Updated: Mar 21, 2019
All rights reserved © 2012, 2019 Louis Antonio Abate, D.C.
Most of us have a desire to express ourselves creatively, to feel we fill a unique niche in the world and that we are not redundant. We admire and cherish those who were able to not only change the world through their discoveries but also express themselves in their own unique voice. Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Mozart, Fermi, Einstein, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers – these are a few of the unique, authentic voices whose expression continues to have a lasting impact on the world.
It seems to be human nature to view oneself as unique, to know that our place in this world has been specifically carved out just for us and that there is a contribution that only we can provide.
This is indeed the case for each of us, even though the huge number of people on the planet can sometimes make this seem unlikely. So often we find ourselves believing we are not unique, that we have nothing special to contribute. Emerson saw this when he said, “we but half express ourselves and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents."
For me, growing up as a twin whose brother seemed to excel at everything while I struggled along, I began to believe that I had nothing to contribute, was redundant and too often felt ashamed. After all, there was an identical copy of myself succeeding at life and being praised and rewarded for it. That is how I felt about myself. Damaged goods. Unworthy of love, attention, joy, peace, freedom, wealth, prosperity, and everything that makes life worth living.
The seminal work A Course In Miracles, itself a psychological mind training based on universal spiritual truths, states, "Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up." (ACIM T.C18.104.22.168) I believe this refers to the fact that most of us have forgotten our perfection, our role as self-expressions of the Infinite. We grew up in families and had experiences that cemented this idea of separation wherein we are alone in life, broken, unworthy, unlovable, powerless, alone and ugly.
This side of us gains power and control, momentum and strength, and we live our lives in this illusion. It's as if we have put on a mask. When we live in the illusion of our separate self we lose our connection to ourselves and others. Life becomes flat and boring, devoid of passion. We lack courage, creativity, wisdom and freedom. We never take risks. We even denigrate others for taking risks because this reminds us exactly how unrewarding our lives have become.
I have had a lifetime of proofs-positive reinforcing the erroneous views I previously held about myself. What better way to avoid the pain that comes from feeling separate from our source, from each other, from life? Adopt a persona that is different, one in which you can completely hide. Time to put on a mask! Yet, looking back at my own former choices to wear a mask, I realize that as much as masks are meant to shield us from pain, they instead attract the very things we want to avoid. Our ego searches to avoid pain, fear or disappointment and to gain approval, love, trust, security. The illusory masks we wear promise these things. But before long, we learn that these promises cannot be fulfilled while wearing a mask.
By feeling the pain and frustration of living a dull, flat life we can gain the courage to take off the mask and creatively express ourselves. Doing so requires a transformation of the rules, beliefs and stories we hold about ourselves. We must find the inner strength, resources, power, and ability to move through the illusions we have previously believed about ourselves.
The first step in this process is gaining confidence in yourself.
This confidence is born out of becoming aware of, acknowledging, and accepting the fact that we have lost connection with our authentic selves and our true source.
Connections to our truth were lost when we chose to say 'yes' when we meant to say 'no', where we have felt separate, where we have denied the truth in our heart in order to keep temporary peace or prevent someone else from feeling their own suffering.
I had to learn how to reconnect with myself by learning how to reconnect with my body. I had to learn about the wisdom that was locked away and therefore useless to me when I was wearing a mask. Reconnecting with my body helped me build confidence and realize there are unique gifts I alone am here to give to the world, that I was born for this purpose. Recognizing these gifts and my own uniqueness opened up choices and possibilities on how to give them. Now I am gratefully, authentically expressing myself in more and more creative ways.
Through re-connecting with yourself, being aware of your body and its energy, acknowledging the old stories and illusions locked in the body-mind you can begin to naturally express your authentic nature and connect to your source. In doing so there is no longer a need to live life behind a mask. Natural expression becomes your way of being, and as a result your life can go from black-and-white to technicolor!
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." – Anais Nin