The recent azure skies with accompanying crisp cool weather (the latter usually elusive in Miami and our version of the Frozen Tundra) are ideal for researching the topic at hand: self-discovery. Ok. Give me a second. I just turned on the incense. I can’t find where I placed the candle, but I’m going ahead and fetching my Snuggie and macarons. I’m setting the stage. For a topic like this, a gal needs additional comforting. We’re entering dark waters my friend, as in down to the depths of the bayou.
For Jackson Pollock, who was also considered a disrupter in his time, painting was “self-discovery…every good artist paints what he is. It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.” Pollock’s style was radical for the time; he’d place the canvas on the floor and with impulsive, rapid, almost manic strokes, he’d splash paint on it, as if exorcising demons. Side note: One mint-green Marie Antoinette macaron down the hatch. Awe, feeling better.
On the more objective (with long, lingering strokes of the positive) side of the spectrum, for Spiritual Teacher, Author and proponent of A Course In Miracles, Marianne Williamson believes this process of discovery. “It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives,” she says. In other words, it takes shoving fear out of the way and standing naked and in stillness to look within.
“Our inner space is blissfully aware of everybody and everything — cosmically, we’re all one…and the force that guides the stars, guides you too.”
It’s far easier to look out and criticize the world we exist in, perceiving things around us from a place of judgment or lack. This allows our egos to commandeer our lives, taking no accountability for our actions and placing ourselves in the roll of victim; feeding a cycle of “I’ve been done wrong” that temporarily feels good, but in the long-run has you stuck in a “Woe is me” mentality, and if you have others who partake in that sentiment — well then, as the old adage goes: Misery loves company. It’s a full-blown pity-party that can last for years, decades — or a lifetime.
If we begin to view the world as a place of abundance and the universe as having everything we need until our soul is evolved enough to receive it, the concept of scarcity is obsolete. As Yogi & Mediation Teacher Dada Gunamuktananda shares: “Our Inner space is blissful aware of everybody and everything — cosmically, we’re all one. You’re never alone or helpless, and the force that guides the stars, guides you too.”
When I read that quote recently it was as if a spark lit up in my underbelly — punch-drunk love to the soul. There’s energy all around us, at any point in time there’s another individual out there in this vast world feeling what you’re feeling, or have felt. We all have the same primary needs of food, water and shelter (and I’ll add love and self-realization to the mix). If we comprehend that we’re all one, and there is no lack, then to look within is to come to a better understanding of ourselves, to know that we are all an ever-evolving work-in-progress (and what a wonderful thing that is). That it has nothing to do with a quest for some unattainable perfection, but everything to do with the quest — your quest. Part of that quest is arriving at feeling pure joy in your own company, blossoming into your own best friend.
Our humanity is what connects us and bonds us; ego is what builds up walls; and it feeds off of fear, insecurity, neediness, entitlement and anxiety. As Psychologist-turned-Investor Shelley Prevost describes it, your ego and your “calling” in life can look surprisingly similar. “Both pull you toward the realization of your desires; both can completely consume your waking — and sometimes sleeping — hours with frenetic thoughts and sparks of brilliance,” she says. “They can also manifest similar outcomes — money, fame and power. And they can both leave you feeling exhausted.” She goes on to break it down to 5 unmistakable things when observing if ego is the motivating factor in your life: 1.) Ego stimulates anxiety; 2.) It pursues success to a level that it consumes a person’s energy; 3.) It requires constant validation; 4.) It feels entitled; 5.) And lastly, the ego is selfish and is primarily concerned with maintaining identity.
“I’ve concluded that I have an obligation to myself to maintain a standard of movement along with meditation and journaling to center my soul.”
Author Steven Pressfield shares that however “odd, weird or humble”, everyone has a calling. “It’s like a secret in the heart, and there are tricks to finding out what that secret is,” he says. He believes that we should all ask ourselves questions like: “If fear or money where not a factor, what would I do?” and “If I had only 3 months left to live, how would I want to spend the remainder of my life?”. These questions get at the heart of what is most important to us. And getting the answers is paramount to establishing true happiness.
It took me a couple of years to authentically arrive at the conclusion that my ultimate destination is self-discovery. I now know my calling is to research, experience and communicate from an objective place without judgment while remaining playful and full of wonder about life through my writing and interactions. What’s more, I understand that I have a deep need to travel and see the world, and if I don’t do that regularly, I begin to feel imbalanced. I’m fully aware that I must allocate time to learn and experience something new on a monthly basis to maintain a level of happiness. From observation, I’ve concluded that I have an obligation to myself to maintain a standard of movement along with meditation and journaling to center my soul. And lastly, as simple as it may read, I have a duty to express myself, to feel and to give love to everyone I come in contact with. Those are my passions, and that’s my calling. What’s yours?