“It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.” ― W.C. Fields
What Identities do you lead with? ..................... .... These are the words Carmen Spagnola uses to open each one of her interviews inside her podcast, The Numinous Project. (which, if you're a bit of a podcast fiend/dork like myself, I highly recommend adding this to your queue!)
As in, tell me - Not what the world has chosen to call you. But how you have chosen to define You - for yourself.
Tell me - Not just the currencies you carry in all the traditional/acceptable modes - *mother *daughter *sister *brother *loving wife *faithful friend *butcher *baker *candlestickmaker
But by the values you ascribe to your own Life. How you choose to define your own contribution, worth & place inside this world..
Who are you outside of your well-worn titles?
Who are you outside the prescripted names you've been allowed to claim for yourself?
Are you a poet? A healer? A saint? A sh*t-stirrer-upper? A simple lover of this life?
Left to your own devices, and free from the limiting ideas and constructs of an-other - Tell me:
What crown shall you choose to wear upon that head?
So, too, who are you when your titles are taken from you?
The mother who suffers the loss of her child. The rich man who loses his money. The brilliant thinker whose mind is slowly turning to disarray. The devoted lover & tender - who has had her gifts momentarily turned away.
Who are we when the old titles fail us? When they are outmoded, outworn, or break apart like so much delicate skin - sloughing itself into the ether once more - leaving us raw, untethered, and with no presentable face to offer to the circle for now?
Who are we when the old titles have left us? And we have yet to invent new ones in their stead?
"My name is Amy Day.
I'm a Yoga Teacher...A mama… A wife… A writer… Certified herbalist… ( & a former theatre dork, as well…)
I am the daughter of layman teachers, artists & healers. As a child, I remember my mother’s parents taking us for long weekends. My grandmother would let us pour through magazines and catalogs and make requests of her. She would turn our whimsical desires into handcrafted, watercolor paper dolls (some of which I have to this day), elaborate, custom-house designs (she drafted the plans for the last 8 or so homes they lived in - and he built them. A story for a different day. ) After she tired of that, he would take us into his beautiful, book-temple of a study and sit us down for a multi-point presentation on photosynthesis or refractive light. We would return home to our parents a bit dazed and better for the experience. In my own home, there was always music. My mother would wake us early to the sounds of her fingers praying deep into the mala of her baby grand… the incense of sonatas, etudes & marches swirling above us as we ate our cereal, made our beds, brushed our teeth, fed the dog. My father, a physician, would patiently receive late-night phone calls and neighborly inquiries for free medical advice or help. This was the stew in which I was steeped."
Why Do I Mention this, You Ask?
Because context matters.
And the story we pluck from the detritus of our existence says something about What We’ve Chosen to Take With Us. What We Wield and Carry Through this World… And it speaks to the Person we are moving toward Becoming. Who We are and What we Aspire to, as well. It speaks to our Lineage - those parts of ourself we’ve reckoned with what we’ve left behind - and what we lead with Moving Forth.
I come from a long line of Artists, Teachers & Healers...
These are the codes that I carry. These are my bloodline, my credo, & my offering to the larger world.
My practices have taught me how to go into the place that aches... and listen to it Speak. My tools have not eradicated the challenges of Living - but rather equipped me to show up Inside of them. Wobbly. Brave. Whole.
May these words help you remember Who You Are. In the midst of struggle. In the light of ease & flow.
As you do the delicate work of shedding old skins & claiming new ones for yourself.
May the words, codes & practices you move into anchor you into a Name - that is big enough to contain the Whole.