What Is Identity?


Why do we feel homesick? Why do we miss our friends? Why do we miss our looks from five years ago? Why do we miss health, beauty, youth? Why do we even miss how and what we felt in the past? Why?

I have gone through all of these questions and even more since I moved to Vietnam. I could never imagine how mentally challenging the move could be!

Over twelve years ago I left Estonia, my birth country, and moved to the UK. I still remember the day I arrived as if it was yesterday. It was so warm for February! The days were longer and the grass was much greener. On the way from Gatwick airport I got off in Ringwood instead of Bournemouth and I’m still grateful to the coach driver for getting out and shouting, “Where are you going, young lady?” Later that evening I got lost when I went out for a walk, but eventually I found my way back. And as I was preparing for sleep, I cried as I suddenly felt a little lonely…

After five years in Bournemouth I moved to London; it was fantastic! I’ve grown to love every corner of the city, with its beautiful parks, walks along the South Bank, cozy cafes and the endless number of things you can do and learn. I’ve met some of the best and the most inspiring people and made good friends. The logical question is why did I leave?

I felt the need for change. I got to the point where I could no longer carry on with my office job but couldn’t just quit because I had to continue to pay my bills. Basically, I left to run away from the rat race and to be able to enjoy all the things I love but never had time for. I was really excited and had no regrets for making a decision to move to Vietnam.

Vietnam didn’t live up to my expectations though and at first I didn’t like it, but later I discovered wonderful gifts it has to offer. However, I would often feel that I missed London, my friends, things I used to do and even the rain! It all got me thinking. Why did I not feel like this when I left Estonia? Why did I feel it this time?

The answer is identification! I deeply identified myself with my life in London. It was a place where my life changed – I discovered my spirituality, met my twin flame lover, had my first insights into the nature of things, I tasted love for the first time. And then I left with no ‘official’ ties to the place I’d once fallen in love with and called home. I felt I might not be able to return – here comes Brexit! I felt that a chunk of my ego structure was falling apart and yelling at me to save it!

It wasn’t only about London though. My identity turned out to be constructed of hundreds, if not thousands, little things and they all came into bright spotlight! For instance, I used to dye my hair blond for years and then I stopped – I missed my golden locks! I wanted to look as I looked before. I wanted to have more energy, I wanted to be perfectly healthy, I wanted to eat houmous, I wanted to breathe clean air, I  wanted to drink tap water, I wanted my friends, I wanted bright beautiful curtains, I wanted indoor plants, I wanted a juicer, I wanted, I wanted, I wanted!!!…. I wanted everything I had left behind in order to grow to be part of me again. Madness!

We identify ourselves with our body, things, places, people, work, status, income, lifestyle, even with spirituality. And then once all of those things aren’t there anymore we suffer. I felt like I was being stripped off. But then when I am truly naked what’s left of me? What is ‘me’? All the things I identify with? Who am I?

Over the past few months I had a recurring dream of being naked in public. I’m sure you know this kind of dream – you feel ashamed of your naked body and are trying to cover up. Except that I wasn’t ashamed anymore. In my dream I had a memory of being ashamed and a need to cover up but there was a new feeling – contentment. I was amazed to find myself feeling happy walking around naked. There was a sense of inner peace. So do not hold on to the layers of identification, let them go and give way to peace and contentment.

Namaste <3

Image: Fear of Loss by Frits Ahlefeldt