What does “selfing” mean? In the book he says, “there is not absolute separate “self” in the first place, just the process of continual self-construction or “selfing.”
“If we could only recognize the process of selfing as an ingrained habit and then give ourselves permission to take the day off, to stop trying so hard to be “somebody” and instead just experience being, perhaps we would be a lot happier and more relaxed.” From Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Continual self-construction. This is who am, not this. That is who am. I don’t know about you, but I have struggled with that most of my life. My awareness of it started in high school when I wasn’t part of any social group. I had a few friends in the theater, in band, in sports, and in classes. But who were my people? A remember a girl, one in the 90’s we called “goth,” telling me the reason why she liked me. I didn’t dress like them or act like them, I simply hung out with them at lunch sometimes, talking about the darker side of life. I didn’t seem to need to blend in and become them.
That was a rare moment that I felt accepted just as I was. And strange, I can’t remember her name, just her words and that feeling.
It was the same at university, at work, and then once I was married with children, it happened again. Moms have cliques. Did you know that? Stay-at-home moms, working moms, single moms, attachment parents, cry-it-out parents, vegan, organic, eat whatever you want please just leave me alone for a moment moms. The list goes on and on. They separate out into smaller and smaller playgroups, and I was a little bit of all of them.
When we decided to homeschool…oh man. The separating into those like me and not like me exploded. There I was again, not exactly like any one group. On the outside again.
Religion, politics, health, etc. I don’t seem to fit into any group completely. Does anyone?
It’s all based on this continual self-construction idea. We let words and ideas define who we are and how we should react to the world around us. We separate into camps and put up barriers between them.
What if we didn’t? What if we took a break from being “somebody” and just experienced being right in this very moment, with these very people? If we did it successfully for several days in a row, we’d probably never go back.
That’s what I’m doing today. I’m nobody. Each experience that comes across my path today, I will greet and embrace with curiosity and a smile. It does not add or subtract from my being. It only exists, as I do. It feels incredibly freeing to let go of labels and titles.