I just watched the Bourne Identity with Matt Damon and he just kept going to these back alleys and finding some unknown person who just whipped out a couple of new passports and some illegal drivers licenses plus a visa thrown in here and there and was good to go. How did he do that? I have stood out on the corner of Merrimon hoping I might bump into someone who can print and laminate me a new driver’s license and it is always a no go! Hmmm what is it I just do not understand about getting a new identity?
We live in a world afraid of identity theft. As if our identity is our social security number, our address, our Facebook page or our education. But, we are lead to believe that all these things define us. And for me, one woman deciding to travel for a year and having my driver’s license denied me based on our SS Administration not agreeing with my legal name change, I am acutely aware of the delicate concept of Identity.
But, underneath all of these metaphors for who we are, is an essence, an authentic expression of our Self that evolves over our lifetime. An identity that has nothing to do with our job, our marital status or our bank account. For some of us, we conform early to what our family wants from us, we identify with work as who we are, our bank account to estimate our worth and whether we are loved and lovable is proven by who is out there loving us.
I am a person who has devoted my life to unearthing the real ME and helping countless others to remember themselves. My authentic self, as opposed to my conditioned self, my persona that was constructed out of the expectations of others or societies norms, is not really me. So, who would have thought that creating a website would be the perfect vehicle for greater self-awareness and self-expression. But it has in so many ways.
I left a psychotherapeutic practice after 30 years only to sell what I own, pack my car with my cats and the things I think are essential in my life and head for the highway. I had hours driving to contemplate my next incarnation as I listened to self -help tapes from Wayne Dyer and cried my way through books on tape like The Daughter of Fortune. And I figured that other than my passion for blogging it was time to get a Big Girl’s Website. To define exactly who I am and what I want to offer the world in terms of my talents and gifts so that I might re-invent how I do work in the world, support myself and help others in the process. I started this web design just before Thanksgiving of last year.
I just woke up one day and posted a Craigslist post asking for a web designer who could help me create a website. After 46 left brain responses enter Mary and her daughter Iva from Ivaluva.com. Mary is like a wood nymph looking 20 and being nearly 40. She and I hit it off immediately and found ourselves holding hands in a territory I was least familiar with. Her job was to hear me and interpret who I am by creating images and color and form that defines the spirit of what I am all about. What a magical new relationship. Partnering with a person who wants to interpret the essence of who I am in form and design and then create a website that captures the uncaptureable. Asking me all along, “Who is Maya Luna Christobel?”
When my therapist asks me what makes me happy, who I am in my life, what I am afraid of that stops me from being the biggest version of myself I can be… I answer easily and then rip off a check to her for a couple hundred bucks and come back for more. But, when my web designer says to me, “Maya, who do you want the public to see about you, what work do you want them to know you do, or what do you want a person who comes to your bright and shiny new website to see first? Do you want the world out there to really know who you are, what you offer them or just have a feel good kind of experience? I choked. I mean I literally choked!
I mean I can look these questions in the eye when I am submerged in the bubbles in my bath and there is not one soul around, but going public? Please!
Well, let me confess here that I was a blubbering idiot tripping all over myself trying to answer my 20 something web designers questions. I got a headache, not because I did not know a Widget from Link, but because becoming public, going online and projecting myself out into cyberspace felt a little like unprotected sex! OMG! Once you have completed the act there is no turning back.
Therapy never felt this exposing and challenging. I wake up in the middle of the night asking questions like: What truly makes you happy Maya? What would inspire you if you were to redefine your work in the world? Does money really follow when you do what you love? Wow! Time to put my money where my Identity is or is it the other way around.
This has been a rich and rewarding few months with my web designer, my techy named Kuba, these young minds poking at my 60 year old understanding of the computer and my ever changing concept of self. It has been a daunting, lovely and terribly frustrating experience that I would not have done without. My computer is now no longer this specter in my life, but like a long lost lover.
My Facebook page no longer some trendy thing everyone does to gossip about others, but a wonderful window into the world around me. I tweet, I post, I blog, I just love it all. I spill the love I have for the world into every post, I sing out loud with every music video I post, I rejoice with every spectacular photo of Elephants kissing Chimpanzees and I thank the gods of cyberspace for such a long reach around the world of countless souls. What an amazing time we live in.
If any one of us thinks that there is just one version of who we are or one destination in the discovery of our true self, then I am here to say that you might want to rethink that idea. In my experience I have found the making of a website a perfect platform for redefinition, honesty, courage and personal expression.
So, many of you have seen the beginning of this unfolding when I launched my site in February of this year and it has morphed into a truer expression of ME. It will continue to. Who would have thought that web design was therapy? So, please visit me now at the newer improved site and give me your feedback. I am a work in progress. www.mayalunachristobel.com. And by the way, I am still not driving!