“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”
― Lao Tzu
My question when I read this quote was, “Do I? Do I really know who I am?” Then I realised that it is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question ‘who am I’ except the voice inside herself.
This journey of self discovery is one of the most interesting and profound journey one can ever take. I took my first step…and I continue on that journey every day of my life.
Suzy, my “Wise Woman” told me, “Prepare yourself to take a journey. One that will help you remember who you are beneath all the clutter of everyday life.””The clutter of every day life?” though I had heard the term before, it somehow made sense to me , once I took a moment and thought about how my life had being going recently. Then the gloom set in! The gloom because as I examined my life, it seemed more like a merry go round without any stops, where I could get off and just catch my breath. There were so many things I had filled into my life…and that day I was forced to think of the purpose of doing so many things at one time. Was I happy?”That is what you get when you think gloomy thoughts,” Suzy’s voice penetrated the gloom like the flare of a torch gleaming through a fog.
“When you think gloomy thoughts, you are calling for gloomy weather that will further dampen your thoughts and change the environment around you. Make it a habit, and it will eventually change who you are.”
“How can my thoughts change who I am?” I asked. That sounded impossible.
“It is simple really. Your thoughts determine what you believe is possible for you and train your expectations so that you see what you are trained or expecting to see. Think about red cars and that is all you notice on the drive to work. Focus on how much you hate your job, or how boring school is … and that is what your brain will present to you .. the evidence to back up your beliefs. And if you do that long enough, you change your world view and limit what is possible for you to achieve.”
“Okay,” I said, not quite sure that I could argue with that, but not sure I totally believed it either.
“The point is not to swallow what I say. Question it, test it out in your own life, bounce it off of your life experience and see if what I say rings true for your life.” That did surprise me as I realised that while we grow up, we are conditioned to accepting & absorbing a lot of ideas and superficial reasoning mixed in. When we are young, we are taught to listen and not talk back. And so we develop the habit of thinking that everyone knows more than we do — which is true when we are very young and lack life experience.
Ideally, after this, I was to have progressed from child to adult, from caterpillar to butterfly…go through my own chrysalis. Did that happen? I thought I did…:). Here are some of the things that I should have done while my metamorphosis was taking place:
1. Instead of just listening & following, I should have led and questioned.
2. I had to think for myself and make my own decisions.
3. I had to break my shell and the limitations set by others on my life.
Often this is a vision quest — and what you discover about who you are resets the expectations of those around you regarding what life tasks and life path you are meant to follow. Clearly, not all of the above happened effectively in my life. Yes, I could make decisions, which allowed me to break my shell every once in a while. However, I could not battle the collective limitations that were set on me by others around me. It was frustrating to say, the least.
Did I really want to discover who I was?
Was it too late for me?
Did I want that change?
Was I willing to risk what I had for something better?
Would these answers leave me worse off?
Would I be able to live the life of my dreams?
My vision quest led me to ten basic building blocks that support my life today. I am happy to share that with everyone around me. These I have shown as pictographic representations across my writing.
Finally, the bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are. The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.
As for me…life begins anew everyday !!!