Refuse to be Defined

Remember when quiet used to be a bad word? I do.

Shy. Sensitive. Introvert. Quiet.

I was called it all.

Now, suddenly, being quiet is the new black - super cool. Susan Cain, in her powerful book Quiet, tells us quiet people make great leaders. The Omega Institute holds workshops for educators on how to nurture the quiet kids in their classrooms. Meditation, a quiet practice, is hot. I love all this 'quiet' noise (ironic, eh?), but this only tells half the story.

Yes, I am quiet...and I am loud. 

I love...blasting Michael Franti while cooking, going out with friends to see a show or catch a movie, getting into passionate discussions...and I've been known to go to a rally or two with large crowds...even lead a few.  

"You're an ambivert," a friend told me recently.

A what? 

Ambivert: a person who is intermediate between an extrovert and an introvert.

Aaaah, I felt myself exhaling. I no longer had to define myself as quiet or not quiet...I am both.

Jungian psychologist Marion Woodman, in Coming Home to Myself, says,

In a patriarchy,

everything is split.

It's either or.

In the feminine realm,

it's both and.

I hope you can sense lately how we're at the beginning of the end of patriarchy. Women are tired of being defined by society. And people are fed up with defining themselves in many realms of life. I've been visiting college campuses with my son this year, who's in his final year of high school, noticing the 'gender neutral' bathrooms.

The definitions of 'normal' are crumbling and yes it's scary for some,

like we're headed to the edge of a cliff.

Even if you want something to end

there's always the suspense of what's over the cliff,

will it get worse before it gets better?

And the big question...

if I let go of every definition I've given to myself

or has been given to me,

and to my community,

then: Who. Am. I?

When we're ungrounded in our well-being, we think we're a separate, powerless doer. The problem with this is that separation breeds over-doing and thinking you have to overcome something to feel better. If you're sad you need happiness. If you're fearful you need trust. (and there's a pill for that). As a result, we start defining ourselves. ADHD, anxious, bad at relationships. Patriarchy needs to define everything: good/bad. This is the spiral most people live in. Please don't answer the "Who Am I?" question here. Wait.

The pompom shaking yumness of yogic sleep is that the moment you lie down you enter the feminine realm, a place of pure being. This is when the "Who Am I?" question can be fully answered. In the feminine realm, you are undefined. You are potent. You are limitless. Good and bad are not opposing forces. You are both and neither. 

And this sets you free.

Refusing to be defined sets you free.

I am quiet and I am loud and I am both and neither.

Try this freeing exercise yourself.

  • think of a definition of yourself, perhaps one you felt never fit but this is how people have defined you.
  • pair it with an opposite definition.
  • put the word "and" between them
  • and then at the end add "and I am both and neither"
  • repeat it a few times every day
  • bonus points for repeating it in the mirror
  • double bonus points for using it as your intention during your yoga nidra meditation

It's so exhausting defining oneself and the world around us. Let's start taking those chains of exhaustion off this month.

Yoga nidra is very clear that all feelings reside in us. To deny one, is to deny a part of us. Feeling in rhythm is about embracing all sides of you. When we don't, we betray our self worth.

I don't know about you, but I'm done with not feeling worthy.

We need well-rested worthy women in the world.

Happy November,

Keep it real.

And please, give yourself permission to rest. (I will too - this is medicine I need to keep reminding myself too!).

I always love hearing from you. You can comment below.

Hugs & yoga nidra kisses & ambivert fist bumps, 

Karen