he’s right. We ARE pagan, we honor the earth, the seasons and cycles of life that move within us and everything. We are also Christians who honor the “Christ Consciousness” that permeates every living thing when it is awakened to its true self. We are Buddhist, we are Hindu, we are Jewish, we are, we are, we are everything. And we are nothing. For we can’t be completely contained by a label. Of course this man can’t help but define us, if he defines himself. He can only see me, himself and the world through his own lenses of perception — just as you and I do. And this lens colors how we see, feel, touch and taste life around us for better or for worse. He is a great reminder that the way I see the world is limited to how I view myself. If I accept more of who I am, I will be able to accept more about the world around me. I won’t try to change it to feel better about myself. Do you remember the song by Meredith Brooks, “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m your mother?” Why did that song become so anthemic? It touched on a deeper truth. We are all these things, and more. The more we accept this truth, rather than resist it, the freer we become.
The next time someone labels you, try this on: See the truth in what they are speaking, and own the gift of it. If they call you a “bitch”, you might reply, “yes, I am more clear than ever about the need to create healthy boundaries for myself.” If they say you are too promiscuous or too sexual, you might reply with, “yes, I can see how you would perceive me that way, I am a very physical being and enjoy expressing love and connection with myself and others through my sexuality.” If they call you selfish, you might reply, “I can see how you might see that in me, as I am listening more to the needs of my heart.” If you are being defensive, it only means you are not okay with yourself. A shift in perspective gives you one more opportunity to love yourself!