The Dungeon Prompt assignment for last week stated:
We all have some aspect of our personality that most don’t see. It may be a superhero that we walk the world as. It may be a tough guy telling back the bullies that only you hear on the inside while the world sees a soft spoken person. It may be the shy, sensitive, insecure child that you cover up with a bold and outgoing personality. Who are you hiding within? Who do you walk the world as, but most do not see?
As I pondered those words, I thought of three parts of me that are still buried so far within that I barely know them myself. Let me introduce you to them. They are my dancer, my cook, and my lover of spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting and yoga.
Alter Ego 1: Dancer
I once said I was not a dancer and never would be. Throughout my life, anytime I attempted to dance I stumbled over my own two feet, as well as those of my partner. Soon after I started attending a COGIC (Church of God in Christ) church in 1991, my feet began to move on their own as I listened to the music. Before long I was “Dancing in the Spirit.” Often my body would begin to whirl, in a style similar to a whirling dervish.
Sometime later, I had a dream in which I looked out a window at night, onto a courtyard below. There I saw a young woman with long black hair. She was spinning and spinning. I cried as I watched her dance. When I woke up, tears were still streaming down my face. As I reflected on the dream, I believed I was seeing a part of myself, perhaps from some lifetime past. I remember that dream as vividly now as the night I had it.
My “dancer” alter ego was freed through my experiences at the Pentecostal church and the dream taught me how important dancing was to me. When I was in an altered state of consciousness, I could dance with abandon, but I was still unable to do anything but stumble when in my everyday state of mind.
Around 2005, I attended a fundraiser and watched a performance group dance to Bhangra and Bollywood tunes. The music and the dancers were electrifying and my spirit soared. I wanted to be able to dance like that! The group was from the Rhythms of India dance school. I started taking classes from Shub-Chintan Gill, who was the school’s owner, director and choreographer. My body was awkward but I was learning. Our class even performed from time to time!
I took the Bhangra/Bollywood classes for several years, not stopping until I entered a period of my life when I had trouble controlling my blood pressure. I long to go back to those classes. Would my body still be able to handle it? After all, I’m now 66 years old and those are high energy dances.
As I look at one of the school’s promotional videos I remember the fun. The dancer part of me still yearns to be free! I need to dance again.
Alter Ego 2: Cook
I love to eat but I’m not a cook. I’d go so far as to say I am known for not cooking, probably because I say that to people so often. But the truth is I want to be a good cook.
This year, I was determined to make some good meals when Chaitanya and Akshay (my daughter and son-in-law) came from India for a visit. A month or so before their arrival, I experimented with recipes from cookbooks that normally sit unused on top of my refrigerator. I also found some cooking blogs which had recipes that were easy to make. I even had a friend come over and taste-test many of the things I made ahead of time.
I had so much fun making new meals and Chaitanya and Akshay appreciated them as well. I now believe I can do it! My cook alter ego is emerging and I am excited!
Alter Ego 3: Meditator, Chanter, Lover of Yoga
I have no doubt that spiritual practices such as meditation; chanting my mantra and the Sri Lalitha Sahasranama; and doing yoga have great value. My experience of being on a plane that abruptly descended 25,000 feet had proved that to me (A Reason to Believe). So why is it I am resistant to doing things that I know would be good for me? Probably a big part of it is that I would have to reign in my “over-doing” nature in order to make time for them. (Recovering from Over-Doing)
I am aware that all the seva (volunteer service) I do is a form of spiritual practice and I find gardening and blogging to be meditative. And I take Pilates classes, which has similarities to yoga. So is it possible that my belief that I should be doing meditation, chanting and yoga are are simply “shoulds” that I put on myself rather than practices that are important for me to do? That’s possible, but I don’t think so. I believe I would have more peace of mind and my body would be stronger if I meditated, chanted and did yoga.
Is there an alter ego inside of me that loves those practices? Will she come out some day? Will she ever show up in her fullness? When? I do look forward to meeting her.
Those are the three alter egos that I am able to introduce to you now. I wonder how many others there are. When I know, I will introduce them to you as well.
Written for Dungeon Prompts: Alter Ego