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I am reading William Finnegan’s Barbarian Days where he talks about the the origins of surfing.
How a native, indigenous Hawaiian lifestyle allowed for free time and so naturally gave way to a playful, vigorous, and joyous relationship with the natural land (and water) scape.
Then came the missionaries.
With their Western ideas of God and productivity, resource extraction and industry, and the subjugation of the land and its people—how one ought to move and live inside this world.
And they lost a piece of their heritage. Their culture.
In addition to dying from European diseases, they lost an inherent part of who they were:
Their language. Their kinship to the land. A rhythm that was unique to how they worked, their family, their spirit.
And that was the travesty.
It was a true denial of who they were.
And this is what happens in the maelstrom of modern life. We are adrift in a sea of unspoken agreements, judgments, ideas, demands, and subterranean currents that oftentimes butt up against the core truth of who we are.
We are lulled into a culture of forgetting. We absorb un-truths about ourselves all day long.
>> Our work (as caregivers, art-makers, culture-shifters, thinkers, and content producers) is only as valuable as the monetary gain it has elicited.
>> We must be ever-hustling and grinding to be making any real contributions or headway in this world (a toxic work culture).
>> Our beauty is measured by our ability to adhere to a codified standard (white, thin, cis-gender, and able-bodied).
>> Our goodness, purity, or virtue is measured by how many things—in the form of food or pleasure—we are able to deny ourselves.
>> Our messiness and process is “too much” and not fit to be shared publicly.
What other lies are you swimming in unknowingly? What else are you harboring inside your own precious heart and head and life, against your conscious will or choice?
I would like to offer this up as a practice for you to try and engage: the Kundalini practice of Sat Nam.
It’s a mantra that translates to: “truth is my name.”
Measuring the value of your contributions by the amount of joy they bring both you and those around you, or how they enliven and add to the beauty of the world and ecosystem in which you live.
Or, alternately, try charging a reasonable sum for something you’d typically give away for free. Honor the contribution you have made by allowing yourself to receive and be compensated for it, too.
Building in pockets of ease, rest, and pleasure to your day and week. Trust that these things add to a larger culture of healing and true flourishing, both within you and within the larger world. Rest can be radical.
Showing up for, adorning, loving, and displaying your fat body. Your queer body. Your otherly-abled body. Your trans body. Your non-conforming body. Wear the lipstick (or the steel-toed boots). The form-fitting gown. The awkward, rogue, wild hair that grows in so-called unseemly places. Take a selfie. Or stand up in front of a room and teach a yoga class that way.
Practice being beautiful in your own way, according to your own designs and definitions and marvelously unique makeup.
Eating the bread. Drinking the coffee. Enjoying the sugar, carbs, hell, even the occasional highly processed nugget that came straight outta’ the can. Enjoy these with reverence and abandon. Eat the salad or the green thing or the sprouted, pro-biotic whatever—not as my wise-woman friend Marcie Goldman says, in “an act of obedience,” but as a way of honoring and tending this tender human-skin suit you’ve been handed.
Being with what is. As in showing up while still inside the transformation. Showing up before the cocoon has shed, and you’re in the thick of it, and you can’t see the damn forest for the trees or even remember who the f*ck you are.
Inside the fall, the failure, the misstep. Inside the divorce, or loss of job, or good fortune.
Practice radical honesty. Sharing yourself—not only in your glory, but in your losses as well. We need to see this. It helps us reclaim and own that piece of ourselves, too.
Sat nam. Truth is my name.
I will not be defined by the limiting ideas and beliefs of the dominant culture. I will not be chained to me that is less-than because it butts up against my conditioning or my faulty cultural heritage.
I choose my own definitions of beauty, of worth, of right livelihood, of meaning, of value. I know and reclaim who I am and who I am called to be inside this world. And I will not let that be taken from me.
Truth is my name. And it is yours, my beloved, as well.