Re: Self Image & Lip Service
1,144 Miles SW of Henry’s Pond
(Buffalo, Ohio)Saturday, July 18, 2020 (04:39am)
Dear Friend and Subscriber,
A fitness coach once told me, “You can’t out-train a bad diet. Bodies are made in the kitchen.”
I’m here to tell you that
you can’t out-live a self image.
The way you define yourself, the world around you, and what’s possible is absolutely real — as long as you believe it.
It’s strange. Once you decide that you’re not that type of person any more, things change. Happens every time.
I used to be a smoker.
Started when I was fourteen. Smoked two packs a day all the way through high school until the age of 29. Tried to quit several dozen times.
I’d been surfing for about a year and half.
One day, it was a few feet overhead and I wiped out on the inside (the section where the waves crash). Four or five waves hammered down on me. My lungs burned and felt like they would burst.
I completely surrendered.
It wasn’t the first time I thought I’d die out there, but it was the day that Tim the Smoker Died.
After the swell spit me out, I took the shortcut up out of Trail Six. There used to be a Billie Goat Trail that would save you about 20 minutes of the walk back to the parking lot. It’s step, but not too scary.
At top, so out of breath I nearly threw up, looking out over the ocean, I craved a cigarette more than anything. I had every intention of lighting up as soon as I got to the truck. Even had one in my mouth as I strapped the board down.
But, when I went to light it, my hands shook thinking about never taking another breath.
I put that cigarette back in the pack, then crumpled the pack and threw it into the bed of the truck, and said to myself
“Screw that, I’m no longer the type of guy who smokes. I’m a surfer. I need to get better lungs or I’m going to die out there.”
From that day forward, the smell of cigarettes made me cringe a little.
Around ten months later, I finished my first (and only) marathon. My new identity was healthy. He loved to challenge himself.
You Can Consciously Modify Identity (up to a point)
You can play that game over and over.
Say, “This is who I am — That’s who I’m not”
But, own it. Really mean it. And Watch your life transform.
It feels magical.
You think you’ve unlocked some sort of secret or something.
The bad news is..
No matter how much you think about it, craft it, or modify it, the self-image will never be real.
The idea of “this is who I am” — how you define yourself — the things you cling to are completely made up.
And we can most likely, those definitions trace back to feeling vulnerable and hurt.
The deeper that wound —
the more you need the self image.
You’ll defend it. Make excuses for “being the way you are.” Wear it with honor. All in a vain attempt to avoid feeling some sort of hurt — a wound that won’t heal.
Mine wound is — when you get close to people they’ll hurt you. It’s not okay to be Me. I’m not lovable. I’m worthless. I’ll never amount to shit.
It doesn’t matter how the wound got there; that’s a conversation for a therapist. But, that wound never really goes away. You have to stay conscious of it, so your identity doesn’t run amok.
What matters is this.
What you think you are, is a construct designed to protect you. Your identity is a shell and that shell. You need to crack it open so you can to live your best life.
Strip Away Your Identity
The problem with identity…
… is that it’s stopping you from living your life.
Deep down, there is something in you that wants to express itself in a very particular manner.
You might know what it is.
We all have a deep longing for something.
(health, love, wealth, freedom).
Our identity is getting in the way of experiencing it.
That little voice in your head that talks you out of doing what you know needs to be done, and justifies all the stuff you’re doing instead as necessary….
Most people pay lip service to the things they really want in life.
There are neurological reasons for it. We have two different processing centers in the brain — top down (logic, reasoning) & bottom up (emotional and reactive). The bottom up one is stronger and runs the show. It’s the seat of identity.
Here’s the deal…
There is a GAP between the person you think you are and the person you’re capable of being.
Bridging that GAP isn’t easy. Even when you redefine yourself in very specific ways, there will always be challenges, obstacles, and setbacks. It’s predictable, so you need to plan for it.
What is that thing you want more than anything in the world, you know exactly what needs to be done, but you just won’t do it?
I encourage you to move towards that today.
Life is too short to let it go un-lived.
Map it out.
Start at the End
A few months ago, I started studying story telling.
There is a framework for great stories. And there is also a very particular way to outline them.
Movies follow a Six Part Plot Sequence with five main turning points (moments of conflict) that drive the story.
There is always two stories going on; a physical (outer journey) as well as an inner journey that the main character goes through.
A writing teacher explained something about writing manuscripts that hit home…
“If you get to the end of the story and nothing surprises you… if you follow the script and wrote everything the way you outlined it, throw that manuscript away. It sucks. The best stories write themselves.”
I believe that’s true with your personal transformation as well.
The plan to achieve your goals is a rough outline based on the ideas of someone who has in fact not achieved that goal before. It’s a rough estimate at best. Even if you get all the expert advice in the world, it’ll never look like you think it will.
And, if you’re not tuned inward, you might not realize that your identity set the goal, not your core essence.
Just like writing good stories, you need to get out of the way and let it happen.
Start at the end — the climax scene — the moment when the main character achieves the thing they set out to achieve. Then you come back to the set up scene (the day to day life of struggle). And in between those are specific challenges, obstacles, enemies, and friends to move the story (and the hero) forward.
As Eminem says,
“lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go”
If you want to understand the journey of transformation at a deeper level, google Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey — the Monomyth.
You’ll find a map of 17 transitions.
Use that to map out your transformational journey.
Be the author of your own adventure.
That thing you long for (the ultimate boon) once you have it and return, you’ll be the master of both worlds, and free to live from your essence. But, look what comes just before the boon. Death and Resurrection.
The identity — the shell — needs to break and die for your essence to live. And that’s why it’s so damn difficult to do what’s in your own best interest. That’s why we fill our days up with nonsense and create overwhelm.
Our identity is protecting us from the world and itself from dying.
Figure out what that is for your next level self.
Notice the difference in the person you could become from the person you are being.
And stop paying lip service.
The time has never been better for you to be who you were meant to be.
You just have to get out of your own way and let it flow.
Hope this helps,
Love your face
PS. If you have any questions or want some help, reach out to me on Facebook.