In my twenties I never gave much thought to the idea of discovering myself in any kind of deep way. Sure I wanted to discover how to graduate from school or get a nice job (if you can call that discovering), but the road to self discovery really didn’t concern me until I began having children.
The one thing I have learned about this journey we call life is that it is NEVER ENDING. Not that life in your body is never ending, but that the discovering is constantly unfolding. With each new understanding and revelation there is another that stems directly from it.
You can love it or you can hate it.
You can live in flow with the constant unfolding that is your life or you can fight against it.
For those who have consciously chosen to embrace this road to self discovery there are a few things that I have come to understand and (try) to practice.
1. There is a “gap” between who we think we should be and who God is calling us to be.
When we realize this, our goal is to bridge the “gap”.
What I’m really talking about here is that we have a persona. We all have this ideal image of ourselves that we want to present to the world AND to ourselves.
For me I would love to be my ideal vision of a calm minded-meditative-yogi mama, with a rockin’ hot body who never yells at anyone let alone her kids. Who cooks, eats and feeds her family nothing but the most wholesome organic foods ALL THE TIME.
Yelp that is who I think I should be.
But I am slowly (and I mean slower than I would like to) coming to realize that maybe, just maybe that woman is NOT who God is calling me to. (At least not right now)
Sure there is nothing wrong with being calm-minded and meditative. Nothing wrong with having a rockin’ hot body and cooking organic.
But perhaps God has some other things that he wants me to do that HE deems more important than yoga and organic suppers.
Perhaps I have other more important tasks to focus on to carry out His will.
So I have started to turn my focus to what He sees as important in my life.
2. There is a gap between who I am now and who I’m called to be.
At its core the road to self discovery is about uncovering who you are meant to be. We by no means start out life as wonderfully giving, selfless creatures.
Quite the opposite!
Have you ever noticed how an infant’s only concern is getting THEIR needs met?
That’s how we all start out this life – and that’s fine.
But the goal in evolving is recognizing that I’m NOT THERE YET. And even though I may have come a long way and learned many lessons in selflessness, I understand that there is always more to learn and more to grow.
Simply put who I am now on my journey is NOT who I will be in a year or five years. Likewise, who I am now is not who I was a year or five years ago.
3. There are many TOOLS to facilitate our journey on the road to self discovery.
I’m really just starting to understand the concept of the tools used on this journey. We as humans with such vast intellectual capacities tend to over think so many things that are really suppose to be simple.
Just recently (in the last 5 months or so) I felt the need to stop eating meat. I was feeling particularly sluggish and just heavy in my stomach, so I gave up meat. Within a week I felt better. My digestive system sped up and things felt “light” again.
Then at the beginning of this year I began a regular fasting regiment. I had some specific goals in mind, and was able to learn a lot about my body and what it needs from abstaining from meat and fasting.
But what has happened during this time is that I have “intellectualized” my vegetarianism and fasting into a “thing”.
I’ve made it a ritual that previously had great meaning and great lessons to be learned and turned it into some little hang up of mine.
But this is exactly what spiritual practices and disciplines are – THEY ARE TOOLS that we use to give us a deeper understanding of God and to help us along our road to self discovery.
Because we love to over think, we start to believe that we are somehow dishonoring God or our spiritual tradition if we don’t engage in certain disciplines in certain prescribed ways.
Even though I don’t ascribe to any particular spiritual tradition or religion, I too fall victim to thinking that, for instance, if I don’t fast on Sunday or if I eat meat, then I will somehow dishonor God.
The reality is God so graciously gave me these tools to teach me how to honor my body and trust its guidance. (A lesson that I so desperately needed to learn)
And these same tools continue to teach me more about who I really am, the longer I maintain the practice.
The road to self discovery can be difficult and complex at times. It is also rewarding and sheer joy at times.
But once we can bridge our gaps and use the tools that best facilitate our particular journey life just gets sweeter and sweeter.
What lessons have you learned on your road to self discovery? What has been your BEST part of the journey?