Who are you? What role are you playing? How many roles do you have?
What is a role? I find this question provocative. If I am playing a role, then where am I in that? If I am playing a role, then with whom am I role playing? If we are all playing roles, then where is the authenticity of interacting with the person behind that role?
I find these series of questions fascinating. If I create a role for either myself or another, then I have already set the stage for what I think the interaction is about. I am addressing that person based on the parameters I’ve given for both their role and my own. I am using the past to create the future and bypassing the present…the NOW. Even during the NOW my mind is focused on how my role is interacting with their role, so I’m not fully present. I am not truly focused on the entirety of who that person is and what they have to share.
This level of communication is solely based in the ego. The use of a role creates a “me” and a “them.” The ego defines the limits of the communication and doesn’t allow for a deeper dive into the connectedness between the people engaging in the communication. Assumptions are made about each other based on the role, and those assumptions may not even be correct.
If I am playing a role, then I am outside of my true self. I’ve just created a box that I’m playing in, and it separates me from the “all that is” and limits an open connection with anyone else.
This weekend, my son and I were downhilling on our mountain bikes. Although I’ve been mountain biking since 1989, the downhill scene is relatively new to me. I got into it only because my son loves it. While we were on the lift to get back to the top of the mountain, my son asked if he could give me a tip. At that moment, I was in my role of mother with lots of biking experience. I put my son in his role of child with less experience. I responded with “no.” During the next ride up the lift, my son just offered up his suggestion to me. He told me that if I just dropped my seat a bit more and really pushed my knees out on the berms or turns, it would really help. Well, it more than helped. It was a total game changer! He then pulled up pictures of mountain bikers from the 90s and from today, and you can totally see the different styles of riding. I was still riding with my technique from the 90s. Had I dropped my role and was totally present with my son as another soul-being having an interaction, I would have gained his insight even sooner and rolled down the mountain with much more ease, grace and fun! I was blessed that he knew me well enough to give me his insights anyway.
So, now I’ve decided it’s much better to roll with what’s right in front of me and be in present time, than to assume a role that separates me from that true, authentic connection.