What tools do you use to communicate with the world? Do you have a commanding voice or an engaging personality? Maybe you’re a bit more behind the scenes–like a writer or photographer, using your pen or camera to portray an image of yourself or of others.

What if you stripped away those tools–took away the pen, camera, voice even, and were left standing there with all eyes on you? There’s no buffer now–it’s just you in all of your uniqueness. What would you say or do in that moment? How might you portray yourself?

Throughout life, we learn to rely on crutches such as these tools to better relate to others and to express who we are to the world.But do you know who are you without them?

Imagine a person–such as a photographer–who always carries a camera. He photographs everything from natural landscapes to busy diner scenes. He engages with others through the camera. The camera becomes his lens to see and experience the world around him. Over time, it also becomes his safety net.Without his camera, does the photographer still see through the same lens? And if the camera is not there, does the photographer learn to use his other talents in more profound ways?

Sometimes, tools further our understanding of ourselves. They help us delve deeper into our inner beings to understand who we are and they give us a unique avenue to express our emotions. But be careful not to let the tool become your identity. Don’t lose yourself to this image you’ve created. Instead, ask yourself: How can I find the freedom within to express who I truly am?

Mind, Body, Spirit, TCM

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