Finding Yourself….such an American concept. Buddhists would ask who is the self that is seeking the self? Who is doing the seeking? Ultimately through practice the seeker dissolves as does the person being sought into nothingness. The concept of self is one that is debated by some and defined as the pinnacle of existence by others. This winter I have been dealing very much with the depths of this question. More of the aspects of it that appeared to be the self that I once was. I have been blocked creatively, as can happen for me around the holidays, but I have missed you so I will share. This winter has seen a lot of people plummeting into the depths of their dark sides. Going into the dark realm to release into the light. This past week my dreams have been incredibly vivid having me deal with old issues that need clearing. This combining with the fact that I recently saw the movie Wild and am reading the book has got me all tied up in wanderlust. The deep frigid weather we are experiencing in Boston does not help either. Above is a picture of me in Strandhill which is just outside of Sligo town on the West Coast of Ireland. May of 2013 was my last big wandering tour and since then it has been working constantly even when I am not actually doing work in the traditional sense. Building your own business and being self employed (or part time self employed as it would be at the moment) means that you are always working. All that work and not much play has made this wandering soul want to be set free at times. Wandering is my form of escapism although for those that like to wander know, it is also where I most find what appears to be my soul that is hiding underneath a clock of labels, identities related to who I appear to be on the surface. While my chosen work appears to be connected to this soul, it is not all of who I am, despite it seeming as though of late.
Wandering to me is freedom. It is being connected to a sense of a larger whole in a way that nothing else is able to do for me. The search for this self that appears to be the crux of the whole field of psychology on some level as often felt misguided. One can’t analyze their way into experiencing their soul; one has to actually FEEL their way. It seems to me that this is one of the reasons that we are often so lost as a species. We navigating our way through our mind rather than through experience. We make rational decisions, often out of fear, and then live our lives according to these decisions; rarely veering off until life happens. The life that happens often has to do with what appears to be crisis but is often the Universe trying to shake you up and make you feel. As I move through this cold weather and find myself going deeper and deeper inward, I find lots of feelings and thoughts coming up to the surface. Are the choices we make actually what we want or are we making them because they seem logical or rationally in line with the last decision that was made? Do our aspirations need to make sense in order for them to materialize or is it the aspirations that make the least amount of sense the ones that come together? In my experience, the latter is generally the one that is the truth. Any time that I have decided to follow my heart and wander through the world, it has made the least amount of sense possible. It is not an idea that comes from planning and plotting. Most of the times I have traveled have been when I least felt I could afford it or when I wondered whether or not it would be in my logical best interest. It has always come from a feeling that I actually didn’t have a choice in the matter. Something was driving me towards it like a train running through the countryside of Europe. Anytime I followed this intuitive feeling, I have come away with amazing experiences. This has not been just through travel but through other things as well.
Is there a self to be found and how does one find it if there is? Much like Cheryl Strayed wrote in Wild, she decided she would walk herself back to the woman whom her mother loved. She had found herself astray and the only way she knew how to return was through wandering. I wouldn’t say that I am astray these days. In fact, part of my need to wander is probably from fear ironically. My recent isolation has been a bit of a slow down/stop gap. There seems to be much to do but it has been hard to get myself to do it. I believe that we all need a step back in order to take the next step forward. The Universe has me working through some deep seeded issues in order to clear space for the next step. It is quite possible that a little wandering could also clear space and so when it is possible that will occur as well. How I believe I found my soul was by allowing for the process to be more organic than rational. Traditional therapy helped at one point but the self it was trying to help me seek was attached to the wounds of the past. Over time intuitively something arose inside of me to let me know that this path was not the one I wanted to walk down for very long. It was supportive and cathartic for a handful of years but there came a time when I needed to step away. It was almost like something came up in my soul that said I was beginning to go off track; my inner compass was getting a bit screwed up. I find myself, my soul that is, when I allow the process that is often very uncomfortable unfold. I find my soul in the comforts and discomforts within. I find my soul in every other soul’s eyes and heart. I find my soul in the wind, in the earth and as has occurred many times, in the castles of Ireland. We are but just another part of a large vast Universe. How we find ourselves is less about the analytical mind and more about opening up the heart.
I wish you all a fruitful and loving winter’s day. Cheers to finding yourself in everyone and everything around you and within you. Let the soul speak and listen.