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Avra’s Identity Express

Avra stood on a platform. She put down her suitcase and looked at the timetable: “DEPARTURES - Identity 8:00.” The train was to arrive in a minute. Just a few people were waiting on the platform. “At least no crowding while taking on. — She thought with relief. — Apparently not many are persuing life change.”

Identity was a pecular direction. Everyone had gone on that ride a few times during their lifetime. There were only one-way tickets. They travelled for a new, updated, “I”, and the old one was smetled into a memento fridge magnet. It stayed on the fridge as long as the past journey still triggered some sentimental memories.

It was the seventh time Avra has travelled. This time she has bought a ticket with no specified destination. She just wanted to take a closer look. She opted for a guided tour. The chief conductor himself was to meet her, show her round the cars and present all the options. In the past she would be sure which compartment to choose. It was different this time, she wanted a change from the old routine, but she had no clear vision about that. Sometimes she just wanted to leave any identity behind: “Is the lack of identity a new identity?” - she kept wondering.

The train arrived at 8:00 sharp. The doors open and let out a crowd of impatient novices. They have just arrived bringing along a new “I” and were hurrying to brandish it to the world.

Avra grabbed her suitcase and headed for the first car. At the door she was greeted by a broad-shouldered chap in blue uniform.

— Good morning, Madame. I’m Chris. And you must be Avra, a guided tour, right?

— Yes, that’s right. I see you are very well-informed.

— That is my job, Madame. Let me ask you before you get on — who have you been so far?

— My recent, major ones included … — Avra was trying to focus, a little surprised by that straightforward question of the conductor - the daughter, the mistress, the wife, the mother, the manager and enterpreneur.

— And what identity would you care for this time?

— I was thinking of an author, you know, a pro writer. Though, that spirituality also looks attractive, something like a spiritual being… You know, still a human being, but an awaken one…

— Oh, really? You would be in a large company. There are more and more people like that. They are close with artists. “Your soul wants to express itself” - they keep saying. Also we have a decent number of healers, too.

— And what do they heal?

— It depends, whatever they come across. Their charismatic powers wake up. It is a calling of theirs. - Chris explained joyfully. Anyway, it is no use telling you this. Check it for yourself. Let me show your round the train. I hope your shoes are rather comfortable. It’s gonna take us a while. Right so, are you ready?

—Yes, I am. — replied Avra gladly at the course of things. She was curious what she was going to see on that train. “Why have I not done it before?” — she wondered reproachfully — “I used to accept ready made options in advance and never thought of alternatives.”

— Inablity to perceive other options is a choice too, Madame. — Chris seemed to be reading Avra’s mind.

— Excuse me. How do you…. ? — she paused, surprised by the conductor’s insight.

— It is a classic case of the victim. They swallow everything. — continued Chris heedless of her reaction. — The victim caves in under the external pressure and forgets about their own desires. You must have been a dedicated mother, a hard-working manger,  or self-denying lover… Sacrificing is still trendy. What I would suggest, honestly speaking, - Chris beat his chest and grinned flashing his snow-white set of teeth - is to uncouple the victim’s car. It will be much easier.

— And you? — asked Avra. — Who are you?

— I am everybody and nobody at the same time, Madame. - Although he was uttering words of a great importance Chris was doing it in a light manner. — Right so, time for the first compartment! Let us start!

Avra feeling a little confused by the conversation gazed deeply inside the train and sensed a growing excitement.

— Here’s the parental car! — exclaimed Chris sliding open the first door. — Let us pass quickly, shall we? You are very familiar with that car, aren’t you? A very special identity! This is where your sense of duty overlaps with the sense of power, and the original unconditional love may turn into a harmful codependence. An absolutely wonderful causality of the act of giving birth tends to drift away from embracing love and transforms itself into obsessive power. There is a whole range of different mothers and fathers: self-denying, bold, perfectionists, know-alls, mentoring, lifeguards, phantom parents, full-time employees, grey area, and many others. It is an identity in which you can lose control and get attached to it for good. Some get stuck for a few decades.

— I know something about it! — admitted Avra. — I am just disattaching from it and, I must confess, still keep finding the leftoovers of the sticky substance…

Avra gave birth to two sons and has just entered the second decade of motherhood. However, she startled at the very thought of leaving the role behind. That was a major component of her present identity. It triggered within her the biggest so far sense of of responsibilty and ran a course of new sensations. A whole range of experiences went across her mind …

— Mothers tend to swap their identity magnets with badges which they pin to their chest. Would you like one? — with his question Christ interrupted her course of memories.

— No, not yet, thank you. — she replied quickly. I am going to stick to motherhood yet for a while. Anyway I dislike badges. Let us move on!

— In that case welcome to the artists’ car. — and another door slid open in front of Avra. — Welcome to the multicoloured wagon of pecularities! This is where one creates and expresses things, Madame. “I am being in a creative process”, or “I have no space for that” – they used to say. It is the time which is the artists’ greatest foe. There is usually too little time or it makes a terrible pressure upon artists. Their typical condition is being emotionally bipolar – they either are jumping through the roof or feeling down during their creative process. The medium state is just the average they do not wish to identify with. They are either full of creative powers or are suffering from the lack of them facing some doubts if they are doing it right or not.

She looked at the seat in which a female writer was typing away on a laptop keyboard so vigoroursly as if she was afraid of losing a thought that had just crystalized in her mind and not letting it evaporate before being transferred onto the screen. There was a lot of effort and tension in that process… Avra could not help but notice that there were two opposing poles in that compartment: free creative power on one side along with the desire to surpass the existing frames, but, on the other hand, overwhelming perfectionism which tended to inflate even a tiny stone making it into a huge boulder hard to cross.

— Chris, can we go on? I began to doubt if I really wanted to be involed in all that creative dilemmas and things like that…

— In that case let us move on to the body-holics’ area. It is a very inclusive identity and occupies several compartments. You can meet here all those who worship their bodies. They keep checking their workout schedule, weight, sizes, shapes, diet plan, appearance, proportions, and calories. They bring themselves to the extreme renunciations pouring out gallons of salty frustration. “It is the technics and consistency that really matters” — they keep saying. Sore muscles give them a kind of masochistic pleasure supporting the amount of effort. And burning their fatty tissues is unquestionably the source of satisfaction. They work out their bodies making them into statues. They see it as a way to get healthier and self-loving.

— It makes me tired just to listen to that… — Avra wiped the sweat off her forehead, which appeared there by itself. She felt she was being out of breath. – I had already got familiar with the taste of severe obedience training. Too salty for me. Thank you anyway, but I had better move on.

— Thus,  follow me, please — Chris smiled cordially — to the Big Finance department! In here things are counted, measured and examined. Your total balance is what defines you, as well as your wealth and finacial liquidity. One loves to check the wallet – yours and others’. The more you possess, the more appreciation and recognition you earn along with higher social status. Things are guarded here, secured, insured, valued, and forecast. That is the way in here!

— You mentioned wealth? I am a kind of allergic to the word… — Avra began to scratch her the back of her neck. – Besides, more than the property I appreciate the condition of my soul.

— How about the corporation section then? — offered Chris sliding open another door. – They love to stay in their cubicles for some time. They also follow procedures, engage in office politics, and hierarchical gambling. They are busy climbing their career ladders, struggle to meet deadlines and try to get things done “asap”. And then due to some chemical precess their creativity and enterpreneurship converts into a dry routine and submission.

— Oh gosh! I’ll fold. Those corporate animals make me a little sick. Let’s move on!

— Behing the next door there is something you’re going to love. — said Chris making his way to another car. — Welcome to the spiritual world! What a lot of awaken people – more or less awaken – Chris laughed at what he just said.  – It is a bit crowded in here as it has been a trendy venue recently. Things get deep here, Madame. And you surpass your “ego”, as well as the system, patterns and templates. They also like to “let things go” and “transcend things”. To acheve this they medidate and breathe. They aften say “I feel that or I don’t feel that!”. Lots of “side effects” occur too – clearvoyants, clearaudients, esoteric mystics, healers, bioenergy therapists, naturopaths…

— Chris! — Avra interrupted — This compartment seems ideal. It feels just magical. What’s more, no traps around to fall! – she clapped her  in excitement.

— You can be very wrong here. As long as you posses your body, you also posses your “ego” which sets various traps… It is a kind of game. The moment those awaken stop to be mindful they may fall into traps like others, however subtle they can be.

— You know what, Chris? I am getting tired of this tour. I just thought we might have a break and I will get seated right here.

— As you wish, Madame. However, before we finish let me show you the last car – open-plan, no compartments. Would you mind having a brief look?

— Who is in there?

— Those cloistered ones. The people who wish to detach from any identity. — Chris opened the door to an empty compartment.

— Where have all they gone?

— The point is, Madame, that they all have become free people. They got off the train just from this spot and have not taken and identity with them. Although, they happen to return, just for a short fun ride.

— Is that possible?

— Anything is possible, Madame. For those travellers it is freedom that really matters. “As long as you reamin loyal to your own identity, you push away your freedom.” – they keep saying. For them tavelling is a carefree joy and thei identity just a sticker in the game, easy to remove.

Avra sat down and looked around. The originally uninviting void filled in with a warm silence. There was no one around, no one to disturb with their identity this fantastic state she was in.

Avra sensed levery cell of her body being filled with a kind of bliss, as if someone applied her a decent shot of a tranquilizer right into her vein. And in that silent void a new space appeared – a space of new feelings, experiences, sometimes hard to put in words… They were just different, they were new… They were there … naked, with no labels, ready to be experienced. There were no procedures to follow, no manuals. A totally new path had spread out in front of her, never touched by any identity. She just felt like making the first step…

— What happens here? – she asked herself in her mind.

— It is life, Madame. Life within you. — whispered Chris at the same moment.

to be continued...

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