Do you remember that game that was often an elementary school favorite; memory? The premise of the game is that you spread the cards out in rows and then flip a card over, study it for a minute and then intuitively hover your hands over the rest of the face down army of cards to see if you can find the match. Once you feel confident you flip and card to reveal what is underneath. The idea of the game is that over time you will learn the lay of the land; so you will remember when a card comes up that has a dolphin on it, it will be easy to find the glorious snouted fin toting being in the mix. As the game progresses the lines get smaller and the piles get counted to see who is best at matching and memorizing.
What does the game of memory have to do with loving the skin you are in… well my dear… it has Everything to do with it. How often do we look in the mirror at the card that we are, and wish more than anything that something was different? That we were more successful, prettier, smarter, less sleepy, had our shit just a little more together- after all many of our friends seem to be doing this thing called life really well. When this image came to me I realized that instead of looking for things that matched the animal that I am, I would have an interaction with someone and my chameleon would come out. It looked a little like this.
Insert internal monologue:
Gosh I love how career driven she is, I should be more like that. I feel so lost when it comes to business. I need to have her cut throat tenacity or else no one will take me seriously.
My chameleon body would now blink through the lense of owl eyes.
She is sexier than me, maybe if I show more of my body I will get attention like she does. Maybe if I was prettier someone would want to be with me, and this terrible game of dating in this day in time would be over.
My chameleon frame, with owl eyes now adorns herself with peacock feathers.
They are much more enlightened than I am, I love how deeply they know the things of the spiritual world. I think people see me as a fraud when I speak about these things, I need to elevate my game.
My chameleon with owl eyes, peacock feathers face now elongates and morphs into a divine elephant trunk.
He is so adventurous, it is like he is always planning another trip. My life looks boring next to that.
My chameleon with owl eyes, peacock feathers, an elephants trunk now squeezes out a dolphin tale.
Exhausting! This process is exhausting. Before we know it we have become a creature that we do not even recognize and then are so hard on ourselves when we just cannot seem to keep it all together. Friends, it is really tough to be free in the ocean, when the trunk of our spirit is demanding air from land. And for real, sometimes I do not want to wear a dolphin tale, I simply do not want that pressure. I cannot be my best self when I am trying to embody a hybrid version of everyone else, or be to others the way I feel they need to see me to say “its a match” in this complicated game called life.
I believe that growth is beautiful, and admiring the genius of someone we care about is critical, but perhaps it is ok to let them shine in their glory, the way they were designed to be. And before we try on the life of another, lets get really sure about who we actually are. What are your core values? What standards do you run your life by? What do you need in your environment to operate at your best? What purpose are you adding this trait to your life, and is it congruent with how you want your life to be?
It also occurs to me that studying the card that we are makes it easier to find the things that authentically match up. For example, back to our table top card game; instead of getting overwhelmed with all the cards to flip and try out, what if we really looked at the one card in our hand and when we find something that is not a match, then phew! That is one less thing to try to find space for. A “no” on connection is just as important as a “yes“! Study the animal you are, and then you can recognize when those that are your style and speed cross your path.These are the ones that cause you to grow, and show up as your best self , you will easily recognize them as “a match”.
This lesson has been especially impactful to me lately. I am a deep feeling, strong willed, extroverted empath that is highly sensitive and thrives in the creative. I love to do body work, travel, and cultivate deep conversations. I need space to recharge, but human contact gives me life. This world is many opposites blended together to make up who I am, and it has taken me a long time to realize that is ok. I am an intentional chameleon, my adaptable self is part of the magic that is me; and at the same time the lesson for me today is to decide what color I am showing and live in that for the moment, and not be swayed by the desire to conform to what others may want. This lesson has been especially challenging for me because for so long being what others wanted was how I kept myself safe. Can you relate? Now I am doing the hard work to believe that my authentic self is what I need to be, and what others can benefit from as well. What animal are you? What do you love to show up as in the world, and what things do you feel you have to put on to make others happy? Are you in a job that suits you, or do you go to work every day trying to breath underwater without gills? Take a deep breath my dear, feel the seat under you, the surface your spine rests against, wiggle your toes; and realize that in this moment, changing nothing, you are already pretty badass.