[We] are slaves to [our] pronouns

One of the exercises you can experiment with in pursuit of The Headless Way is pointing to the space where your head is not.

I’ve made my living by words for many years. The older I get, the more inadequate language seems as a method of expression and connection. All language comes burdened with culture, history, and the collective human experience that led to its development. Language can feel limiting, although it is one of the few tools we have for making our interior selves visible to the external world.

One recent morning, it came to me that pronouns are getting in my way. I don’t mean in a gender sense, although I think I can imagine the discomfort a gender-nonconforming person must feel when forced to choose between “he” and “she.” The pronouns I am referring to are “I,” “me,” and “my.”

I tried an experiment. What if, instead of saying “my mind wandered,” I said “the mind wandered”?

The result was a subtle but instantaneous loosening of the mostly unconscious hold I maintain on the identity of “Audrey.” It created a space for an observing consciousness that’s less connected to my mind. I mean, to the mind.

Seemingly serendipitously, I recently learned about The Headless Way. I immediately found myself drawn to it, as another way to explore breaking down the bounds of identity. This perspective shift is something I seek in my fiction writing.

For the last month or so, I’ve been trying to integrate awareness of my own “headlessness” into my life each day. It seems a perfect complement to my desire to let go of the tyrannical “I” that rules over everything and so often gets in the way of seeing clearly, experiencing fully, and connecting with other beings.

Words for the ear

My goal of finishing the audio book version of Tiny Shoes Dancing has slipped slightly, but it will be done in 2020! In the meantime, one of the stories is available as a sample through the end of February as part of the Short Month – Short Audiobooks promotion through BookFunnel. Grab the sample story (“Put the Sweater on the Dog”) and check out some of the shorts other authors are giving away.

5 thoughts on “[We] are slaves to [our] pronouns

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  1. Truly fascinating take on the pronoun ‘I’ which to me sometimes tends to feel like virtual signaling more than a way to say something. Any activity that allows someone to gain perspective seems of value. Will be musing on this idea and how it pertains to my writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Intriguing post.
    We were always slammed by teachers if we used “I” in writing compositions..first because everyone knows what you think since you are the author so the “I think” is not necessary – and without “I” other things gain identity – like your “mind” …Personification or simple allowing other words to have identity – great exercise offering new perspective

    Liked by 2 people

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