Stop being so impressed with what other people are doing and get impressed about yourself. You have a story that the world wants to hear. Go tell it!
How often do expectations thwart our authenticity? Lurking in folds of time and corners of space they continually inundate us with an avalanche of tasks or sneaky, squinty glances of those who claim to know us better than we do. Self-awareness, passion, expression and intuition are my guides, the allies that help me rise against conformity. Thus, the first point I want to make when it comes to reclaiming a sense of authenticity is: know who you are. Or else, others will fill in the gap in no time.
Withstanding the outside pressure from society with its mandates and codes is only one side of the equation. From reality shows through picture perfect covers and oscillating trends and an ever-multiplying twitter-feed of shoulds, I sometimes feel like I’d need another version of me to keep tract of the onslaught of information that by default if not taken with a grain of salt, could easily intrude into my life as molding hands of a faceless sculptor. We work the mill and spend our earnings on useless things that make us believe for fleeting moments that we living up to the standards and before we know it, we are living a life that is not truly ours. And then, there is the inner battle that awaits us. Be it covert or overt expectations inherited from parents, mates or peers, we try to fit in and that’s when most people, if not self-aware, can get lost, in the endless maze of pleasing, striving to make others’ day but forgetting about our own. And our time on this planet is limited, so the sooner we are able to disengage from the sticky chaos, acknowledge the unique desires simmering at our core and inhale their rising fragrance, the sooner we can root and find fulfillment, even and especially in this constantly changing reality.
The two terrors that discourage creativity and creative living are fear of public opinion and undue reverence for one’s own consistency.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My own journey of finding out who I am and figuring out what I want to do has been a continuous process since the question first dawned in my consciousness over a decade ago. With the voraciousness of a young, hungry cat, I leaped to claim the veracity of my existence. Books, introspection and deep conversations adorned my path as it ascended the mountain of my individuality. Journal pages have become my signposts and moments of epiphany my guiding lights. But ultimately, the destination I was after kept deluding me until gradually I realized the old truth that indeed there was none. It was about the experience of gradually reaching deeper into the core of my Self to become intimate with my Soul, to taste my quintessential flavor, to become intoxicated with my own scent. The journey that initiated in my heart to expand with the aid of my mind, eventually lead me to encompass all planes of my senses. The quest led me across breathtaking landscapes of vast plains, deep valleys and expansive mountain ranges. And to this day, I am reminded that there is always another hill to climb and another opportunity to dive deeper. The key is the desire to begin the search. Literally, that’s the impulse that sparks the adventure, our personal hero’s journey.
Do you know who you are? Despite it being a long, if not endless process of figuring out, it is so worth it! Giving yourself the due attention you deserve and keeping your dreams alive, letting them literally whisper to you and coax you on your path, is in my view one of the most rewarding experiences. It is like waking to a fresh summer morning, drinking a glass of cool wildflower flavored spring water straight from the source, feeling a burst of sunshine caress a cold shoulder… And all it takes is a willing ear and a sprinkle of self-love.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
There is no greater joy than that of feeling oneself a creator. The triumph of life is expressed by creation.
Henri Bergson ow
I used to run in circles trying to figure out what to do with myself (in some ways I still do that to this day, like today deciding whether I should start writing a new story or this blog resulting in a case of mental fidgeting). Then, one day the clouds parted and the obvious became clear. Do what you love! The sun screamed to me. Look at me! That is precisely the only thing I do… Yes another old truth again. Funny how those words resonate but don’t mean much until a time comes when they can be applied. Until then, such wise, elegant sayings, timeless advice from our ancestors, exist as mere benign words floating in space-time. They are like seeds that patiently wait to fall on ripe soil before they germinate bestowing the ground with a harvest of unimaginable proportions. As succulent fruits await your tasting, you are reminded over and over again that following what feels good breeds more good.
So, follow the trail of you passion, be it a hobby, a particular interest, a dream of going to Africa. It is there. It is the thin rivulet of a cobblestone path that meanders between the buildings, through the park and below the low hanging grape bushes, lined with rose petals. You think of it, it makes you shiver with anticipation. What would you do if you won the lottery, besides quitting your day job and after you are back from the cruise? What activity would you most passionately settle into? Follow that trail… Do it for yourself, for your loved ones, for a peace of mind.