I was watching this video of Thandie Newton from TED the other day and I just had to share:
Embracing the Otherness, Embracing Myself
'My skin colour wasn't right. My hair wasn't right, my history wasn't right. My self became defined by otherness, which meant that in that social world, I didn't really exist. I was other before being anything else. Even before being a girl. I was noticeable nobody....
The self's struggle for authenticity and definition will never end unless it's connected to its creator - to you and to me. And that can happen with awareness. Awareness of the reality of oneness and the projection of self-hood.
For a start we can think about all the times when do we lose ourselves. It happens when I dance, when I'm acting. I'm earthed in my essence, and my self is suspended. In those moments, I'm connected to everything.
The ground, the air, the sounds, the energy from the audience, all my senses are alert and alive. in much the same way as an infant might feel, that feeling of oneness....
I honestly believe the key to my success as an actor, and my progress as a person has been the very lack of self that used to make me feel so anxious and so insecure. I always wondered why I could feel others' pain so deeply, why I could recognize the somebody in the nobody. It's because I didn't have a self to get in the way. I thought I lacked substance and the fact that I could feel others meant that I had nothing of myself to feel.
The thing that was a source of shame, was actually a source of enlightenment. And when I realized and really understood that my self is a projection and that it has a function, a funny thing happened. I stopped giving it so much authority. I give it its due, I take it to therapy. I've become very familiar of its dysfunctional behaviour but I'm not ashamed of my self. In fact, I respect my self and its function. And over time and with practice, I try to live more and more for my essence. And if you can do that, incredible things can happen.
I was in Congo in February, dancing and celebrating with women who survived the destruction of their selves in literally unthinkable ways, destroyed because other brutalized, psychopathic selves all over that beautiful land are fueling our selves addiction to iPods, pads, and bling, which further disconnect ourselves from ever feeling their pain, their suffering, their death. Because hey, if we are all living in ourselves and mistaking it for life, then we are devaluing and desensitizing life. And in that disconnected states, yeah, we can build factory farms with no windows, destroy marine life, and use rape as a weapon of war.
So here's a note to self, the cracks have started to show in our constructed world. And oceans will continue to surge through the cracks. And oil and blood. Rivers of it. Crucially we haven't been figuring out how to live in oneness. with the earth and every other living thing. We've just been insanely trying to figure out how to live with each other billions of each other. Only we're not living with each other. our crazy selves are living with each other and perpetuating an epidemic of disconnection.
Let's live with each other, and take it a breath at a time. If we can get under that heavy self, like light a torch of awareness, and find our essence, our connection to the infinite and every other living thing. We knew it from the day we were born. Let's not be freaked out by our bountiful nothingness. It's more a reality than the ones our selves have created.
Imagine what kind of existence we can have if we honour inevitable death of self, appreciate the privilege of life and marvel at what comes next. Simple awareness is where it begins.'