I was performing at a music festival this past weekend and the sound guy approached the band with a clipboard. “Are you just a singer?” He asked me with a pen in his hand. I heard my band mutter as they shook their heads knowing this soon to be reprimanded individual just put his foot in his mouth. I understood he was trying to sketch out the stage plan for sound requirements, but using the words, ‘just a singer,’ seemed to casually dismiss all my other capabilities and titles. We each have many identities that we project to the world, and our egos often get in the way. But we are basically, and magnificently, ‘just’ soulful beings dwelling inside a physical body, despite all the other descriptors we tell ourselves and others.
Yes, ‘Sound Guy,’ I am more than ‘just a singer.’ I am a songwriter, band leader, travel guide, author, consultant, educator and bliss ambassador. But I am also a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, godmother, and friend. We each have numerous titles that define who we are on documents and licenses - Female, Male, Transgender, Single, Divorced, Widowed, Caucasian, Latino, Other, Boomer, Millennial, Gen X’er, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Atheist, Jewish, Catholic, Irish, American, Chinese, Dentist, Plumber, Social Media Influencer. The list goes on.
We tell different stories to different people. Like good public relations agents, we spin a tale creating a façade to appear a certain way to others. But what do we tell ourselves? Despite outward appearances and hard earned certificates, the titles we give ourselves often prevent us from achieving our goals and our soul purpose. We often say or think things like, “I’m dysfunctional,” or, “I’m a victim,” or, “I’m not good at (fill in the blank).”
Animals don’t tell stories. They communicate with each other in the present tense, not in the past or future tense as humans do. Humans ruminate, scheme, exaggerate, brag, bend the truth, worry and fret. Animals simply express what is true at this moment. They only live in the now – “I am hungry, I am nesting, I am mating, I am protecting, I am resting.” There’s no need for dramatic plot analysis or what if’s in the animal kingdom. Humans create unnecessary and often fictional stories that lead to anxiety – “What if I get hurt, or lost, or fail?” Since we love storytelling so much, why aren’t we giving the script a positive spin? – “What if I succeed, or finally find what I’ve been looking for, or fall in love?”
People study to become doctors, artists, and lawyers. They spend years learning specific skills training how to be computer programmers, pilots, and musicians. But not many people learn how to analyze their dreams in order to understand their souls on a deeper level. Our dreams tell stories too, through symbolic imagery. If thoroughly analyzed, these stories in our dreams could actually reveal the truth about who we really are and what we really desire. It is helpful to become skilled at a profession that is not only interesting, but also pays the bills. However it is necessary to become skilled at understanding our soul’s purpose and what we are meant to do in relation to the interconnectedness of all humanity on a universal level.
Be careful with the stories you tell yourself. Begin to think of your life as a Choose Your Own Adventure storybook. Change your story with the words you use and the actions you take. Positive self talk helps. Shift the dialog from, “Nothing ever works out for me,” to “I can do this.” And know that you are not just a singer, or stay-at-home-mom, or passenger, or any other title someone else gives you. Feel free to choose new titles – “I am a Seeker. I am an Enthusiast. I am a Being full of light and love.”