“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched – they must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller
“There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.” –Elie Wiesel
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” –Viktor E. Frankl
My posts lately have been increasingly introspective. They’ve been my spiritual musings directed at how we can make the world a better place in which to live. Today I’m hoping to finish the series with this basic question. Who am I?
I’ve asked myself that question often, especially in the last seven years when life has been a bit more of a struggle than it had been previously. Who am I without all the possessions, titles, opinions of others and of myself? If I had nothing but what I came into this world with, who would I be?
You might wonder why I ask that question. What difference does it make? How can it help us solve the dire problems we face in the world? If you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time you know that my premise is that we must change ourselves to change the world.
Right now close family members of mine are going through an extremely rough time. In many ways they’ve been stripped of the things that we often think define us. It’s been a dark time for them, and for me, because I love them and feel connected to them. Their struggles have made them ask the question, who are we really? By extension, I’ve gone back to asking myself again, who am I without all the outer trappings of life?
It’s important to keep asking that question for two reasons. First, it helps us discover why you’re here on the planet. It points to our life’s purpose. Second, as we grow and change the answer shifts a bit because we discover we possess new talents and abilities of which we were previously unaware.
When we go through dark times and are stripped of our ego identify, it’s rough. If you’ve gone through it, you know the feeling. You’re lost. It feels like you’ll never get out of the hole in which you find yourself. You feel despair.
We often think of despair as a bad thing. However, having gone through what some call “the dark night of the soul,” I can say with confidence that despair can be a very good thing to feel, if you allow yourself to really feel it instead of avoiding it with medication, alcohol, TV, video games or any other distraction. I have to say here that some people need the medication just to get to the place where they can deal with their despair.
The thing about being in a dark place is this: At some point in our lives, we have to face our true selves. Being in the dark place gives us an opportunity to do deep soul searching. When we do that, we are confronted with the reality of how much more there is to us than we ever could have imagined possible. That can be a scary proposition because it means we’re responsible for using our gifts and talents. It means we can’t sit back and complain, or be lazy any longer.
Many people around the globe are facing their true selves. Some, maybe even most, would rather live in despair than to acknowledge the shining light within. Despair is familiar. We think we deserve it. That’s not true. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to contribute our wisdom and light to others in the world.
How do we break the cycle of centuries of living in the dark? Think about this: What if the ideas that the powerful always win, violence is the norm, and that most of us are put on this earth to struggle, are completely wrong? What if we are light beings with talents beyond our imagination? What if we ordinary people could change the world by changing ourselves? Who would you be then?
This is something I’ve been contemplating for a very long time. I harp on it a lot in these blog posts because something compels me to love myself, and allow myself to be who I really am. If I’m compelled to learn self-love, it must be important for others to learn as well. At this juncture in history, I don’t see how we can continue unless each person takes a good look at themselves and asks themselves who they really are.
I can’t say I know who I am quite yet, because I feel like there are parts of myself I’ve kept hidden, or that I’m not ready to see. On the other hand, I’m not going to give up trying to answer that question. I want to know myself. I want to be my true self so I can help others answer the question, who am I?
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014