Conformity

As I move through the world and try to discover my place, calling, and way, I am reminded again of how we all possess a unique voice. All of us have things we are better and worse at than others. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of practice and learning. Other times, it seems that some possess a natural talent for connecting with and expressing their soul’s presence. I believe that creativity is a form of soul expression and that there are no limits or bounds to the shape and form this expression can take. I call this unlimited potential. Healing, growing, and sharing our selves and our lives with one another, the earth, and all our relations – whether rock, animal, two legged or no legged – are the embodiment of infinite possibilities and soul expression. At the core of soul expression is the ability to give voice to our own unique and individual song. Songs that create the opera and dance we call our lives.

How do we connect with soul expression? I must admit that I will be working on that until I leave this body and probably beyond that. However, I am learning along the way. One of the challenges that regularly presents itself is the contradiction between wanting to fit in and be accepted in order to feel worthy, validated and loved verses nurturing a desire to be authentic and find our own voice. I am continually amazed at how there seems to be an undeniable aspect of human experience that embodies a core belief that we are somehow unworthy and undeserving. This belief, whether quietly subversive or screaming out loud, can continually lead us to create responses that seek joining the chorus instead of taking the lead in creating our own life. A chorus formed primarily from the way we are taught to be. Parents, teachers, friends, family, society; they all serve as the directors and co-creators of our production. The challenge of growing up and living an authentic life is to write our own play. Recognizing that the leads and players will change, that life is not a solo show, and the script will need to be rewritten and changed often.

A dilemma that our psyches face in trying to discover and express our unique call, is to reconcile feelings that empower in the face of fear. Fears that say things like: play it safe, don’t stand out, fit in, you are not deserving of loving and respectful attention, and you will not receive love and acceptance unless you conform and go along with the status quo. The voices of “reason” suggest that if we stand out and take the spotlight in our own lives, we will be rejected, humiliated, or harmed in some way. Or on the flip side: we are not that special, and we’re selfish and egotistical if we find our way as worthy and deserving individuals, unless we are following the “norm” or whatever critics and “experts” define as successful. At the root of the oppressive chorus, is a plea to not question in order to avoid acceptance of our self doubts and fears. Too often, we foster fears that we will not be OK. All of the above can lead to trying to blend in as a means to be left alone instead of facing fears of rejection. But, fear is not the only voice. There can also be a core drive from deep within that stirs us to question: who am I, what kind of life do I want to create, and how do I create an authentic life? Will I be OK if my voice is unusual and stands out? Will I be OK and loved if I sing out with my authentic voice when it doesn’t seem to harmonize with the chorus around me?

How do we reconcile our deep feelings of doubt with budding confidence in our abilities? Well, maybe we don’t. Most likely, there will always be a challenge to balance uniqueness, innovation, and risk taking with the need to receive approval. After all, stages to perform on are not free. What we can do is make our peace with the tension of opposites. In my experience, when we feel heard, we do not need to scream. So let the chorus sing without allowing the chorus to direct the song. Lean into the chorus one by one and you will find that the chorus quiets down to a more supportive role. Let our selves dance as a celebration for who we are even if we have no visible talent for the steps. We can allow our soul’s voice to audition and take the lead. We can acknowledge the gifts and opportunities for healing that come from our fears by embracing acceptance instead of denial. The goal is to discover and create a new harmony. Instead of the chorus drowning out the lead, we find the lead is stronger, more vibrant, and truly loved, appreciated, and supported. We open space for genuine creativity and soul expression that gives birth to an authentic life. We determine our “success” based on meaning and purpose. We recognize the beauty of our voice even if no one else does.

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