“Taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” ~Byron Katie
I was watching my go-to show, the one I turn to when I need a pick-me-up or peace, Super Soul Sunday. It’s the episode with Adyashanti, the spiritual teacher and author of Falling into Grace.
During the show, he said something so profound that it made me have what Oprah calls an AH-HA moment, so I ran to get my computer to put it into words!
I think Oprah was paraphrasing for him when she said, “When you tell a child a bird is a bird, the child will never see the bird again.”
You lose the wonderment of this beautiful majestic thing, with wings and freedom that makes a beautiful song with chirps and tweets. Romeo had it right when he said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Yet I have spent my entire life searching for labels, thinking a label would hold my identity.
First it was my name, Reshma, and if people called me Ree-sham, Razma, Rushma, or Rashma, I would get enraged and want them to say it right.
I would even say it’s like “fresh” without the “f,” like Fresh Resh. My high school lacrosse team even made up a song for Fresh Resh, and I thought, “Yeah, no one will forget my name now!”
Not realizing that a name is just a name, that there are 20,000 Reshma Patels that show up on Facebook searches, I kept progressing, thinking now that my name was established I needed to solidify what it was that Reshma Patel would do.
The next part of my life I spent searching for a perfect profession. I wanted so badly to be a doctor. I wanted to help people, I wanted to save people, and I wanted the title.
Although the people in my life discouraged me, I pushed through, sure that this label would make me complete. I was looking outside of myself for something to make me happy, not realizing that this was the road to never ending unhappiness.
The greed for more labels kept me motivated and kept me going. I thought I found my purpose in “wife” and “mommy.” And yet, in the deepest part of my being I was lost.
I needed freedom from the labels I had spent my entire life gathering.
I had reached the top of my own man-made mountain; I was a thirty-four-year-old woman, daughter, sister, doctor of physical therapy, wife, and mommy—and yet I still didn’t know who I was or how to just be happy.
I felt something deep within me that was erupting to come out, almost like hot lava inside a volcano that has been kept dormant for so many years. I knew I had to release all the labels to free this beautiful energy inside me and find my way to my true essence, my true potential.
If you’re also looking to reconnect with who you are, underneath your labels, and find a joy that doesn’t depend on that identity, these tips may help:
1. Ask questions.
It sounds simple and almost childlike, but that’s exactly the space I was in. I was back to being five or six years old and finding out who I was.
At that time, I let my environment, my peers, and my inner ego guide who I was meant to be, and now I was ready to be there again, listening to my internal guidance.
I asked, “Who am I? What is my purpose?” The answers don’t come right away. As the saying goes, “Patience is a virtue!”
2. Pay attention.
You know how people say “Slow down, stop, and smell the roses”? It’s true. My answers came in small moments that I would’ve missed, had I not been paying attention.
It came when I was giggling and running around with my kids. It came when I went out in the middle of the night to make snow angels in the backyard with my husband. It came when I was laughing louder than I had ever laughed with my best friend, while wide awake at six in the morning, on a girls’ trip.
I felt a quick burst of peace, joy, and love in these moments, and if I weren’t paying attention I would still be asking questions and getting frustrated.
3. Create moments of bliss.
Once I realized where my true happiness lies (in moments of fun, laughter, and being childlike), I started to create those moments, times when I have the wonderment of a little girl—visiting new museums, singing loudly in the car, dancing in the rain, and making grass music with my girls.
These small, silly moments are so profound for my being and so impactful for my own little ladies. Hopefully, they are getting a small whisper that says, “See, life is more fun when you keep exploring, laughing, and being all the things you want to be from moment to moment.”
4. Own the space you live in.
You have just raised your vibration to live in a space of pure joy, pure happiness, and pure bliss, where you ask questions and receive answers.
That is where you are now, no more labels and names; you are just who you are, in this moment, and then whatever you choose to be in the next. Own that and live there, and look back and recognize that you made it happen.
You are not your labels. You are the power of your own potential.
Photo by Nickay311