Oscar Wilde (and a whole slew of other people) said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Seems simple enough, maybe I should give it a try. I find it interesting that in almost any challenging social situation the first piece of advice I am given is “be yourself!” It was not until recently that I realized that being myself was optional, that I could actually maintain a state of non-self (not in the enlightened way) for so long.
It takes a strong will of personality to maintain your self despite influence and pressure from the world outside, but I always considered myself to be have a strong will. I am aware that it is a point of contention as to whether or not my will of personality should be encouraged, actually. But still, I am realizing that I had slipped; I had begun to lose whatever it was that made me the person I want to be. Ironically, I think I lost it in an attempt to become the person I thought I wanted to be.
I ask questions. A lot of questions. Not just of the world around me (which doesn’t always go well) but mostly of myself. Why am I where I am? Am I happy? Could I, should I be somewhere else? This is not necessarily a reflection on whatever it is that I am doing. I may love it, ask myself how I feel about it and respond, “I love it I love it I love it!” as I kick my feet up in the air. But I still feel the need to ask, to consider. This I can not change. My contentment in life is dependent entirely on daily consideration.
What I am finding, though, is that I am also happier if I have room to turn this questioning on every area of my life. Revisiting all the little “why”s of my slightly unusual lifestyle. Sometimes the answers are simple and sometimes they are very complicated. I am happiest when the answers are fresh, when I have answered the question TODAY and I feel grounded in it. Not when I answered the question 3 years ago and just stick with it because it seemed like the only option. I am not old enough, and not nearly wise enough, to know what will be right for me for the rest of my existence. And let me tell you, it is a relief to be able to answer, “I don’t know!” Or to admit that I feel one way today, but that I have the room to revisit the question tomorrow and come up with something different. Maybe the remarkable thing is that some questions don’t need hard and fast answers like I thought they did.
Some questions I thought I knew the answers to, but am only now realizing that those were answers given to me by someone else. Maybe those are not my answers. And, Glorious Day! My answers are not going to be everyone else’s answers. I am allowed to have different ideas of right and wrong, pleasure and pain, and still love someone for who they are. I am allowed to love everyone, whether or not they share my ideas or have even ever considered them. What a relief.
So, that is all I really know about who I am, how I can “be myself.” I can not yet fall into the mold of the world’s most perfect yogi, but I am not sure that the image I have been overwhelmed with is really that accurate. A life without room for questioning and love of every thing (and every one, even that beer drinking, meat eating, pot head over there) is not the life of a Yogi. We each have our own path, and they will eventually all lead to the same place. I know that I love easily and question constantly. I know that I am happiest when I have room to love, despite others’ answers to my questions. I know I am the most content when I question my self, my path, and my choices just enough to know that I am still moving forward and not getting lodged in the mire.
The other day I was told that a decision can be hard to make when you are at a point in your life where you aren’t really sure of who you are. Times of transition or dramatic change can bring such turmoil and upheaval that it is easy to lose yourself in the drama of what is going on around you. It is easy to lose track of what you want or what is really important. This I conceded, only to realize that this is not a time of turmoil in my life. This is a time of clarity. I already had years of turmoil. Years of questioning, doubting my path and where it lead without room to address my questions. I now see my path stretched in front of me, as clear as the yellow brick road. Sure, I can’t see the Emerald City from the East where my house landed, but the fact of the matter is, the tornado died out, the spinning stopped and I landed. Safe and sound.