I have wanted a Sara Silvio necklace since I saw my friend Staci wearing one two years ago. This year it felt exactly right; I bought myself a gorgeous piece, wrapped it up and gifted it to myself on New Year’s Day.
It was a meaningful purchase, Sara’s work carries the divine feminine in a way that feels powerful. 2014 was a big year. More than any other year, I feel that I have responded to the call of my soul. I feel more shaky-kneed alive and on purpose than ever and this beautifully crafted adornment, aptly called the “journey” necklace was emblematic of saying yes to mySelf.
I wore it everywhere for a couple of weeks. And then last week, as I packed to get ready for my trip to California, to help facilitate the next group of CCTP life coaches, I put my hand to my throat and felt immediately sick to my stomach.
Gabriel was sweet and sympathetic and looked fervently for at least three minutes before declaring it, sadly, lost forever. I didn’t give up so fast and looked everywhere and called every place I’d been, sent emails to my coworkers and called to my mother. St. Anthony was petitioned (he always comes through). I emailed Sara who graciously said she would offer me half price on a replacement.
I didn’t really want a replacement though, I wanted that necklace, my necklace.
It was not lost on me that Gabe’s bedtime story that night included a parable about a king who was hyper-attached to a particular scroll, which was embossed with magic ink that could only be read under the light of a rare moon. When the special moon comes and the scroll can be deciphered, it reads:
“You only loose what you cling to.”
On the plane to San Francisco the next day, I got to thinking about things. One of my intentions for 2015 is to get very clear and purposeful about my relationship to money and material things. I realize that I’ve been arrogant in my attitude toward money and things; I’ve underestimated my degree of attachment.
I could see the disease behind the cultural imperative to accumulate more money, more stuff, more debt. I assumed that in seeing it and not going the traditional route, I hadn’t been infected by that same virus. Not so.
When I was fifteen years old, my friends and I hatched a plan to travel cross country as soon as we graduated high school. Money was our ticket out of dodge. I saved every dime from my coffee shop job and we made and sold purses and patchwork dresses at concerts, squirreling away the proceeds in our ‘California’ account. We were doing our damndest to recreate the summer of love and I was going to play the part. Lots of lentils and handmade dresses.
If I got confused or felt adrift or afraid, there were all these things to remind me of who I was in the world-the right clothes, the right music, the right drugs.
Kids and teens do this-try on identity systems-it’s a healthy part of development. Happily, I have since let go of the rigid earth mama identity (as well as the short lived dreadlocks experiment of which all photo evidence has been destroyed)in favor of becoming a whole person.
The thing I’ve noticed though, is that we grown ups do it too. We have a strong inclination to establish a fixed identity and then cling to it like it’s our lifeboat in the ocean of the world.
Money, being what it is, is a huge way that people identify themselves. I’ve noticed that somewhere along the line, I claimed an identity of someone who doesn’t have much money, isn’t very smart about money, is a little bit above all that “money” stuff.
It’s hugely helpful to be aware of this because it is not how I want to relate to money, nor is it actually true. Thus, I’ve been deliberately moving into a real-time relationship with the energy of money and the energy of material things; based on who I choose to be today.
The way we attach to money and things is not so different from the way that we identify with other labels: rich, poor, strong, fat, depressed, nice, independent, pretty, plain, needy, struggling.
There is nothing wrong with this, per se, without anything to identify with we would feel quite groundless (or perhaps be enlightened to our true nature but who wants that?). The problem comes when we unconsciously cling to identity systems that don’t serve us, that in fact keep us stuck.
One thing about the ego is that it would always prefer to suffer than let go of it’s delusions. And the number one delusion of the ego is that there is some continuous, unchanging self that is both separate and solid.
I mean, if that was the truth it would be a real bummer; dreadlocks were soooo not becoming on me.
And neither was bulimia, which I unwittingly claimed as my primary identity for over a decade. Or depression. When people repeat, again and again, that they are depressed or broke or stuck, or sick, there is an identity system at work. There is some attachment to that particular flavor of suffering.
I’m not at all suggesting that we deny what is painful and difficult, only that we are at choice about how we identify ourselves. Language matters here. Be mindful of what you claim for yourself, out of habit.
It takes a lot of awareness to change a pattern that is rooted in an identity system. (Most patterns are rooted in an identity system.) So often, this is the missing link between what we say we want and our actions (or lack thereof). Ego will offer up very convincing resistance equal and opposite to any significant change we want to make-internally or out in the world.
It helps to know that it’s just fear. And it’s totally workable.
Wayne Dyer says that “I AM” are the two most powerful words we can use to begin a sentence.
What are you claiming for yourself, in your thoughts and in your words? What stale identities do you cling to for fear of loosing something you have or not getting something you want?
I came home from my trip and opened my dishwasher, which I had strangely neglected to run although it was full of dirty dishes. And there, hanging from a fork in the silverware caddy, was my ‘journey’ necklace.
Laughing, I admired it’s loveliness anew. Beautiful thing that it is.
Necklace by Sara Silvio
VW bus photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jspad/1502214763/”>jspad</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>