George Bernard Shaw’s quote pictured just above is good food for thought. Once upon a time I remember firmly believing I could find myself out there somewhere. My approach was that of an adventurer. Simply thinking if “I” am to be found at some location other that where I am, let the journey begin! And so it did.
I tried changing locales often while searching for “me”. Within the searching I lived in eight states from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans and even tried close to a year as an expatriate in a foreign country. There were a few hints and sign posts forward, but there was no”me” there to be found.
I went looking for “myself” with high focus on interests such as piloting airplanes, professional photography, high-powered rocketry, collecting antiques, travel to exotic places and more. There was no “me” to be found up in the sky. No image ever captured did more than vaguely hint at who I might be. Even when the everyday person I am was mostly stripped away by places where little was familiar only a few vague notions of “me” arrived.
I thought maybe some of the un-located “me” might be in another person and a long list of short and long relationships came and went. Within those loves and heart breaks there was a moving closer to the destination of “myself” that came through revelations of what I was not. The trying to fit in and the molding of myself to others painfully taught a lot of what was not “me”, but not much of what “I was”.
As many worthy discoveries come from failure of another intention, the many failings of my choices in time brought me unwillingly onto the path of “creating myself”. The makings of the “me” searched for through many years had been inside all along! I had been running away from it hoping to replace what was there unsuccessfully with something else. When there was not other choice, I became the creating artist of my own life. Some of the best chisels in my sculpting kit are:
Often being around others working on similar self improvement.
Getting up earlier and giving my most rested hours to myself.
Appreciating what I have instead of wanting something else.
Living first and foremost for myself instead of others.
Looking inward and writing here what I see and feel.
Forgiving others for what they have done to me.
Expectations of good instead of the opposite.
Making amends with those I hurt in the past.
Expanding the good, diminishing the bad.
Working to live instead of living to work.
Forgiveness for things I have done.
Learning to be comfortably alone.
Faithfulness to myself and others.
Belief in a power greater than me.
Being a better friend.
Staying in one place.
A great deal of time was spent previously expecting to “arrive” and to instantly have the complete life I thought was my destiny to have. Now it is clear life is not a destination and is instead something created daily or more accurately, moment by moment. My discovery has been when I live more fully in the ‘now’ I better ‘carve’ out the “me” I once searched for. In a relatively short time my future has begun to unfold more as I want and my past has begun to be something I am pleased about. Being proud of one’s self gives a person amazing strength!
This all sounds simple and it is, but hard to do. The difficulty is removing the sediment that life puts over us given time. It’s easy to begin to believe the residue of the years is who and what we are. I had to dig the mudslide of many years that covered and obscured the “me” with.
Like a miner I had to remove the layers of mud before the veins of raw gold of “me” could be located. And only then could the gold began to be processed and shaped. Mining of any sort takes strength, determination and consistent digging. Now instead of a feeling of being lost, I am the daily sculptor and creator of “me”. The hard work of the task is not a deterrence and I am deeply grateful for the measure of peace and satisfaction the labor now brings each day.
Man cannot remake himself without suffering,
for he is both the marble and the sculptor.
Dr. Alexis Carrel