I’ve posted a blog called ‘Teaching by the Numbers’. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how my life has been ruled by numbers.
I was taught that there were four seasons, twelve months in a year, seven days in a week. I was expected to eat three meals a day. If I had been religious, I would have learned about the Trinity. And it’s all numbers.
Each day is divided into 24 hours and, if you’re a math nut you can figure out what that is as minutes or seconds. Beyond the needs of my body and its internal ‘clock’, I learned that I was expected to get up at a specific hour [depending upon the time of year and what my age was]. And I was expected to go to bed at a specific time [even if I wasn’t sleepy]. Numbers. As a student, I had to be at school by a specific time, was expected to move from class to class on a set timetable and my school day ended at a specific time. As a teacher, I had to pay attention to the same sort of schedule. Numbers. Time is really nothing more than numbers.
I was able to start working officially when I was 16. I was able to retire from working at the appropriate time based upon my age and a formula for calculating my pension without monetary penalty. Again, numbers.
I have a social insurance number and a health card number and a driver’s license number. When I was a university student, I was given a student number – one for each institution which I attended. I have a telephone number. I have an address. I have a birth date. It has struck me how these numbers are used to identify me to the world.
I’ve accepted the numbers that have been given to me by various branches of government for their own record keeping. I’ve accepted the numbers used by our world to measure time. I’m okay with that knowing that it’s a structure to help the world work.
On a personal level, I have a measured I.Q. [I’m glad they don’t do those tests on kids in school anymore!] I have a measured height and a measured weight and an ‘ideal weight’. Often people look at me and decide on the number they think I weigh and base their opinion of me as a person on that alone. I had an aunt who, although she knew that I was so much more than my physiology, was so put off by anyone who was physically large [she was very tiny] that she would attempt to dismiss me as not worthy of celebration. This especially since, I was not only physically imposing; I do have an immense presence.
I know that I’m intelligent and musical and creative and caring and curious and full of wonder about the world. Yet, I know that I have bought into measuring my own worth by my size. I know that I have believed that the numbers which have been applied to my physiology are the measure of who I AM.
Yes, I’m physically imposing and it has been a way to establish a presence in the world. I’m very hard to ignore or marginalize. Yet, I look at my body – warts and scars and lumps and bumps and all – and I know that my body is still something I’m ashamed of. I look at my body and I see someone who is fat which I have extended to also mean slovenly and lazy and physically unattractive. I know that I have reduced [now there is an interesting word to use] myself to the number that is my weight.
I’m not small in any sense of the word but how small that is – to reduce my sense of who I am to pounds and ounces! I have never believed that anyone in my life [family member, friend, student, colleague] is only the number on an I.Q. test or the number on the scale. I have always recognized the godforce in each of them – their unique individuality. I have always responded to that. Yet I have not accorded myself the same recognition.
I truly believe that the measure of my immensity is not in the number on a scale but in the size of the journey of exploration I am willing to have. I know that the fullness of living is in each moment as I embrace the immensity of my true self – as I know myself to be more than the device in which my spirit is housed.
I’ve been wondering how many of us have done that to ourselves – reduced ourselves to personal numbers and denied the fullness and immensity and capacity that we truly are and that we were born owning. In the end, it doesn’t matter how many others have lived their lives constrained by that belief. If even one person believes this about themselves, the world is exponentially diminished.
I have a sense that I am standing on the mountaintop and know the greatness that is the potential for each of us and for the world which we want to create – separately and together. And so I offer the following:
Share your joy and your passion!
Live large and abundantly!
Be fully present and fully alive!
Be open and clear and direct!
Relish your uniqueness!
Fly! Let your spirit soar!
Let go of believing that, “When I become a being of light, I will do things differently.” Know that you are a being of light. The world will be more and different not because of something we have done BUT because of what we become as we step into who we truly are.