A Label By Any Other Name
If you label yourself, you are informed, free-ed and confined by that label.
If you label others, you act and re-act to them based on those labels.
If you label the world around you, you engage in perceptions and expectations.
By not labeling myself a "runner" or a "triathlete", I protected myself from the feeling of needing to compete for a certain time. I do not feel guilty when I don't make 10 miles running in a week. I have excuses or reasons when I don't know the proper way to maintain my bike.
By not labeling myself a "runner" or a "triathlete", I have been cheating myself on my diet. I have not been eating as someone of my activity level should be in order to maintain their energy levels. I have missed out on opportunities to converse with individuals and passed opportunities to join local groups.
What I've realized is that I am both a runner and not, both a triathlete and not. I am the label (ever-changing), but I am bigger than the label (solid awareness).
By labeling others as "well-known / experts" or "beginners", I have judged the value of their information as it pertains to me. I have missed out on opportunities to learn deep wisdom and wasted time accumulating useless knowledge.
What I've realized is that everyone is an expert and a beginner. They have wisdom gained from their unique experience, but their experience is just that: Just theirs. Everyone is wise and everyone is ignorant.
By labeling the world as "known", I expect things to turn out a certain way. I am shocked or pained when someone does not react as I would expect them to, when events happen that aren't "fair". I am fascinated with the "unknown" but allow it to slip away as I go about my mundane day of the known.
What I'm realizing is that everything is both known and unknown. At a deep level, the level of our re-memberance, we know it all. And yet, the point of our existence is to rediscover it all through our emotions, our senses, our experience. We know so very little about life. Everything is obvious; everything is mysterious.
Labels help navigate.
They help us from floating around in a fog; they help us know what energy to take in and give out (for example, what diet to maintain!); they help us organize a chaotic, ever-changing world.
Labels also confine us.
They give us a false security of permanence (that once something has a label, it IS). They limit what we see, what we hear, what we do, what we believe is even possible.
Today, do not break free of your labels. Become bigger than them. Inhale and expand beyond them.
Become aware of the labels you use from non-judgmental stance. See what the world looks like outside of those labels.
What does your life look like when you are an artist; a thoroughly creative being?
What does life look like when you are a sexy, sensual being?
What does life look like when everyone is innately kind-at-heart?
What does life look like when this moment isn't one to be avoided or moved past (the traffic jam, the whining child, the financial crisis) but one to be observed/experienced?
Do not change anything about "reality" - just adjust your labels and perceptions. Reality will change on its own.