What do I have to offer? Why am I here?
It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves as we seek to grow and find meaning and purpose.
There are so many people offering their advice, “the way” to contentment and fulfillment…how do we connect with one, or another? Who can know our journey? Whose words will be the keys to unlock our mystery? For some its Jesus, for others, the Dali Lama, or maybe their mothers or fathers. These wise ones speak a language that inspires and helps us to understand.
Ultimately, what I have to offer is not much different from what any of us have to offer; our unique understanding of life, through our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned. In my case, I’ve chosen to make this process my profession. I have educated myself, learned about how people change, what helps them to heal and to face the challenges with grace and hope. This is my life’s purpose.
And with that understanding I share my thoughts, hoping in my words you will find insight, comfort, and meaning, and that my interpretation of life will spark something in you to further your understanding of your journey.
I'll begin where I began. Inspired by one of the world’s greatest thinkers, Emerson. I’ve attempted to live according to these ideals:
The escape from all false ties ; courage to be what we are ; and love of what is simple and beautiful; independence and cheerful relation — these are the essentials. These, and the wish to serve, to add somewhat to the well-being of men. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Starting today, and with my next few blog posts, I will be taking apart this quote line by line. Mediating on each message. I hope you’ll enjoy unraveling it with me!
THE ESCAPE FROM ALL FALSE TIES
Huge concept. What are the false ties in your life? For some it may be a sense of obligation to others, or to a career path. Perhaps you think you have to appear a certain way to be loved. To be cool, liked or admired. To make your parents proud. Maybe its fake friendships. Do you truly enjoy the company of those you spend your time with? Are you comfortable enough with them to share your dreams? Do you feel accepted and loved unconditionally? Or judged and discounted? These are difficult questions…and they lead to answers that could be hard to face. But I have come to know that living an authentic life is worth more to me than false ties. Only you know the answer of question for yourself, and only when you’re ready will you ask it.
Is your marriage a true union, or are is it a false tie? Do you pretend all is well when your spirit is dying? That’s hard to face. But if its truly not supporting you as a person, then maybe its time to look this truth in the eye. This doesn’t mean you should divorce your spouse. Chances are your spouse is suffering from this false tie as well. What would it mean to be honest with yourself and with each other? To have the courage to take steps to move the relationship in a direction that is more in line with your truth. It takes work, and again we have to ask ourselves…what is the value of authenticity in my life?
Perhaps a false tie is achieving financial success, or a sentimental attachment to scarcity…to being an “artist” and not “selling out”. Is it a Fendi bag? Cartier watch? An Audi? Membership to the beach club?
And what about social media? The appearance of being well, popular, loved. Is the image you present on social media a false tie? Its great to share good news! But if you are feeling a social pressure to keep up with the friends, co-workers or family…if it feels fake, then you may need to evaluate what motivates you to want to put on this front.
I am sincerely thankful that my sense of self worth is not wrapped up in the possession of things. I don’t suffer anxiety because of the things I don’t have. Rather, I remind myself of all I do have. Gratitude is truly the antidote for the illness of envy, entitlement and lack-based anxiety.
I stumbled upon this experience several years ago...when I was gripped by a fear of lack. It was torturous, and in seeking relief, I began to think about what I did have…and it was a truly transformative experience. "Counting your blessings" is not just a corny admonition. It really works!
If you find yourself wishing things were different…if only you had done this or that, or gripped by anxiety of what will be - I recommend you give gratitude a try. Make it tangible. Write down all you have in your life. The family, the friends, the job or career. If you don’t have much of those, just count the blessings you do have. If you’re in good health that’s a major one. Or maybe its that one neighbor who always says hi, or your dog or cat who are so happy to see you. For me its my family and friends that truly love me. Its the sunrise and ocean, the beautiful night sky, simply an amazing flower. I am grateful that I can perceive beauty, and that it fills my heart with joy. This is such a blessing. Let the emotions settle in your soul. Even if all you have is another day to try, you can choose to view that as a blessing. Opportunities to grow, although at times painful, are blessings. They keep you moving forward.
What are your false ties? Where in your life are you pretending to be, want, or feel something you’re not?
Next post: THE COURAGE TO BE WHO WE ARE…