For the past few weeks, I've been dancing around with an idea presented by my friend Donna Karlin, the Shadow Coach and founder of A Better Perspective. The idea sits in front of my nose in 36-point type.
“People become who they might be when they let go of who they are.”
In my own struggle to let go, my heart leaps and pirouettes with vivid energy, excited by the possibility of discovering and becoming who I might be. My head takes steps rehearsed and perfected through decades of practice designed to keep me as I am. I promise you, this dance is not a sexy tango; it's more like a barroom brawl.
Brain scientists suggest the desire to change, however sincere or necessary, collides with the human brain’s natural aversion to change. That ancient “fight or flight” mechanism takes over when events, feelings or thoughts don’t match the old patterns. That primitive part of our brain interprets this as “danger” and renders us temporarily incapable of rational thought. It fills our head with worry, anxiety and other nonsense and our bodies with cortisol, adrenaline and who knows what other forms of crap and corruption. So we don’t change.
Two years ago, I thought I had changed forever and for good, for once and for all. I was invited to contribute a chapter to a book about women and power. In writing it, I determined that I had found my real self and was, henceforth, going to be that. My chapter, posted here, Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, describes the emergence of Susanna, my bolder, greater, less inhibited alter ego. She is the creature I was meant to be. It's a good story. It aims to help others discover their own inner Susanna, and I occasionally hear from people who've been touched by it or inspired to find their own true selves.