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About Melissa

Writing has always been my first love. Finding inner peace has always been my deepest wish. Through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and writing, I fuse these practices to help others connect to their own creative spark and the peace that exists within.

I am the editor of the essay collection Going OM:

Real-Life Stories on and off the Yoga Mat (Viva Editions 2014), featuring a foreword by Cheryl Strayed, and the author of two poetry chapbooks.

 

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The Myth of Who You Think You Are.

January 18, 2018

We are a species built of mythos. There is the mythos of the world itself and our place within it (because we are self-conscious like that).

 

The world is sculpted by a singular and mighty sculptor.

The world is a living organism.

The world is a gorgeous, freakish accident and consciousness has sprung from water and carbon and all sorts of right conditions. 

 

These are only three of the pervading myths in my culture, but there are as many visions of the world as there are minds to envision.

 

What is the historical mythos you carry in your bones? Does it shape the current of your life?

 

I’d say, with some digging, you’ll likely discover even those childhood stories influence how you move, how you love, and how you live.

 

Our stories aren’t neon signs: they’re tucked just out of view, which is why we carry them with us everywhere without recognizing their presence — or their power. They’re the beauty mark on the center of your back. They’re the background program that runs without our conscious awareness.

 

There is the mythos of who you think you are. The mythos of your country, your tribe, your purpose; the mythos of love, of social behaviors, of adjectives like “good” and “bad” and “right” and “wrong” and “them” and “me.”

 

 

Some of my stories are:

I’m a loser and no one likes me.

I’m not athletic or physically strong. 

People with financial wealth are shallow and materialistic.

 

And here’s how these stories have shown up in my life (luckily, I have been re-writing these narratives):

 

I’m a loser and no one likes me.

Shows up as:

I want everyone to like me, so I will say yes to things I can’t truly commit to and won’t speak up if it causes a ripple.

 

I’m not athletic or physically strong. 

Shows up as:

I can’t practice stronger yoga postures. And then the defenses go up: Besides! Power yoga isn’t spiritual. (More on this transformation later.)

 

People with financial wealth are shallow and materialistic.

Shows up as:

By not making a ton of money I’m morally superior. I devalue my own work and services because they are creative, and because I'm in the wellness industry. (Thank goodness this one is shifting.)

 

I know I’m not the only one. You hold stories, and you believe them to be true. But stories can be dangerous, even if they are cloaked in innocent, lovely language. Words are seeds of power. Words are spells. Examine them, and you will get one step closer to understanding yourself — which is a mystery that cannot be fully understood. That’s another story, though I’m not necessarily stickin’ to it.

 

Feel free to try this exercise — call up the stories that hold you back, speak them aloud like the bad spells they are, and rewrite them. 

 

SPEAK YOUR BAD SPELLS :: 10 MINUTE WRITING EXERCISE

 

STEP ONE

Make a freeform list of the stories you tell yourself about yourself, love, relationships, money, society, family, etc. Do this quickly, without much rumination. The story itself only has to be one sentence. If it sounds weird or crazy or icky, that’s ok. Write it out.

 

STEP TWO

Now slow down and look back at your stories. Can you quickly uncover how a few of these are showing up in your life? Start a new list, and write out those manifestations.

 

STEP THREE

Now, ask yourself: do I believe this story to be true? If not, what am I going to do to re-write this? Is there a small action I can take to reconsider and reconfigure this?

 

For example, to re-write the story of “I’m not athletic or strong, and therefore I can’t practice powerful yoga asana,” I began taking private yoga sessions with my good friend and talented teacher Ryan Devin. In just two months I have discovered so many other stories that I’m holding in my muscles and connective tissue, that is informing how I hold myself — on the mat and of course in life. And, I have realized how strong I can be, thanks to the encouragement and keen guidance of my teacher. I literally am standing taller. I’m holding my body with more respect and amazement. I stood up for myself in the face of harassment. And, I am starting to believe I am strong. Really and truly. Inside and out.

 

I hope the same for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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