After years of traveling, seeking, apprenticing and deepening various interests, studies and pursuits, there was a moment when I realized what the journey was truly about. I understood that the point was not to be like someone else, no matter how much I loved or admired them, but to be radically and completely myself, and for everybody else to be radically and completely themselves too.
Now… accessing and becoming oneself deeply is no easy undertaking. We self-sabotage, doubt our worthiness, undermine our value, compare ourselves to others, play small, numb out, and believe myriad out-dated stories we have about ourselves.
“Remember that self-doubt is as self-centered as self-inflation. Your obligation is to reach as deeply as you can and offer your unique and authentic gifts as bravely and beautifully as you’re able.” ~ Bill Plotkin.
But it is also the worthiest endeavor I know of. One that requires honoring our longings and affinities, owning our quirks, idiosyncrasies and shortcomings, and being more, not less of ourselves. One that requires us to pledge allegiance to ourselves ~ pledge to stay with ourselves in the ways we have always wished someone else would, and the way that life, and the overflowing current of benevolent blessings stays with us when we allow it to (and even when we don’t).
Martha Graham reminds us of this in a letter she wrote to Agnes Demille.
One of the most common and insidious things that gets in the way of our full us-ness is comparison. In his tarot deck, Indian mystic and spiritual teacher Osho writes:
“Who ever told you that the bamboo is more beautiful than the oak, or the oak more valuable than the bamboo? Do you think the oak wishes it had a hollow trunk like this bamboo? Does the bamboo feel jealous of the oak because it is bigger and its leaves change color in the fall? The very idea of the two trees comparing themselves to each other seems ridiculous, but we humans seem to find this habit very hard to break. Let’s face it, there is always going to be somebody who is more beautiful, more talented, stronger, more intelligent, or apparently happier than you are. And conversely, there will always be those who are less than you in all these ways. The way to find out who you are is not by comparing yourself with others, but by looking to see whether you are fulfilling your own potential in the best way you know how.”
To live a soulful life, incarnate and embodied as YOU here on earth, you need to go closer to (not further from) what makes you distinctly and divinely you. This requires a radical turning towards yourself, and a desire to know yourself as intimately as you know anyone or anything. It requires a deeply intimate best-friendship with yourself as you are, here and now.
In his beautiful talk on poems self-compassion, David Whyte says that “The soul doesn’t care whether you do something successfully or fail at it; it just wants to know, did you do it in your way? Was it you who failed, or were you trying to be someone else when you failed? If it was you, the soul is happy, because it was your experience, your failure, and no one can take it away from you. The question is not: Did you fail, or did you win? The question becomes: Did you go your own way? ”
It is a bold and courageous thing to believe and act as if you matter, as if you have value, medicine, and unique dimensions of divinity to offer as a gift to this world.
This isn’t about being full of yourself, but it is about being fully yourself, filled up with yourself, occupying yourself completely, and letting your expression in the world be a natural bubbling over of the beautiful, the paradoxical, the irreconcilable, and the multi-dimensional being that you are.
In her delightful TedTalk “The Art of Being Yourself”, Caroline McHugh reminds us that our only job is to be as good at being ourselves as those larger-than-life people we worship and admire are at being themselves. To take on the simple and complex task of knowing who we are at an essence level and being MORE of that.
One of my teachers says that we’re all herbs in Mother’s Garden, and that our job is to emit our unique fragrance, color and texture. In this way we can each be a glorious addition to the beauty, diversity and abundance on this earth.
“Live as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.” Henry David Thoreau
When you lose sight of the immense gift that you bring, may you be overwhelmingly recalled “to the true prayer of YOUR life”. May the longing in the world for what you have to offer become so burning that you can no longer ignore it!
And if you need some help REMEMBERING, invest in yourself and find me for some dynamic coaching!
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO SHARE THIS POST WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE!