[blockquote sc_id=”sc1374923412212″]When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. – Lao Tzu[/blockquote]
[dropcap type=”dropcap_color” sc_id=”sc1374923301497″]W[/dropcap]ho are you? It’s not a question many of us ask of ourselves. As things change in my life right now, it’s something I am pondering as I wonder what to do, or who to be, moving forward in my life.
How often have you been out with a new group of friends, or at a party, and someone asks the “what do you do” question? I’ve never been able to answer this well. For me, what I do is an expression and not a definition of me. I get the feeling what the person really wants to know, underneath it all, is “who are you”?
So, who are you?
Do you define yourself by the roles you play?
As a mother?
As a daughter?
As a lover?
Do you define yourself by your ‘qualities’?
As a thinker?
As a happy person?
As a depressive?
Do you define yourself by your actions, possessions, or interests?
As an entrepreneur?
As a gardener?
As a millionaire?
There may other categories we are slot into, nationality, religion, sex, race, preferences. Are any or all of these who we truly are?
It feels to me there is something nebulous in all of this. When we try to grasp the concept of who we are by these definitions, it dissipates before us, like a hand trying to grasp mist. It reminds me of an ancient Indian story of The Blind men and the Elephant.
Perhaps there is a limitation in the question itself. It’s very static. It doesn’t look forward, it doesn’t give options. What would happen if we reframe the question from, ‘Who am I’, to, ‘Who would I like to be’? or ‘Who could I be’? These questions give us the power of choice.
Who would you like to be?
I’d like to be more compassionate? I’d like to feel more in the moment. I’d like deeper and more meaningful relationships with others. I’d like to wake up in the morning feeling like all is right in my world.
So how do you get from where you are ==> to where you would like to be?
[blockquote sc_id=”sc1374931394431″] “We are what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle [/blockquote]
This may be a little reductive, it remains largely instructive. In part we need to do or be different to achieve this new outcome. So for me to feel more in the moment, I could practice mindfulness meditation? For me to have deeper and more meaningful relationships, I could seek out like minded people, perhaps change my mindset, connect with others with a more open hearted attitude? For me to wake up in the morning and feel all is right in the world, I could practice being grateful and focus on the opportunities and positives that exists in all situations. There are so many things that I could do differently, to be who I wish to be.
What do you focus on?
It is said that ‘focus goes where our energy flows’. What do you focus on? Do you focus on the negative, are you stressed and worried, do you feel further away from who you ‘truly are’? Now ask yourself, ‘what would I like to focus on’? And see in that moment, what we focus on, and how it affects our thoughts, feelings, and outcomes.
[blockquote sc_id=”sc1374923467885″]No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible. -Voltaire[/blockquote]
As I get older I realise that being mindful, that ‘being conscious in being’ is crucial. We can’t help but be. If we’re mindful, we notice that we now have a choice in how to be. And if we’re conscious in how to be, in all those little moments, all those little choices we make, transform into big changes. Like single raindrops which build to a flood.
Does it even matter who we are?
Yes and no. Of course it matters, it transforms our lives and others. But how we think about who we are is key. Obsessing with who we are brings the wrong attitude. If we are playful, flexible, curious – explorers in our own lives. Then who we are evolves. If we realise that we can choose who we are, in each moment, then we give ourselves the incredible gift of freedom from ourselves.
If we recognise we are all actors playing the part of ‘I’ in our own lives, that we’re the script writer and the director. Then what part would you write for yourself in the play that is your life?
[blockquote sc_id=”sc1374923486992″]The world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts… – Shakespeare[/blockquote]