Is Over-Identifying Stunting Our Growth?
Hmmm something to ponder today, yes?
We are incredibly blessed to have access to incredible insight, studies, theories, and practices that help us to understand ourselves better, in fact, our culture is pretty obsessed with it, but I am wondering at what point is self study slowing down our growth or worse- keeping us stuck in stories that don’t serve us?
In my last post I shared my ah-ha moment around the deep desire for Self Mastery. So much of Self Mastery is understanding and identifying with who we are and how we operate in the world. And to an extent, we certainly need to ‘know thyself’. But I have noticed a slippery slope within myself that when I begin to habitually identify with, lets say, my Sun Sign (or any astrologicial placement really), my Ayurvedic constitution, Meyer-Briggs assessment, or any other hundreds of ways I differentiate myself and try to validate my uniqueness (because, that is a large part of why our ego loves this kind of information) I begin to cling to the archetype of that identity. It always has the potential to become a rigid structure that I stay within, even if unintentionally. And at times it has.
I think when it comes to the pursuit of understanding the self or growing in our spiritual path we often forget that everything must have a balance. We forget because it all seems so righteous and positive, which it is, but just as nature is always ebbing and flowing and the elements are always counter-acting we also must adopt this self critical assessment of- does this actually ring true, feel good, or writes the story I want to tell with my life? And cut back what is taking over our mind and cultivate what needs nourishment.
This really started to crop up for me around the Moon Letters that I used to write each month and in my personal astrological studies, perhaps some of you can relate. There would be these amazing celestial phenomenons, like the major eclipse we just had, that would get so much hype. I would look into how it would affect me and my natal chart, plan intentions around it, write about it in multiple spaces like social media and the newsletter, and then in the event that things did not play out as promised I would feel a bit deflated. Like a post Moon blues because the heavens didn’t just magically open and rain down on me ha! Or you delve into your natal chart, have all these great confirmations and moments of pure realization or validation but then you notice that there are aspects you now use as an excuse for your behavior or the habits you have. Like I just keep my mouth shut because I am a Scorpio (repression!) or I’m a Cancer so I don’t like to go out very often (missing out on new experiences and people!).
It is in these moments that we can either keep ourselves stuck in a neurological pathway that keeps us bound or we miss out entirely on a new experience because ‘its not in my nature’ to do that. Sometimes it seems really benign, but it does have the potential to be damaging when it comes to addictive behavior (anything we do repeatedly, we are all addicted to something).
And we can over identify in so many ways with so many labels. I challenge you to make a list of your identities and see which ones you may be over-identifying with. It can be the diet you eat, being a parent or caregiver, it could be a title you have earned, your astrological or elemental makeup, the clothes you wear, the spiritual lineage you follow … seriously, the list goes on. This isn’t an exercise to make you disidentify, it is one to help you strike a more harmonious balance with it.
When it came to the Moon Letters and my own astrological studies, I adopted the practice to explore with a sense of curiosity but also with the intent of un-attachment. To think hm, that is interesting, how does that apply to me? Does it apply to me at all? Does it feel good? I also slowed down and simplified how I interact with cosmic happenings, making rituals that helped me conserve and channel energy properly and not getting wrapped up in all the excitement. Many times in hindsight I will see the story that was unfolding all along and it was beautiful as it was- even if it didn’t match all the predictions! And I no longer want to contribute to any collective anxiety that may be percolating- that this or that event would bring challenges and upset, or that you will feel blessed and abundant. I mean- all of our experiences are so different, you have to feel you. This is the ability to step out of that identity, and stepping out of identity all together is the ultimate mastery.
It is this ability to step out of identity even for a moment where the true growth comes from. Being aware, and then feeling into how you are alchemizing with the experience. This is also a part of the Self Mastery- identifying to understand the self, integrating and putting the knowledge to work, but then? Eventually you have to transcend it. This is how I feel about working with the Moon specifically. I spent years studying her and following her influence. I taught about her, and made glorious ritual around her, and now I am content to just be with her in all her phases. Listening to what she has to say to me personally. It is a new step in our relationship ha! But I no longer feel compelled to identify as a moon priestess or aspiring astrologer, I am content to just be with the knowledge and share it organically when I can.
So anyway, dear friend, thank you as always for reading. This was just one of those thoughts that kept wanting to be explored so here we played with it in word alchemy. Perhaps it helped you, maybe even gave you the green light to release some things you have been heavily identifying with that now feel a bit heavy. Or maybe you’re thinking nah girl, I think different. It is all good, well, and perfect however it resonates with you. I know I will be exploring my identities and how they shape my experience, feel welcome to share your insights on this vast topic in the comments below!