This month, per my agreement with myself, I have been reading, listening to, ruminating on, and talking about the idea of Connection. Although one of my intentions has been to connect more with others, and I have experienced the joy of some very special reunions and reconciliations, there is another kind of connection that continues to surprise me in its surfacing: the connection to self.
During some recent travel I began reading a book called Quiet Horizons: Releasing Ideology and Embracing Self-Knowledge.
Much of what is in this book resonates with my own thoughts about my life as they have developed in the last few months. I am only nearly halfway through the book, but let me summarize at the highly-likely risk of oversimplifying. The author, my uncle Greg Jemsek, is extolling the importance of knowing yourself outside of what organizations and society may tell you to be and finding your own purpose rather than following the dreams and purposes of others. Uncle Greg , a narrative therapist among other things, describes the psychological reasons why some people are prone to falling victim to “conversion” groups and offers the alternative of self-knowledge as a better path toward empowered fulfillment and community.
In my current situation, I can somedays feel the weighty fog of loneliness in a big city during an era where online relationships and identities (if we can call them that) have supplanted physical connection. But during this month of Here I Am, I am discovering (with the help of wise people who pointed it out) that life is laying out a path for me to connect with myself in a new way instead of struggling to find connection and belonging in others. In fact, I’m beginning to embrace the journey of self-knowledge despite the occasional loneliness as I see it more and more as the groundwork necessary for the authentic relationships I seek. It is time to connect with the bare essentials of ME, to cultivate a more genuine acceptance, even appreciation, of what I bring to this world. And as I do that, I eagerly wait for the unveiling of new connections with others that I’m sure will happen simultaneously.
Are you connecting with yourself? Do you know that every day you are keeping company with a very special person? There is no one like you and there is no one who can bring to this world the particular thing that you bring. There is no one who can tell you what to be and within you is the power to be many many things. So before you make a contract with yourself that your identity is an affiliation — liberal, Catholic, husband, reject, accountant, American — remember that your true identity cannot be bound by any social construct nor its conditions.
How do you “remember” this? Sit down quietly with yourself. Say “Hello” to you. Imagine all the labels of identity falling off of you like clothing. Ask yourself a question that has been nagging you and listen to your essence, your intuition…you DO have wise intuition. Soak in the truth that there is no other YOU in existence.
Or, wait for me to finish the book and I’ll tell you what an expert suggests you do.
For the time being, be YOU today! The world needs you.