« Life will show you masks that are worth all your carnivals »
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My paternal grandfather was a numismatic (collector of coins), my father was a notaphilist (collector of bank coins) and my mother used to collect dolls. After my mother passed the way 30 years ago, I inherit her dolls collection. My mother had more than 75 dolls. When I was a kid it was really a joy to have a mother that collected dolls, but being in my teenage period and having lost her in an abrupt way, I did not want to keep that collection. So I decided to give them to the kids at the orphanage next to my grandparent’s house.
Giving away my mother’s belongings was a big issue because for my father I was denying my mother’s legacy. For me, it was a key decision in my life. The day I took that decision, I stood up for my right to keep only the things that made me happy and keep walking my life with fewer things to carry on. The clarity of my decision was so strong that my father did not have other options that accept it. However, a few weeks later he took me to the psychologist (who actually was a coach) because he was worry about my odd desire of not keeping everything. It was thanks to that coach that I first heard the notion of “masks/identities collections” (I am talking of those masks that we carry but we do not see). My coach was the first person to explain to me that we all wear “masks” all the time and most of the time we wear them as part of our identities or just to hide our fears, weaknesses, to hide who we really are. Those masks are most of the time automatisms that we have in different situations. Some of the masks arrived also in difficult times to help us. So he encourages me at that time to keep wearing the mask of the “brave girl” to overcome the loss of my mother.
Many years later, I came to live in Belgium and one of the first jobs I got here was as a community manager of a Belgium website for collections. I had to translate all the collections categories from French to Spanish. I learned at that time all the amazing collections people use to have: collections of hair, cheese labels, wine bottles, beer cans, …. During a salon I did for that company, I met a lady who had an amazing Venetian mask collection and suddenly the notion of “mask collection” came back to me. I decide at that period to keep track of the mask I was wearing and to understand the reason why I was taking all those identities. The masks that I had to use the most in my life are the “perfect mother”. I start to wear it when I had my first girl, it became necessary for a new mother with no experience. Then, I had the “good worker” mask, to show my professionalism (I used to arrive at the office on time and left later than normal). I was also using the “I am tired” mask, “I cannot make it”, … all the masks that were keeping me on my “security zone”. Keeping track of the mask I was wearing and trying to understand why I was wearing them helped me also to keep walking the path through my purpose in life.
Then, some years later I became a KonMariTR Consultant and a certified coach. I started the path of organizing my home. I started my “tidying up festival” with the categories as the KonMari method suggest (you can read in this blog post about the KonMari Method) and when I arrive at the Komono category I saw all the collections I had: a souvenirs collection, a collection of pens, a business cards collection, some of my father’s banknotes collections. I decide to keep only the ones that made me happy (the souvenirs and the bank notes collections) and all the others I let them go with gratitude because they were no longer adding joy to my life. The business card collection was useful & fun to keep when I was a full-time admin expert, the same as the pens collection, but they were no longer align with the person I was becoming at that moment.
Besides my collections of things, I tidied up the “collections of masks & identities” I use to have and I decide as well to let them all go (the one of the tired one, the stressed one, the “perfect women”, “the perfect mother) I decided to keep only the ones that help me to keep moving and getting to my goals. I use those masks all the time because they help me to see things from another perspective. For instance, I use a lot the mask of the “warrior” to feel the strength to keep going even in difficult moments. I take the mask of the “spark joy” to keep my light shining, I use the mask of the “princess”, the one of the “cool mother”, the “sexy women”, the “super happy”. I choose consciously to amplified the feeling those positive masks give me and by doing so, I manage to be joyful, happy, sexy and strong. That is the magic of the collection of positives mask & identities.
And you, what is the mask that you are wearing the most? If you have to do the status quo of those masks and identities, you are using what will be the ones that will come first? And what about your collections, what kind of collections you have? How they made you feel? Are those collections in line with the person you are today?
Hopping that in this period, you can use the magic of positives mask to change your life in a constant happy carnival.
With all my masks of unconditional love & joy, Eli