Many a self I have known

Many a self I have known

Larry and Bear Aspen

Many a self
I have known and been.
Some were friendly
or even loving to me and
some downright hostile,
and some too, indifferent perhaps
but present just the same.

I thought myself to be each of them
at one time or another—

“Bad boy!” Mother’s earliest remembered naming
“Sinner and apostate.” Dad’s judgment and condemnation
served in concert with his God from on high
athlete: my youthful pride and aspiring prowess
stud: Ah, but I am good!
failure: Yes, I flunked the 3rd grade and the identity was set
smart stupid asshole
social worker therapist ugly
handsome construction worker unemployed
scared courageous funny
forest fire fighter my handmade custom White boots
the requisite knife on my belt
infidel adulterer saint
addict abstainer teetotaler
lover despiser seeker of approval
preacher doubter seeker-of-Truth
hero victim healer
teacher shaman consultant
businessman leader follower
trainer blogger speaker
son brother man
friend wilderness guide whitewater river guide
fire water wind
earth spirit body
bear serpent eagle
arrogant self-righteous and humble
dream and dreamer
butterfly and chrysalis and predator and prey
all these… just for starters
and so many more I have thought or known
“This-is who I am!”

And truth is
I now know
none of these are me.
All these many hats
these faces are but roles and facets
shadow identities my ego attached to
or fled from in its flight
from my deep self
from mystery itself
in its journey of return
from fragmentation
to wholeness
to remembering
who we are
I and you
in the essence of our Oneness
celebrating the diversity of our polarities
coming home
to the Self
here all along
and still abiding
through it all.


“The capacity to transform is what will get us through the unexpected changes that are coming.” — Dr. Steven Carpenter, Ecologist, Resilience 2008 Interview on A World of Possibilities

This issue of a self, of identity, is critical and intimate to our resilience. A self that is fixed within a narrow or rigid identity will lack the resources for adaptability, change and transformation that are available to a more expansive Self. A self that is domesticated and does not yet know the dark embrace of its own shadow, its own dual human nature, will not have access to the deeper creative reservoirs of forbidden energy and spirit.

This is as true of an organization, business, community or nation as it is of an individual. How it is that we individually and collectively come to the radical self-acceptance of all within that we identify as negative, as other, is one of the great challenges of our time. It is to come to that place of radical self-love as a political and spiritual way of knowing, of being in the world.

What selves will you require to accept and to let go of?

What self calls out to you for the embracing of?

What self in you seeks transforming?

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