As the holiday season begins, many are donning costumes and masks to celebrate Halloween.
I didn’t make it to any costume parties this year, but in years’ past I’ve had a lot of fun participating. While playing a character and getting my make-up just right is always a big part of it, what’s even better about these events is how perfect strangers relate through playfulness for a few hours, foregoing all seriousness about the social masks we wear under our fantasy façades.
When I embarked on my journey of spiritual awareness, one of the first puzzles I grappled with is how many masks we wear to get through modern life, and why we wear them. In the fear-based mindset of competition and the thought-based mindset of “looking good”, we start to build our masks quite early in life. Wanting to be loved by family, accepted by peers, and honored as “winners”, we start to collect a closet full of costumes to be worn at the appropriate times and places. And if we find we can’t or don’t want to fit into established groups, we may choose to find alternative power in the role of rebel, hermit or loner. Regardless of which direction we take, we tend to choose the characters that creates a storyline we can live with, even when those characters cause us to suffer.
Awakening to the intuitive spirit requires us to examine the masks we wear and how they keep us from acknowledging our true essence as we live our human lives. When we mistakenly identify with these personas and appearances, we live in a world of confusion and suffering that is relieved only by temporary moments of peace. However, when we identify with the intuitive essence that animates our lives from within - we live in a reality of peace that is fortified by the lessons that come from temporary suffering, while not being controlled by them.
It is said that the tradition of wearing masks on Halloween began in ancient times when people wanted to keep negative energies from slipping through the veil and into their homes. If they painted themselves to be unrecognizable, the bad spirits would pass them by and they would be safe for the next year. If you think about it, that’s kind of why we hide behind our social masks, too. We want to stay safe from uncertain energy when we’re out in the world, and once we feel safe enough to take off the mask (with certain people, in certain places, or only when alone) we then can be truly present. Unfortunately, that means most of our time is spent appearing in a certain way instead of listening to and acting upon the authentic inner voice that makes the most difference in living a present and powerful life. It also means that together, we’re creating a world where many don’t consider it safe to reveal our true selves to each other, creating more of the same in turn.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if we all allowed ourselves to be seen as the genuine, eternal beings that we are? Sure, we’ll probably always need a certain type of veil between us so that we can continue to learn and grow from our experiences together. Boundaries are good. But what if that veil evolved to be so thin that we could acknowledge the barriers and masks between us and not take them so seriously? Human life would be revealed as the giant costume party that it is, and the true wisdom of spirit may have a chance to heal us through the laughter and dancing that would commence.
I know I’m in…. are you?
Can you think of some masks that have covered your true essence over the years?
Here are some popular ones with alternatives to try on when you want to make a change…
Damsel in Distress - feeling stranded in life, waiting for the right person or time to come before you can enjoy freedom and happiness.
Empowered Alternative: Super Hero – Call upon your intuitive superpowers to help you make stronger choices and be more present to your innate ability to make a difference for yourself, no matter what your circumstances.
Evil Queen – feeling as if you must be all powerful, detached or in control to triumph over a life that is inherently unfair.
Empowered Alternative: Fairy Godmother - Call upon your intuitive magic to help you turn negative situations into learning opportunities. With a new attitude driven by your deep desire to feel better about life, your wish for happiness is your own command!
Zombie – feeling as if you’re wandering through life and merely existing. You’re feeling slow and sluggish and it’s all you can do to make it to work and take care of your basic needs. As for fun, joy and connection? For you, there are no such things.
Empowered Alternative: Movie Star– Call upon your intuitive imagination to envision yourself as the star of your own story. Whether you are living in a tragedy, a comedy, a fantasy or somewhere in between – you get to be honored for your important role in everything that happens to your character (First and foremost, by yourself).
The key is simply to remember that no matter what role you play at any given time, the real you is just beneath it – deciding how it will interact in this world of masks and dramas. When you’re feeling disempowered or lost, the antidote is usually to bring the opposite energy into your being and find your center once again. Consult your intuition and it will help you become more present while staying patient and merciful with yourself and those around you.
Happy Halloween, my friend – may the veils that separate you from peace stay thin this week!
In Peace, Love and Wisdom,
P.S. Keep those masks in check with weekly notes from Yours Truly...