Identity

What does it mean to be Fijian? Identity according to google means “the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is”. The synonyms for identity are individuality, self, selfhood, ego, personality and character.

I have always felt disconnected growing up in Fiji. Being a Suva city slicker, I was fortunate to attend a reputable Chinese school Yat-Sen Primary and Secondary, which allowed me to integrate with a mix of different cultural groups. My friends, included a mix of Asian, Fijian and European backgrounds. Growing up in Fiji during the first probably 20 years of my life, involved identifying with “race” having to tick the box of what “race” I identified with. Having a Scottish grand-father born in the Ra Province and an English/Fijian grand-mother from dad’s side and a part American grand-father and part-Tokelauan grand-mother from my mum’s side, I identified as “Part-European” on the various forms I filled out at school, etc.. Now approaching my 40th birthday, as I reflect on the meaning of identity, I feel more connected to what it means to be Fijian. My yoga practice and identifying more with my soul and spirit really defines my identity now versus what ethnic group I belong to. Having let go of the attachment, I once had to race and ethnicity via yoga has allowed me to release the chains that kept me locked into identity. For me, identity now goes beyond race, class, creed, gender, name, job, relationship status. Identity is purely connecting to my soul, self and heart.
When I connect to myself and learn about my self more and more, I am able to connect to others and my environment around me. As well, I am able to flow into life with much more ease and grace. It’s not easy to go beyond the identity that we’ve been accustomed to, with social conditioning, but through yoga (for me), it’s a possibility. What does identity mean for you? Are you able to let go of the labels placed upon you by society?