“Searching for oneself is a journey of a lifetime. Life is what happens in between.” -Mateo from Warrior Nun
Life is about constantly discovering who you are. Yes, it is a journey. It is a lifelong journey. If you were to ask my youngest self any question at all, the answer would be much different from what my current self would say. People often get themselves caught up in sentiment and nostalgia. They expect things to always be the same. They want to see that everything is “stable”. But what they don’t realize is that “stable” translates into “stagnant” when change is interrupted or blocked altogether. This is why it is good for people to travel, get away from the familiar and delve into the foreign, the unfamiliar, the unknown.
Great mysteries have been discovered in exactly that way. And it doesn’t have to be travelling to the other side of the planet in order to get this effect. It just has to be somewhere that is not where you are right now. I have often said it is important for one to occasionally visit a place where the only sound is that of birds singing and a screen door slamming shut. This is tantamount to healing oneself. But it is also often what is needed in order to find oneself.
At the same time, exploring a vast city can have the same effect of self-discovery. Because here is the thing. As long as it is unfamiliar, it will lead you to discovering who you are. You may not like the journey that much. That is alright. It is more important that you take the journey than enjoy the journey. Yes, there are many attitude adjustments that can help you to enjoy it. But sometimes hardship also does the trick. We always have a choice as to whether or not to enjoy a process or resist it, kicking and screaming, white knuckling it all the way, and clutching the doorways with our fingernails, leaving scratch marks on the woodwork when we are done. But if we choose to go about it that way, then at least we have physical evidence of our journey.
People resist change for a reason. It is not a very good reason, but a reason it is! That reason is that with the unfamiliar comes an unconsciously perceived threat to one’s well-being. It is completely embedded in our lizard brains from when we crawled out of the caves and had to be alert to EVERYTHING in our surroundings just so that we could survive to the end of the day. And because it is so embedded in our brains, it becomes difficult to work through that.
When we approach life with a sense of adventure, we are able to see multitudes of possibilities right before our eyes. For myself, it is often a color of an object or the sound that something makes that will first catch my attention. And then, no matter what the surroundings, I will quickly explore what I have discovered. And what I find is that whatever the discovery is links directly into who I am constantly discovering myself to be.
We all have many facets to our beings. Some don’t think that they do. But they are wrong. They just don’t like to look at the facets as they present themselves. That would be finding something “new” about themselves. God forbid! But in the discovery of another aspect of one’s personality and character we automatically become more whole, more well-rounded, more expansive in our consciousness. This is a really good thing!
Often when someone says, “Oh, he went off to find himself,” there are automatic eye-rolls that happen. Doing something like that is considered to be frivolous and an indication of privilege. But how many of the eye-rolls are coming from folks who have never ventured beyond their hometown for more than a weekend or a week? Their comfort level is what they prefer and they tend to expect others to fall in line with that mentality. This leads to small-mindedness and sometimes bigotry, because the unfamiliar is seen as foreign and therefore not acceptable.
The mind works like a parachute. It functions best when it is wide open. Getting away from the familiar is what helps that process along and begins the development of a worldly person. There is nothing wrong with that at all. I invite my readers to find ways in which to step out from their comfort zones, even for just a short moment. See what you learn about yourself and how that can be applied to many aspects of your life. You may be pleasantly surprised!