July 15, 2017: Claiming Identity, Exploring Expressions of Life

Being at the Portland Highland Games this Saturday, I had yet another opportunity to observe myself and others in attending festivities and events such as this. On the one hand, various cultural experiences were present to observe, enjoy, and participate. On the other hand, however, was also the proliferation of representative items available for purchase, which was where my attention was drawn in wonder.


Although I am part Scottish, I wouldn’t say that I grew up within much of that tradition. Therefore this aspect of myself exists as more of a curiosity for me that I seem to want to claim. But, I wonder what this claiming is about. Does it mean I want to be associated with particular stories? Does it mean I want to see myself with a powerful heritage? Does it mean I want to inhabit being a Scottish person? What does this exactly mean to want to identify in this way?

Then I also wonder about those in attendance. Why have they come? What stories do they want to claim or incorporate within their lives? How do they want to identify themselves? How do they want to be seen within the world?

Reflecting a bit further on the products available for sale, I see both the value in working with symbols for purposes of exploration and the desire to claim or be associated with particular stories. This can be empowering to explore in greater depth. But it can also have a rather detached meaning that creates an appearance without any substantive framework.

So, in exploring your own identities and expressions of life, I invite you to reflect on the symbols and stories that you choose to claim for yourself. For what purpose do you choose to work with specific aspects, symbols, stories, and flavors of life? How do they serve you? What do they bring to you? How might your choices of particular symbols and stories empower the evolution of our collective dream together?

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