Halloween is a exciting time. We dress up as goblins and witches or as our favorite celebrity, carve scary faces in plump pumpkins and sometimes -- especially as adults -- we attend extravagant full-costume parades and parties. Of course, for kids, the most captivating Halloween activity is trick-or-treating. All great fun on October 31.
I'm not into being a party pooper, but perhaps Halloween is a good time -- especially in the context we all currently live in -- to remember that trick-or-treating is also known as "guising." And nowadays, in our too fast and too complex world, it is too easy to lose touch with our own true identity. In response to too many external demands and internal "shoulds," we flit from one task to another and go on autopilot, all in the name of efficiency. We ourselves become automated.
Don't Lose Touch With Yourself
The four treats we should all partake in after Halloween include:
1. Don't let yourself become a ghost of yourself.
2. Don't play a prank on your self that becomes chronic.
3. Don't be afraid to be who you are.
4. Feast on the wonders that are you (and some of the warts, too, since none of us is perfect).
We typically recognize our everyday existence only on its mundane plane, but what we also need to see is our own "self-story" as mythic. We all are fighting monsters, big and small, on a daily basis. We all are living -- or should be living -- lives that have the fullness of a great literary or cinematic character, but in our own scale, in our own time, in our own way, real time.
Each individual already has all the resources inside themselves necessary to have a great, meaningful, and constantly alive story -- to be an Hermione or Huck or an Iron Man -- in your world and in the worlds of people around you.
The Five Essentials for Protecting Against Becoming Separated From Your True Self
Curiosity: going beyond your comfort zone and the world of business-as-usual; looking "under the hood" of how you and the world operate; allowing yourself to explore and discover. Focus, persist, go underneath the surface of things.
Openness: going into any pursuit unburdened by the need to know the ending at the beginning; going about your goals with an open mind; embracing what surprises but fits you.
Sensuality: feeling your own experience of your own experience, making full use of your senses; allowing yourself to dive deep into your life rather than skimming the surface; letting yourself interact with the world at the richest level possible.
Paradox: being playful with the ambiguities and contradictions attendant to the complexity in which we all now live; going beyond the least common denominator between two opposing notions to create new, innovative ideas.
These four essentials will help you uncover the fifth essential, your self-story.
Self-Story: uncovering the recurrent pattern of your being, the force driving your authentic self - you as an idea that stands above the press of the moment; accepting that your self-story is not your CV and not a chronicle list of events in your life, but a narrative informed by how you feel about the repeating themes in your life, how they came to be, and how you use them, that forms at the intersection of memory, emotion and imagination.
Stop Living to Small of a Life, Knock On More Doors, Expand Your Possibilities
The day after Halloween is a very good day to start uncovering and then living your self-story, living a life that reflects who and what you truly are. After all the partying and the gobbling down of that big assortment of Halloween candies, stop living too small of a life. Use the five essentials to feed your developing self-story. In the process of authoring your self-story, you will find fulfillment and success and you will become more innovative with your own life. But it will be all these things as you define them and as you experience them. It's up to you and what you feel, how you respond to things you sense and are open to, and how trusting of yourself you are.
Do this and the world won't be your oyster (that's just a fantasy), but your life will be iconic of you. Then you will find that you'll be sculpting happy faces in those Halloween pumpkins, not scary ones. And chances are that more often than not you will see your happy face in the mirror.
For more by Bob Deutsch, click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.