Your True Self


Contrary to how I was feeling this morning, I got out of bed and put on my yoga duds and headed out for class. We had a substitute teacher who reminded us we are not our bodies or our thoughts. And to help us hold that intention, she had us focus on our core.

The more I focused, the more the outer parts that I am so critical of dropped away. Gone were the sagging kneecaps and batwings. Gone the wrinkles and double chin.

As we moved and stretched, she spoke quietly and confidently:

“Find your core, your center, the true self that you are.”

Her words continued to transform my experience and my thoughts. I was swept back in time, remembering how for years I had struggled to meet expectations, to conform, to be the version of me that others wanted.

I had to repress my natural enthusiasm and joy for life (“too noisy”), my inquisitiveness (“might lead to trouble”), my desire to dance (“not ladylike and you have no talent”) and my desire to paint (“way too messy”). My mom wanted ladies for daughters and little dolls she could dress up and put on a shelf. I was neither – and it was terribly frustrating for both of us.

Pretty soon I presented a mask to my family and society, and eventually I lost my true self so totally that I had no idea who I really was. Identity number two was born: reluctant lady who was quiet.

But that was so not the real me, and that soon led to trouble. Before long, the enthusiastic spirit that had been laid low came out to play.

And play she did. Identity number three: good-time party gal. That, thankfully, did not last long.

For years I kept trying on identities, searching for that little soul I came in as: the one who sat in gardens with flower petals enchanting her, the one who laughed readily and loudly, the one who knew there was so much magic going on around her and trusted in the unseen world.

So it was strange yesterday as the yoga instructor said, “Find your core, your center, the true self that you are.”

I had not been invited into that place by someone else for years. I go there often in my work, so when someone outside suggested it, I was struck by how beautiful the invitation truly is.

And so I extend to you that same gorgeous invitation:

“Find your core, your center, the true self that you are.”

(To read the meditation, please visit my June 2013 Newsletter: