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three years ago i was minding my business, enjoying my gelato when i fell head first into a conversation about spiritual awakening and the work of finding the answers to our big questions through our guidance system instead of looking to external factors to show us the way. it was through this conversation that i was introduced to one of my favorite spiritual teachers, eckhart tolle, and his book, 'the power of now'.people who know me intimately are probably rolling their eyes right now, saying, "here she goes with this book again" but i mean, there's really no way around it! the book completely transformed the way i relate to life. it's bound to come up— frequently.

i call it my bible because for one, it's content is so juxtaposed to the way we are programmed to think that you literally have to put your logic aside in order to grasp the full breadth of what he's saying. this explains why it took me one and a half years to read, which i imagine is how long it would take to read the bible cover to cover. if you've done this, please debunk this theory in the comments section. but i digress.

'the power of now' opened my eyes to the ways that the story i was rehearsing about who i thought i was was keeping me from making fundamental changes in my life and that for as long as i was attached to the events of my life, i would never be able to transcend from performing to just being in the now.

let me explain. my story is my race and gender, where i was born, who i was born to, what social class i grew up in, you know, the facts we share on a first date or when we're writing a college entry essay or the tried and true anecdotes we have in rotation for when we want to signal something about ourselves in social settings. notice i said facts. that's because they are all true things. they happened, they exist, there's no disputing them. but what makes them a story is when we identify with them beyond facts. the meaning we attribute to things like growing up with a lot of money or doing really well in school— these are the things that tie us to a very specific identity that drives what we base our worth on, how we relate to other people and how we define our place in the world. so when we face a disruption that asks us to alter some of these facts, we're not struggling to let go of the job, for example, what we're struggling to part ways with is the meaning we've put behind what it means to have a certain job or partner or any other things we've woven into the our perception of self.

so who are we if not a compilation of the facts of our lives? we are infinite intelligence, soul, spirit, source— whatever you call the essence of your being that is beyond the tangible— a formless entity. it can't be defined with a title or a function— it's limitless. it's connected to everything and flows through everyone. it's the consciousness that keeps the circle of life alive.

if we viewed our existence through the lens of consciousness, then everything would just be an experience that enhances our time on earth.without the emotional charge or recounting of events generation after generation, they are just experiences designed to point us back to the truth of who we really are. we would enjoy each season for what it is, and without the attachment to identity, we would easily release what we need to let go of with the same expectancy we receive with.

but when change comes knocking on our door, we cling to our egos and the things it feeds on. the knowing of who we are becomes lost on us. the unsettling feeling of having to redefine ourselves all over again drives us into fear and panic, furthering us from surrendering to change. some of us channel this energy into a need to win, to conquer and prove that we are in control and the rest of us slide into victimhood: our comfortable, cashmere sweater that tricks us into thinking that the boxes that say it's impossible to exist outside of our stories are safe— we've rehearsed this role for years. we know the experiences it attracts and we've mastered the coping mechanisms. what change asks of us, we don't have the tools for so we rather focus on proving that we are our story no matter what.

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