Identity Is Not Fixed and Is Not the Self. What Happens When We Refuse to Check the Box?

Dana Leigh Lyons
3 min readOct 20, 2022
Image by Sergey Vinogradov, Unsplash

“People confuse their identity constructs with the Self, and then they misunderstand the construct of the Self as though it is fixed, or constant. As though I declare myself this one thing, and so I am always this one thing, and I will always be this one thing, and that is my identity, and this is who I am; this is my Self. This idea is a distortion. The idea of a static identity goes against the whole of life, which is always moving, and is always in flow.”

— Shamen Durek, Spirit Hacking: Shamanic Keys to Reclaim Your Personal Power, Transform Yourself, and Light Up the World

When we look at ourselves and our Inheritance — when we name ourselves and declare I am this — boxes and bodies loom large.

We spend our lives coming into emergence yet refuse to let emergence alone. We refuse to let ourselves alone and by alone I mean ever and always free to emerge. Rather, we rush to carve and defend a name plate. We clamour for a findable, fixable self.

For most of us, this means choosing. For most of us, our own choosing is inseparable from what others choose for us.

This is true whether we go along with what’s given or rail against it. Either way, we define ourselves in relationship. Either way, we say yes to this and no to that.

The inheritance of addiction is part of this story: The eating disorder identity. The person with a “problem.” The identified patient. The perfectionist. The addict.

Whatever our drug of choice, it becomes wrapped up in us and, at a certain point, becomes us. We take on the drug’s personality. We lose touch with what makes us special and become not just numb and dumb but painfully predictable.

This inheritance — whether or not carried to extreme conclusion — dulls, limits, and denies our fullest expression. This inheritance — whatever the drug — cuts short continuous emergence.

What personality do you wear when you drink? When scrolling your phone? When lost in bread and sugar? Who and where are you then? Where is Source and presence and consciousness?

Dana Leigh Lyons

Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Writer, Medium Top Writer in Poetry, Health, Travel, LGBTQ.