Who Am I, Right Now In This Moment?

{Photo Credit :: manbehindthecurtain.ie}

On Saturday I had an eye-opening conversation with a yoga teacher training classmate. (It was only our second weekend together, so even though we all bonded quickly, we are really still in the getting to know you phase.) During our afternoon break, she asked me a seemingly innocuous question:

“Bekah Outside the Box” … I don’t get it, why did you call your blog that?

For a moment I wasn’t quite sure how to answer, because the answer just seemed so incredibly obvious from my perspective. After contemplating for a moment, I explained:

Well, I’m a really buttoned up, scared, person who does not color outside the lines or risk putting myself out there, but I’ve been experimenting lately with trying something different — doing things that scare me, being open about the fact that I’m human, and being willing to stray outside the box I had put myself in — and my blog is basically about that experiment.

To which she responded:

Hmm, I never would have known that about you. You don’t seem that way at all.

And that was that. We moved on to a different subject without much fanfare, no big deal. It was a simple exchange, but it stuck with me throughout the remainder of the weekend and I kept coming back to this conversation over and over again, unpacking what this exchange meant to me, layer by layer.

See my initial (in my head) reaction was something along the lines of: um, have you really read my blog? You know, like this post where I talk about the bazillion things that scare me? Or this one, all about the neurotic stories I tell myself? Or this one, about how my mind is pretty much a never-ending parade of horribles? I’m not “outside the box” at all! 

But to see yourself through another person’s lens offers great perspective — an opportunity to see yourself in an entirely different way than you usually do. And my classmate’s vision of “who I am” was so drastically different from mine that it literally caused me to pause and ask: who am I, Right Now in this moment?

Right now, in this moment, some of the things I might say to describe myself to a stranger include:

  • In training to become a yoga teacher. 
  • An active person.
  • A blogger (aspiring blogger).
  • Scared, but (usually) not letting fear stop me.

These are what Christina Feldman might call my “conditions of the moment” — impermanent conditions that will naturally and inevitably change in time. And in thinking about this, it struck me: my conditions of this moment are drastically different from my conditions of the past (and, I’m sure, entirely different than my future conditions will be). 

Who I am Right Now is actually not even close to the same as my lifelong self-imposed, self-limiting “identity.” Richard Rosen suggests that by creating stillness, we can “recognize the fallacy and unhealthiness of our limited and self-limiting identity, and allow it to spontaneously fall away,” leaving us with only our true self (or as Ptanjali names it “the Seer” — drashtri — our “eternal, illimitable, unchanging, and perpetually joyful” self).

While I am certainly not suggesting that I have somehow pealed away all of the layers and discovered my true self (come on now, that just seems exceedingly unlikely!), I do believe that I have been taking important steps in that general direction. And through the eyes of those close to me, I am beginning to see those changes in myself and starting to understand that “who I am” is not a static thing at all … in fact, it has even changed throughout the course of writing this blog post!

13 comments

  1. Whooooo Arrrrre Yoooooooou? This brought me back to the movie and the catepillar asking Alice…WHOOOO ARRRRREE YOOOOOU? It is like you are reading my mind about blogging today…I wrote to this as well in a different sort of way. Not yet published, not sure why.

    Food for thought for me tonight…Thank you (hope this reply made sense)

    1. Oh I am right there with you on the Alice In Wonderland reference! And I think my favorite thing about blogging is how there is always another sliver/an ever so slightly different perspective to write from…. can’t wait to read your version! (Plus, I suspect that our entire TT group is going to be pondering similar questions over the next two weeks.) Can it please be February 1st ASAP…? :)))

  2. Very insightful post, thanks! One of the things I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about yoga is that it helps you learn that stretching yourself and trying new things does not have to be scary, that in fact it feels good and is very empowering! Good for you for moving in the direction of your dreams! I plan to start yoga teacher training this year myself!!

    1. Thank you!! And if you’re even considering teacher training, all I can say is DO IT! :)

  3. Yes, we are constantly changing, ever-changing beings! And I think that’s wonderful. Thanks for your post.

    1. Thank YOU for reading and commenting! xo

  4. Kate Zocchetti · · Reply

    I am so glad you’re not letting your fear stop you, and so proud of you my friend.

    1. Thanks yoga buddy! xoxo

  5. I loved this post, Bekah. “Who are you?” is such a tricky question. Maybe even a trick question. Years ago, I was broken up with while at the wedding of a buddy of mine. In an effort to console me, my friend’s father kept pestering me with that f*&ing question: “Who are you, Omar?” he asked over and over again. “That’s what you need to figure out to get past this. Who are you?” After a sleepless night spent searching for an answer, I decided early in the morning to go search for a pack of cigarettes instead. This fantastic Argentine actress, then in her 60s, who had also been at the wedding, came with me, and we chatted as we walked down the road looking for an open shop. When she asked me why I seemed so glum (which she pronounced “glam,” to my great pleasure), I told her I had been up all night trying to figure out who I was. Her response: “Don’t worry, darling. The only people who can claim to know who they are are simpletons and liars. It’s better to focus on who you want to be.”

    1. Omar, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. Thanks for sharing! We miss you around campus – hope you are well. xoxo

  6. This was great to read, and i love your comment about it being a static question.

  7. Love reading what you have to say. I’ll be thinking about the “conditions of the moment” as they certainly do change!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment. The thought that these conditions are impermanent has really stuck with me this week too. xo

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