Maybe It is Not About Fixing Ourselves (Lather, Rinse, Repeat)
Ok, so this is not exactly a new realization and it is one that I have actually written about going back as far as 2008 (if you are curious, you can read more here, here, here, here, here and yes, here.) In fact, I would say that the largest part of my own personal journey has been about learning to accept myself as I am, warts and all.
Of course, this is not a journey unique to me but rather one that we all go through. We spend our younger childhood years exploring what we like and don't like and trying to figure out who we are (which explains why younger kids tend to be so naturally self-centered.) Then around 11 or so, our world broadens and we start trying to figure out where and how we fit into the larger world and what that means. As teens and young adults, we start spreading our wings and making our way. In our late twenties and thirties, we tend to be more focused on actually living our lives...jobs, careers, romantic partnerships and, for some of us, marriage and children.
Then boom. Sometime in our forties, it finally hits us. That maybe there is no way to structure our lives, "to do it right," so that we finally feel "on top" of things and life becomes easy. That despite spending so much of our lives trying to get "there" (that place where we finally feel like we have it altogether) in actuality, there may be no "there" to which to get.
In the past, I would have felt a bit embarrassed by the fact that I keep having "the same" realizations. Yet now I am realizing that they are not "the same" but rather deeper understandings. In the Homeschool Alliance, we spent last August discussing readings from Thomas Moore's collection of essays titled Original Self. In an essay titled "Life Moves in Circles, Cycles and Circumambulations" Moore writes:
We might know ourselves better and be closer to our nature by honoring these cycles rather than by running away from them in sentimental philosophies of growth. I don't grow, I am. I don't change, I merely manifest differently the prime material with which I am born. Perhaps if we got off the demanding belt of change and growth, we might relax into the circumambulations of life that turn us over and over, polishing the arcane stone of our most essential selves, revealing more and more of who and what we are.
There was a time when I would have pushed back against the idea that "I don't grow, I am." A time when I was grasping onto any signs of growth to counter the messages in my head. When being told that I just "am" would have felt disheartening rather than hopeful.
So maybe it is sign of where I am now that I see the idea that "I don't grow, I am" to be very liberating. The idea that the person that I am striving to be already exists is quite fascinating to contemplate.
The idea that maybe I don't have to keep trying so hard, that I just have to "relax into the circumambulations of life" and allow the true me that has always been there to reveal itself feels like a relief. As does the idea that it will unfold over time just as it needs to.
I have to admit that I like that...