Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

When you set intentions, or worse,
start making actual tangible moves
towards taking on a creative challenge,

do you risk hearing
SnarkVoices jeering:

"Who Do You Think You Are?"

Voices digital self-portrait

Talking Back

Along with
my SnarkVoice likes to point out
I'm Too Big For My Britches.

(Where does it find these quaint expressions?)

"So?" I say defiantly, "I'll get britches that fit!"

(with an elastic waist, appropriate to
my queenly middle-aged middle).

You Will Never Amount To A Hill Of Beans, it retorts.

Queen digital self-portrait

No Way Out

But even if I score a point now and then,
it's stressful
to defend against
snark attack like

(Maybe not as stressful as buying into its
shaming viewpoint, but stressful nonetheless).

When I try to make it shut up and go away,
I'm fighting against a part of myself.
So I tense up with inner conflict.

trying to force myself feel to better while
I'm actually feeling divided, scared and small.

Uh-Oh digital self portrait


From that position of defensiveness,
it's harder to evolve, harder to access
originality, openness, and creative expansion.

Fighting snark makes it harder to live large and feel free.

So in the moment that I push away
I actually experience even more belittlement--
just the kind of feeling I was trying to escape.

So what to do? How to respond?

"As long as our orientation is toward perfection
or success, we will never learn about
unconditional friendship with ourselves,
nor will we find compassion."

Bright Idea digital self-portrait

Why not just answer the question?

It's a good question, a spiritual classic, even.
Try it in a tone of real curiosity:
Who DO you think you are?(Right now?)

And are you who you think up?

Can you really be defined by the ever-changing
flickering of thoughts through your head?


If we're living from the standpoint of
a self-image of who we think we are

we can have a good or bad self-image,
one that feels better or worse.

As long as we're taking ourselves
to be an image in our minds,
even if the image is positive,
we don't feel completely authentic.

However you define yourself, if you see
it's just an image, it's just an idea,
and you peer underneath it,
what you find is no image, no idea of yourself.Not a better image, not a worse image,
but no image.

Are you willing to enter that space,
that casts no image, no idea?

Are you really willing and ready
to be that free and that open?

-- Adyashanti(condensed from Falling into Grace pgs.22-24)

It is audacious to pause,
to stop fighting snark attacks

like WhoDoYouThinkYouAre.

We're afraid that without defiance
or the assault of our therapeutic fix-it arsenal,
that mean tone of humiliation will swamp us.

But if you do pause to consider curiously
the question, Who do you think you are?
you might find the snark 
carries a gift, hidden in plain sight:
An open invitation to the humble freedom
of recognizing the real you beyond any image,
untouchable by any success or failure.

Continue to Part Two:
Who's the Doer?

Nobody digital self-portrait

Two High Priests were sitting on a bench.
Suddenly, one had a flash of enlightenment.
He fell to his knees, crying out,
"I just realized I'm Nobody! I'm Nobody!"

A few minutes later, the same thing
happened to the other priest.
"I finally see! I'm Nobody! What a relief!"

Then, a Lowly Streetsweeper
who'd been working nearby
dropped his broom, and shouted,
"I'm Nobody, Halleluia, I'm Nobody!"

One High Priest elbowed the other and snorted,
"Now look who thinks he's Nobody!"

--adapted from story told by Eckhart Tolle


  1. Oh OH OH
    Thank you
    I shall read that over and over and smile wider and wider all day. Maybe much longer than that. Amazing. I do not know when I have read anything that has so pulled me in and touched ME - the one inside who doesn't have a freakin clue what she is doing and does not care. Blessings. thanks you for writing that.

  2. That's actually one of my all time favorite jokes. I tell it often.

  3. This blog, and two former others I read after that, are so rich for me today. I'm re-covering from a surprise appendectomy (guess they all are). But the period of not being re-covered, or being open to dreams and visions has been so rich this time. It's fascinating to see the re-covering process. I'm both attracted and resistant to it. Part of me just wants to extend the quiet, the introspection, the inner stillness and rest - yet Spring/Summer calls so loudly via the peepers and tree frogs, the lyrical mating calls of birds, the subtle color changes in the grasses and leaves.

    On Doership, On Waiting, On Being -- reminders of ancient wisdom and the legitimacy of being called to stay un-covered, open to rest and stillness, to a slow and unfolding pace.

    Just finished Jack Kornfield's Wise Heart and found much sustenance and encouragement there. Receiving your blog today encouraged me to trust the unprotected, un-covered NOW.

    Jude, thanks for being you! A gift and my heart is grateful.

    Love, Mariah