Walking down Main street in Ypsilanti, my hometown (currently!), I pass by our Public Library and I see this: “Start Here. Go Anywhere”. This has been my mantra, my directive in my own journey through adulthood.
In Rumi’s poem “The Journey”, the translation reads “The great excursion starts from exactly where you are”.
There’s nowhere else to start! We start just where we are, in whatever state of success, joy or despair we find ourselves in. Most of us are accustomed to seeking goals, joys, satisfaction and completion outside ourselves. We try to explain our troubles away, blame others or look at our circumstances through our ‘victim’ lenses. We dart around our days with little awareness or desire to really live in our bodies, relate with ourselves, follow our hearts. And each time we do that, we lose an opportunity to move forward ourselves.
Symptoms show up when we get too estranged from ourselves. When they show up in and through our bodies, our emotions, our relationships, we may be forced to sit up and pay attention. And at that point, we can either attend to our symptoms or to ourselves.
When we make it a practice to focus on ourselves, we can truly go anywhere and co-create the life we choose with all that we have. And we usually have more than we think we do!
A huge challenge to focusing on our own lives, are the subtle messages we internalize about being selfish, self-centered or being irresponsible. I learned this early in life in Catholic school as I sang “Others, Lord, yes others, let this my motto be”. What I actually learned was that I shouldn’t love myself. Many other societal influences only nourished this belief, this subconscious decision I made. It has taken many years to choose to get to know and love myself and look at my challenges as opportunities to propel myself toward internal freedom and fulfillment.
Read Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey”: link
Yes, those voices will call out to you; guilt, shame, obligation will trot by your heels for a while. And you will look ahead and walk on, and you will find companions along the way, and soon the aroma of freedom and aliveness will keep you hooked on your dreams and desires. And you will grow your capacity to love more freely and fully.
PAUSE: What is it that keeps me from focusing on myself, my tasks, my needs, my challenges, my desires?
Stay connected to yourself! Stay in touch with me too!