Who Am I?
Interesting question, and of all the pieces I’ve had to write, getting started on this one has been the worst; not because I don’t know who I am, in so much as I am all too aware of being so many things. Reconciled in paradox: outgoing introvert, rationally intuitive, benevolent shit-disturber; I am a very happy walking contradiction. But what you all would probably like to know is why I’m writing, how I got here, and what kind of credentials I’ve got.
Easy part first: as for credentials, I’ve got none. In my defence I’ll quote a dear friend’s response to my concern about not having a university education as I embark upon a writing career: You can have book learnin’ and still be a frickin’ idiot. ‘Nuff said.
On the how I got here front, it probably started in high school: honour student who loved the sciences, but also the girl who delivered an oral book report on a Shirley MacLaine novel to her rather silent and slack-jawed classmates (trying to explain universal vs. individual consciousness through the metaphor of being aware of your whole body vs. just being aware of your big toe did not go over as well as I had expected).
I think I’ve just always been curious about the “what’s it all about” question and explored answers to that from all sorts of fields – quantum mechanics, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, natural sciences, philosophy. Eventually, I signed on with Christianity, mostly because after a study of breadth, I came to understand to really gain depth you’ve simply got to pick a path – not that one is necessarily superior to the other, you just have to follow something to see where it leads. And sometimes it’s good to pick the path that starts close to home. I’ve got me a pluralistic, rational flavour of Christianity though, inevitably infused with all my other influences – and content in the contradictions in that.
I’ve also had some health issues that left me somewhat sidelined, which led to all that time for reading, and put me in a rather unique position of observer to the peculiarities of life. That, and lots of time just sitting and staring at trees has landed me where I am today. I highly recommend the sitting and staring at trees bit, very powerful stuff – people rarely Just Sit Still as often as they should.
It was the sitting under trees that lead to the writing, in its own oblique way. I think after all that reading I got to a point where I was just full, and couldn’t absorb any more information. A couple of years of sitting, digesting all that data, and stuff just sort of started bubbling out of me; first simple poems, then more writings, even an accidental book. I think some sort of synthesis took place in all that quiet time, and pieces from all sorts of sources started to fall together in new ways and I just felt compelled to put it out there. As far as career planning goes, quitting your job to write is stupid and illogical, so I figure I must be on the right track (things always seem to go better for me when I give up on doing what seems rational and instead follow what draws me).
…which would be why I write. After years of learning to get out of my own way and plugging into life and what inspires me, I’ve discovered part of what inspires me is seeing that spark lit in other people – cheering them on for doing the irrational and heart compelling.
Not one destined for Motivational Speaking, the only way I know to inspire is to be myself and be honest about my experiences and my own process. Opening up and finding out who you really are is messy, awkward, scary work; and I speak from that space so that when you are in the middle of messy awkward scary parts in your own life you’ll know you’re right on track, doing your own juicy soul-work.
So if I’m inspirational, it’s in that Well, she’s a bit of spaz, but look what she’s doing, so how hard can it be? …no reason I can’t. kinda way. And you’re right, there’s no reason you can’t, so get on with it!
For a glimpse at the spiritual lego pieces that went into who I am, you’ll want to read my primer on meditation. It’ll show you a lot of what went into making the being that I am, and may offer some interesting resources for your path too.