who are you, really?
Updated: Jun 25, 2018
“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you will discover is yourself.” - Alan Alda
In 2009, my world turned upside down. For the past twenty years I was going through the motions as a wife and a mother. But now my marriage was over and my children were young adults. As I lay on my bed trying to make sense of the senseless, I asked the question, "Who are you now?" I didn't have an answer.
With head in hands, I thought back to what I was like before marriage and children. Had making dinner, cleaning the house, throwing birthday parties, and bringing my children to library activities, erased all remembrance of me? I knew that I loved writing and that I loved art. Memories of being accepted to an Art School in Georgia, my senior year in High School surfaced. My mind swirled to recall the details of this lost opportunity. Oh yes, the lack of financial support (my parents had no money for my education), lack of emotional support (my high school counselors has no belief in me) and the lack of my own self confidence made this reality a lost cause.
I stood, brushed the hair out of my face, wiped the tears out of my eyes and decided to embark on the path of self-discovery. I enrolled in a watercolor class. It was fun and as the paper soaked up the paint, I soaked up every word the teacher provided. The next class, was a pastel workshop. Blending the colors together, made my heart expand with happiness; I was re-discovering what brought me joy.
The next class was a wheel-throwing pottery class. This class was meaningful to me on so many levels; it brought up frustration, success, acceptance. This class was held weekly, with weekend studio time. Throwing was challenging for me and all my clay creations lacked height and looked like, well, a clump of clay. But I continued to attend each class with an open mind and a willingness to learn and improve. Shunryu Suzuki, Zen master in Japan, and author of, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, states that, “ For those who find great difficulties in practicing Zen will find more meaning in it.” I believe what Suzuki is saying, is that it is the struggling student who will learn more from the lesson than the student that finds every assignment easy. During the six-week course, I continued to struggle with the clay to make a tall vase. Removing the access clay on my jeans,
I exhaled and knew that what I could create, was the low ashtray like bowls, and they were lovely.
I reminded myself that this quest of self discovery was not about perfection, it was about the process. It was about discovering and exploring who I was and what I could accomplish.
Then came the wood working class. The class was held by a women carpenter, who taught the class, to design a book case, cut the wood and to finish the product with stain and varnish. This exploration of self-discovery with this class, was nothing short of amazing. I overcame my fear of power tools, and my lack of self-confidence lay on the floor with the sawdust as I power- sawed through my pencil marked, ruler placed measurements. The class was nothing short of empowering. Not to mention, that I now have a great looking bookcase that holds my many yoga philosophy books.
I also want to add, that while I was doing these classes, I was working full time and enrolled in an Associates Degree course in Administrative Management, taking two classes each week. I don't share this information to blow my own horn or get a pat on the back, but to share with you that I knew I was more than the reflection in the mirror. I was more than a mother, daughter, sister, student, employee. These classes brought my curiosity, creativity and courage to the surface. Something I feel that I would not have met, had my lifestyle not been disrupted.
Currently, I continue to explore who I am by walking the path to discover my authentic self. I do this by attending workshops and seminars and looking at different viewpoints.
So, now my question is for you, "Who are you, and what made you passionate as a child or young adult?” Take this time, to discover you.
"Awakening is not changing who you are, but discarding who you are not."
- Deepak Chopra