Waffle popping out of toaster, someone grabbing said Eggo. “Leggo my Eggo”.
Nope, we’re not going to talk about waffles today. Our topic of conversation is the proverbial, seemingly ever present ego. Oh yes, that wonderful, tenacious, “I’ve got a strangle hold on your joie de vivre and I’m not letting go” ego.
Ego who thinks she knows who you are. Ego who judges and measures and compares, and oh yes, did I mention always finds you lacking.
Yup, that ego. Ego…
…who can make you self conscious and awkward in the time it takes to bat an eyelash.
…who can rain on any parade.
…who can bring vats of red ants into any picnic.
Yup, that ego.
Leggo my Eggo (read “let go of my ego”) is a full time job. How strong a voice your ego has at any time is in direct correlation with how much joy is flowing into your life. If ego is turned on high, very simply put, life satisfaction is turned way down low. Not fun.
The cool thing about ego is that you can train yourself to pay less and less attention to it. It won’t go away, it will always be there somewhere in the background, but if you are exquisitely focused on something else, its hold on you releases.
We’ve been trained from a very early age to pay attention to our egos. We’re taught that they rule. A great deal of what we learn in our families and at school is about ego…
We learn how to “please”.
We learn how to “do well”.
We learn how to “stand out.”
And of course, along with all of that, we also learn that we’re lacking in all the above areas.
In a nutshell, we learn how to pay attention to that judgemental internal voice (ego) and how to play off of it incessantly. Enter unhappiness–front and center, well amped mic in hand.
We arrive in adulthood well schooled and trained with powerful, tenacious egos whose roots go deep.
At first glance it looks hopeless. No way can we get that sucker out of the way. It’s like standing in a garden with your hands wrapped around a monster weed tugging with every ounce of your being and tugging and tugging; your whole body in the game. And then of course you lose your grip and backward you go. Bruised derriere.
Here’s the deal… if you grab your ego by the throat and start tugging, you’re going to loose. It’s actually going to strengthen your ego. Almost like it feels your resistance so it deepens and strengthens its roots.
But if you just start to walk away from it; turn your back on it; pay attention to something else, it fades into the background. It wilts. It releases its hold on you. At first, maybe only for a moment; but then maybe for a whole minute, then 2. The more you do it, the more you start to experience ego-free living and that is a delicious way to live indeed. That is the kind of life you were made to live. That is where you experience the freedom you’ve been craving. That’s where you get to be truly, completely, deliciously, intoxicatingly yourself.
This is one of my favorite moments with clients. I love watching as my clients start to lose interest in their egos and focus instead on the magic of who they truly are. It’s like a lens shift in a camera and it’s so powerful. It’s a game changer.
Easy does it with this one for you. Set the intention to start living from a place that’s more and more ego-free; from a place that’s authentically you. See the value of that. Dip back into your memories and find the moments (and yes, there are a bunch of them) when you were free of ego. These are the moments where you felt vital and alive and free. These are the times when you felt in flow and creative. These are the times when you lost track of time. Find those moments. Remember them. Savor them. See their value.
And then practice. Create times and practice the art of quiet mind. Set the timer; even a minute will do. Close your eyes. Listen to your breathing. Oh yes, your mind will interrupt. Your ego will have all kinds of things to say. In short, it will have a fit! But just notice and gently come back to the breath. Again and again, come back to the breath. Gently, consistently come home. No judgement. No big conversation. Just come home, again and again, back to the breath.
Practice. When you find yourself in a torrid ego conversation, notice, take a deep breath and let go. Just like that big old weed. Let go. Release. Turn your head. Look at something else. Don’t pay attention. Reclaim your attention.
At first this will be a frustrating quest. You’ll end up on your backside without that weed in hand more often than not but then slowly, something will begin to shift. You’ll find yourself more and more, in a very gentle way, in a different landscape. In a landscape that isn’t so much about struggle and pushing as it is about noticing the smell of honeysuckle; a landscape that waves neighboring cars into traffic with a smile; an ease of being; a relaxing of tension; a pulse of happiness that more and more begins to take hold of your being.
From that place of “leggo my eggo”, life indeed begins to delight.