Who are you?
Can you answer this question without using a name title?
You are not a daughter or son, woman or man, a wife, a husband, a mother, a father, a single parent, or a grandparent.
You are not a supervisor, or a secretary, divorced, or a homemaker, a cashier, or a farmer, and you are not “retired.”
If you aren’t allowed to use these common identities as part of your response, then who are you?
This task is not easy because it means going beneath the crust of our every day existence to the core—perhaps where no you has gone before—and not everybody wants to get to know and give words to who exists inside.
There might be a light and bright side in there or perhaps a dark side, where shortcomings and other self-stuff we’d rather not look at, lay in dusty piles.
I think it would make a great conversation among good friends, who could hold each other accountable to the “rules” that come with the question, but then I’m the adventurous type.
“Who am I” is the question in my life as I perch on the edge of 2014, still searching purposes and paths, still burying the gone and the dead, and reinventing the living of my life.
As always, this last column of the year has been my dancing partner for many months. We tango and waltz together through the meandering experiences of everyday life, gathering up all my best lessons of the year, be they hard to swallow or a joy to remember.
I keep working my way forward—sometimes inching along, sometimes leaping, sometimes stumbling backwards and falling into old patterns. I’m still learning to accept whatever it is I’m feeling and then let it go and then go forward.
Every day I try to make a conscious choice about the “how” of my living—to let go of expectations and be true to myself. I think it’s the most challenging job of my life and will be, lifelong.
I also continue to endorse that another of my greatest personal challenges is to practice the six little words I often have written about. I think by far it’s the greatest gift a true friend can give another. “Mouth closed, ears open, presence available.”
I recently read a magazine article where Maria Shriver had been interviewed about her life and I was impacted by the words of advice she offered up about living an authentic life.
“You have to be willing to let go of the life you planned in order to make the life you’re meant to live.”
I think I’ve been trying to find my way back to who and where I used to be and maybe I’m not supposed to do that.
I think I have to admit that the really tough life experiences I’ve had took some of the Beth out of the Beth and I’m not going to get her back. I have to stay open to the newer, refined version.
The Four Noble Truths encourage us to show up, pay attention, and tell the truth or keep noble silence, and stay wide open to change.
I’m staying wide open.
Shriver also said, “First, you have to slow your life down to find out if you’re actually living the life you are meant to live. Are you just gliding? Are you a dead woman or dead man walking? It’s your job to know who you are. What do you value? What’s your mission? What makes you happy? It’s your job to figure that out today, because that’s really what you’re supposed to be doing here.”
Who am I? Imperfect, genuine, and very, very lucky to be me.
Happy New Year everyone. May you go forward getting to know yourself better.
Who are you?