So often in my work people come to me feeling a sense of loss. It’s a loss that is not tangible because it doesn’t root in the external world. It’s not like a death of a loved one or a loss of a job; although it could possibly look like that on the outside. It is something much deeper. I know this because I felt it too. Feeling disconnected from your core, from who you are within, is a loss that is deep and vast. It is hard to put into words because one doesn’t yet know what it lost. How can you lose something you feel you never had? The concept of “finding oneself” is such an American concept. It’s kind of like the cartoon “Where’s Waldo?” We look all over the place for this self that we eventually realize is not to be found in the outside world. This is a story not just about my clients but it is deeply connected to me. Let me share with you some background.
Eight years ago I was lost. I was struggling with overwhelming stress from a job doing crisis management. A relationship with a boss and teacher I was in training with felt disempowering and I had a partner relationship that was totally wrong for me. Where was I? I was lost. The me I wanted to find was waiting patiently. It was only when I stopped running circles around myself that I found her. When I came upon her she was smiling and surrounded by bright white light. She said “I was waiting patiently through your impatience. I was breathing when you couldn’t. I was here always especially in the moments when you were most afraid. I was always here waiting.” I hear her say these words and my eyes weep.
The process of finding ourselves is about listening not doing. We often think that the action taken in the outside world will somehow bring us towards that inner knowing. These are socialized beliefs brought forth to us from American culture. There is no job, relationship, product, food, place that could bring forth this sense of inner knowing. It is only by being still that we come to this place of wisdom. I should know….no one moves quite as fast as I have for most of my life. These days I have a lot of stillness that isn’t always comfortable. I find myself racing within the open space as if I am trying to start a marathon with no race around me. Silly silly me. History has told me this brings me nowhere but dizzy. We often need to walk through the dark caves to find the light. When I am spinning life appears dark to me but it is only once I stop that I can see and feel the bright white light all around me.
What is the spinning about? If it is as easy as stopping to find ourselves, why do we abandon ourselves again and again? Maybe because we don’t like what we hear. Maybe because what our self has to say is that it is angry, hurt or feels betrayed. It is suffering of some ill will that has been festering for so very long. It is afraid. Afraid of everything. The YOU inside you stays quiet because it is afraid. Afraid you don’t want to know. But like any secret, it only can stay secret for so long. It stays quiet until it sees a crack in the door where the light comes in. Then the whisper becomes a loud piercing scream. Acknowledging the you within takes courage. It a journey that is not for the faint of heart but is essential if we are to find authentic happiness.
This is the process of finding the self you have been looking for. It is not of searching but instead of listening. You have to be quiet to listen. This has always been my problem. But over time, with lots of practice, I am more able to be the mouse than the bull.
As I sat by the ocean this week I thought….
Where am I?
The I that is Me.
I am right here breathing, sitting, living.
The I that is Me has always been here waiting.
I am here now fully embodied.
Authentically waiting for the next wave to take me out to sea
Where I will chart the waters and discover new lands.
Where is the I that is Me?
Right here, right now.
Cheers to finding yourself. It’s really not that hard. Just be my friends, just be.
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Beautifully put Stephanie! And you are so right that it is cultural conditioning that prevents us hearing the authentic me’s voice. That’s why crisis can provide such valuable breakthroughs. When all we have traditionally relied upon to give us our imprinted identity is ripped away, that small voice can become a roar, and we wonder how on earth we didn’t hear it before. As you say – because there was too much “noise” and we weren’t listening…..
Thank you! I do feel like our culture gives deeply mixed messages. We are supposed to navel gaze to find ourselves yet we are supposed to do this by keeping busy and jsut talking constantly about wanting to “find ourselves” rather than realizing that rather than encouraging us to just be! You are very correct…..crisis can be a good thing, just like anxiety can be a good thing as well. It’s all signs from our body and spirit signaling that we need to get back on track. Thank your for your thoughtful comment:)