This week's inspiration is a video I saw a few months ago about the Kukeri tradition in Bulgaria. This ancestral practice of wearing a costume once a year, dance and ring bells was a way to ward off evil spirits. Beside the aesthetically pleasing entertainment (I really love the effect of the movement of the hairy costumes) it triggered a much deeper reflection about the costume we choose to wear. It echoes the exercise we did during the retreat of unmasking to be more aware of our masks, and then choosing how / when / if we wear them... more consciously.
Masks or costumes are not "bad" in themselves, they are the way we choose (consciously or not) to interact with others, with society, in different situations. And I find with the Kukeri (and other similar traditions) that when a costume is worn with a clear intent, with a pure heart, then our actions become more purposeful. It is a moment of embodying a "higher" version of ourselves.
Looking back, I see myself putting on one specific blue flowery dress to go to deliver a training about emotions. When I do, I have a strong sense of service and the "representation" becomes about delivering an important message to the participants. I tend to forget about myself, I'm usually in a state of flow, and at the end, I feel energized. I can see the difference compared to when I used to be more anxious about results, when I wanted to be liked, when I was not wearing my special "high priestess" dress (that's what I call it 😊).
I have found also, there can be a certain ceremonial feeling about slipping into certain clothes consciously, like empowering yourself with the essence of that piece of cloth or what it represents for you. I can imagine the many instances when we can consciously choose to adorn our selves with a powerful costume: an artist about to go on stage, a warrior preparing for battle, a sportsperson before a competition, a person going on a date, or dressing for an interview.
So my introspection question is for you: