Is, “Who are you? What’s your purpose? Your passion?” the new emotional criteria for acceptance in order to fit in? Is this also not a form of conforming to what the “age of enlightenment” demands of us?
These questions are as confusing to me as asking, ” How does the letter 9 smell?”
Questions of that magnitude leave me feeling left out. Have I missed the opportunity to find peace and Zen?
I feel like a failure for not getting to that state of complete serenity. Every article I read, and many television shows, are focusing on becoming the best you can be.
I am everything under the sun and I—for the life of me—can make no sense of me at times.
This enlightenment wave makes me feel inadequate. Not to say they are better or less than me, but they are different. They were able to find the yellow brick road, while I am lost in the forest, encountering wolves and eating the rooftops of candy houses. My emotions run high at the unpredictability of life in the forest.
So I find myself deemed as a lost soul and forced to question my own existence?
We all are searching for the Wizard of Oz, trying to find answers to our deepest questions. We hang by a thread on any resemblance of an answer.
We immerse ourselves in work, in love, in our children, husbands and friends trying to find what we are looking for.
Are we really searching for the Wizard of Oz just for him to tell us what we already know?
So let’s examine this for a moment…
To know who I am does not come solely from finding my passion or purpose. They are not the means; they are the goal.
Those are the wrong questions to ask.
The right questions stem from the right approach. First we must believe that the answers reside in us and us alone.
We must own our day. No one has the power to ruin our day unless we give him or her that power.
Our day is our responsibility, the thoughts that go into making our day beautiful is in our grasp—that’s powerful to know. No more blaming others—that’s refreshing.
Have I eaten healthy today? This could be the only question I need answered to feel good about myself. I will not entertain tomorrow and the, “What if’s”? I am only responsible for today.
“Am I happy?”
“What kind of baggage am I carrying that I need to get rid of?”
These questions are asked fleetingly sometimes because we are afraid of the answers. Maybe we know we are not happy, but pretend that we are; this revelation in itself will knock the wind out of us, so we avoid it. We are so good at burying our heads in the sand when it comes to facing reality.
If we face the truth of our state, we are called to action, and many of us would rather live in what we know, then venture out and take the risk of calling it quits.
The road leading to who we are, goes through the dark, scary forest, meets wolves, and then comes out with an answer. Exactly like Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars,” when he entered the cave and faced his worst nightmare. There are no shortcuts.
Asking the negative questions.
Even the negative questions that reveal motive have their place on my ladder to enlightenment and present themselves when needed: Why did I feel the need to do/say that?
All these are important questions to center my moral compass. I make mistakes, I learn, therefore, I grow. If I know my motives, I am getting to know me better. Let me treat myself as a friend, and ask myself the questions I would ask my best friend, when she does something I don’t understand. Let me give honor, honesty and care to this new friendship.
Forgiving is the most selfless act one can give. The word itself has “give” in it. We are trained from a young age to protect ourselves. So giving altruistically is not readily available for the taking. Turn the other cheek is said but never done.
It is a hard lesson to learn.
Can I forgive myself/ them? Can they forgive me? These are amongst the hardest questions I find to truly embody.
This does not mean that the road to discovering myself has ended, it is only scratching the surface of how far I can push myself, and still be okay when facing those agonizing moments of not knowing the answers.
My purpose is to keep asking myself the right questions, ones that resonate what I truly believe is important to me.
My passion is to keep trying no matter how many times I fail.
My happiness is: knowing that I am work in progress, having courage to believe the road to achieving my Zen is different and that’s alright too, and accepting my shortcomings in the process.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: provided by author