Who is DoYo, you ask? DoYo is the nickname I gave to my ego last year. It was a practice of creating some distance and detachment from the part of myself that comes forth and acts from a place of fear. While doing a workshop, we were asked to name our egos with the first name that came to mind...and Dorothy popped up immediately. A few days later, when fear popped up again, and I acknowledged that Dorothy had stepped up, the part of me that feels the need to always be right, all the time, also came forward. I acknowledged that part of myself too, and named her Yolanda...Dorothy's ego twin. For me, when fear surfaces, so does the need to justify my thoughts, emotions, and actions. For the last year, I've practiced witnessing when DoYo is present...to the best of my ability.
I know when DoYo is showing up when I start to get willful. When my need to be right in any given situation, starts to pull me away from my core values. She shows up with arms crossed, nostrils flaring, and heels dug in. She holds onto the way things "should be" and rejects reality as it is. She's the part of me that "wants what she wants, when she wants it." She can be convincing, conniving, and controlling. Lately, she's been showing up before, during, and after my meditations. A couple weeks ago, when I felt like I wasn't doing the meditation "right," DoYo kept popping into my head saying things like "You have so much more to do than this Kate." and "Is this even working?" It sounded like my ego-mind was trying to convince me that this was a giant waste of time.
This week, almost every time I went into the living room to begin my practice, she'd show up telling me what a long day I had at work, how exhausted I was, and that I could skip out on my commitment. "No one will know you missed one day." I struggled with this inner dialogue silently all week. During my meditation, DoYo would show up again trying to convince me not to chant, to end the practice before it was completely over, and to "get off your ass and do something more productive." She'd show up after I'd pushed myself through my practice and try to combat the part of me that felt fantastic, and centered, and calm. "You're still mad about X,Y and Z." and "Look at all you could have been doing instead of chanting." The one thing I have really learned about DoYo, is that she wants to be heard. If I try to push her away and ignore her, she grows...bigger, and stronger, and more persistent. However, if I witness her presence, and acknowledge her needs, she quiets down and allows me to return to my true, authentic self.
This week, when I was really struggling with her presence, I brought it to my meditation group and asked for feedback. Not only was I met with incredible support and validation, that they too were experiencing a similar struggle, but I was also given feedback that sometimes our ego-minds like to show up when we are on the brink of a breakthrough. Fear likes to shut us down.
So last night, I listened to what DoYo had to say, without judgment, and with complete acceptance. I allowed her to speak about the fears of the unknown, and validated her desire to have everything be "just so." I embraced her as part of me, and I thanked her for trying to protect me from the inevitable pain and discomfort that change brings. And then, I returned to my meditation practice and to the centered, calm, and peaceful place where my Wise Mind lives. And I repeated to myself the mantra that came to me weeks ago...
"You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be present."