“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
~ Howard Thurman
I’m turning 37 tomorrow, just three days after the New Year. Like every year, it comes around sooner than I feel prepared.
I spent the previous week contemplating the last year: all the lessons, the ups and downs, the heartbreak, the challenges, the victories, the joy. The year goes on turning for me: new possibilities, new awareness, new hope & new changes.
I look back at where I have been, amazed at what I have survived, humbled by what has transformed me.
I sit remembering the 37 years comprising my life line and the memories strike me as foreign. I am not the same person I once was. This momentary realization brings about a deep and potent sadness in me—a bittersweet grief for losing the loved one I have always been. It is the stark recognition that for the most part I have spent my 36.98 years wishing that I were someone different.
How much energy do we spend giving our attention to what we think we ‘should’ be doing, or believing that by changing ourselves in one way or another, we will somehow find ourselves happier, or more of ourselves?
At different points in my life I believed (and achieved) the following: If I lost 100 pounds I would be happy. If I had a family I would be worthy. If I were ‘spiritual’ I would have purpose. If I fell in love I would be loveable. If I shared my toys I would have friends. If I traveled I would be amazed. If I transformed myself I would be capable. If I inspired other people I would be special.
It struck me the other day during a particularly challenging yoga class: I am already and always my full self.
You cannot help but be yourself—it is inherent, it is automatic.
If what we want is to be an expanded version of ourselves, or ‘more’ ourselves—what that is going to take is simply the choice to come completely out of hiding. It requires letting the light of awareness in where all of our shadows are. It is the courageous act of stepping into the light—complete with who we are in all stages, situations, circumstances and relationships.
It is the simple and sacred unveiling of who and what we are—our purest nature, the passion that drives us, the love that saturates us, the being human honestly, the way we were designed.
What this means to you will be different, but for me it is this—being completely honest with myself, embracing who and what I am, and giving myself the gift of coming to my senses.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives