Have you ever been to a masquerade ball?
I haven’t but when I think of them, images that I have seen in movies come to mind.
A beautiful big room with a parquetry dance floor.
A spiral staircase leading down from the mezzanine level above where the host can look down upon their guests.
Huge, sparkling multi-tiered chandeliers.
The women dressed in stunning swishy ball gowns that glide across the floor as they dance and twirl and the men dressed handsomely in their tuxedos and polished shiny shoes.
And the part that lets you know it’s a masquerade ball? The masks of course!
Everyone is wearing a mask.
The masquerade ball is a metaphor for life.
Most of us live life wearing a mask, presenting ourselves to the world as someone we are not.
We are not born with masks. No we are born pure, mask-less, innocent and total love.
Then as grow and learn we start to add layers to ourselves.
As a child we accept what our parents teach us as the truth. We take on the layers of who we are, who we could be, what we should be doing, how we should be behaving and what we think is possible for us.
I know a lady who told her kids that olives were chocolates and until they were about 6, they believed her!
As we continue to grow we subconsciously look for evidence to support our beliefs.
So events happen and we give them a meaning based on the beliefs we have taken on which in turn strengthens those beliefs.
When we get a little bit older, start to take on the beliefs of our friends and other people around us. The layers of masks are added on as events occur in our life.
This is a cycle that repeats itself. Your parents were taught by their parents, your grandparents were taught by their parents and so on.
Much of what we believe to be true isn’t even actually ours or even our parents.
They are beliefs that go back for generations!
Have you heard the story of the lady who used to cut of then end of the leg of lamb before she put it on the tray to go into the oven?
It was something she had always done. Her son asked her why she did that.
“I’m not sure it’s just what my mum taught me to do. Let’s go ask her”. So they asked the boys grandmother.
“Grandma, why did you teach mum to cut off the end of the lamb before putting it in the oven?”
And grandma replied, “Well honey, that’s what my mum taught me to do. Let’s go and ask great grandma.” (Luckily she was still alive!)
“Great-grandma. Why did you teach grandma to cut off the end of the lamb before you put it into the oven?” the little boy asked.
“Well, we only had a small oven and the lamb wouldn’t fit into the tray! So I had to cut it to get it into the oven!”
We accept what we are taught as the truth without ever stopping to ask “does this fit for me?”
So we put on multiple masks, thinking that these things represent who we really are.
We take on the conditioning of our parents and society as the truth.
We conform to fit in. Of course, it’s how we can be accepted and loved right?
We end up losing ourselves along the way. Not really knowing who we are.
Thinking we do, yet there is a niggly part of us wondering if we are capable of more?
What would happen if you took of your mask and danced around the ballroom with out it?
It seems impossible at first, but when you stop to ask yourself questions such as “who am I really?” “What is life all about” and “why am I here?” some pretty deep questions by all accounts, the layers start to fall away, the masks (yes there are multiple masks we wear) start to come off and more and more you feel a sense of peace and true belonging.
It may seem scary at first because you are bucking the trend. Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something different to everyone else. You may even think you are alone. Wonder if you will be rejected.
But as you swirl and twirl across the dancefloor of life you will begin to notice other people who are just like you. They have chosen to take off their masks too! You also notice other people wanting to take off their masks yet are not sure how and you show them the way.
Take it slowly at first. All you need to do is start to look at the beliefs you hold and ask yourself why you have them?
Ask yourself if something else could be possible for you?
Play with it and have fun. Especially when you find yourself staunchly defending something, stop yourself in the moment and ask why?
That is how you will get awareness of yourself. Awareness creates possibilities and allows you to start taking off your masks.
Living without your mask on means living a liberated life. One that is much lighter than a life lived being weighed down by the masks of who think think we should be. Not who we really are!
Who are we really? LOVE!