I have been recently thinking quite a bit about labels and how often we are being defined by our actions and behaviors-either by ourselves or by others. As the mother of a young child and spending lots of time with family and friends with children, I have found myself saying or hear other moms say “my son is outgoing” or “he’s stubborn” or my niece is “gifted” or she “has a temper”. I am struck by how often we use labels to create a container of reference for ourselves and others. While I don’t believe this is necessarily done with bad intentions-it has a way of pervading our psyches and begins to create patterns that start to inform the way we live our lives. I woke up the other morning bothered by something, a label, that really touched a nerve. And throughout my restless sleep it somehow kept popping up and weaving itself into my thoughts, eventually enough that it woke me up. As I lay there, initially upset and agitated, a very clear thought came to me which was-how we are constantly given the opportunity to redefine ourselves, to release old patterns, habits and ideas by which we have let ourselves be defined or, rather, confined. That we do not need to be victims of labels we have given ourselves or been given by others: I’m lazy, I’m grumpy, I’m not good with computers. That we can release and let go. Through our breath, through yoga and through the words we choose to say to ourselves and share with others. We are always given the opportunity to return to our inner source for comfort and guidance. Let your heart take the lead and since your mind generally wants/needs to involve itself as well, perhaps come up with a new label to placate it. If you have continually told yourself, I am a great (fill in the blank) it has undoubtedly had an impact, you start to live from that paradigm. And sometimes you don’t even have to believe it really, at least initially. The constant repetition resonates on a deeper level and eventually works its way into our subconscious and eventually our consciousness. I used this technique years ago when suffering from frustrating and debilitating digestive issues and went from being the girl with the “stomach problems” (a label I got very used to, perhaps even perversely comfortable with) to feeling “healthy, happy and whole”-which was the very mantra I used to extricate myself. So I invite you to release a label you’ve been using to define yourself, your spouse, child or friend, and find a new word, one which speaks to who you know you (or whoever) truly are, your highest self. Just try it out, it certainly won’t hurt and may very well give you a much needed shift in perception and direction! I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well-what has helped you shift gears?