Being Yourself Ain’t Easy

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Painting by me.

A great sense of security develops from this process of individuation. One begins to understand that it isn’t necessary to struggle to be like someone else, for by being one’s own self one stands on the surest ground. We realize that to know ourselves completely and to develop all the strengths that are built into us is a lifetime task. We don’t need to make an imitation of someone else’s life. There is no further need for pretensions, for what is already ours is riches enough, and far more than we ever expected. — Robert A Johnson

My story isn’t sweet and harmonious, like invented stories. It tastes of folly and bewilderment, madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves. — Hermann Hesse

Soul is the glue of the world and the connecting agent of existence. When we lose our way in this world it is the soul’s way of being in touch with the pulse of life that has been lost. For we are most lost and truly abandoned when we have lost touch with our own soul, with our own inward style and way of being in the world. By its nature soul is the mutable, multiple, changeable aspect of both the world and individual life. — Michael Meade

My parents had six children, two of whom are already gone to their great reward, as are our long suffering parents. There are four of us left, one, the youngest, in hiding, cut off from the world. I can speak to the remaining two but they don’t speak to each other. A close knit family it is not.

An under-the-cover network of conflicts held sway as we were growing up. Everybody in the clan was trying to survive as themselves against formidable odds. Family and society at large sat on our burgeoning energies like a giant toad. Fortunately or unfortunately, our parents were so distracted that nobody got so supressed that a breakout was impossible.

The task of finding and being true to our individual natures was difficult but not impossible. The built-in hindrance was in the nature of unexamined and unconsciously accepted ideals and cultural constructs. Shedding all that is a formidable task for anyone.

Mental habits like disrespect, unkindness and an inherited rage complicated the picture. Money complicated it further still. I look back with compassion at these writhing humans, caught in a trap that was invisible to them. I forgive us all for our sins of commission and omission. I hope we’ll do better next time.

In spite of all the travail and smallness of spirit, that’s not the whole story. Beauty was created. Kindness and care was extended. Humans are not black or white only. They don’t know what they don’t know. Being human is complex. Forgiveness is essential in this game of life. None of us is perfect.

I’m sorry about my lost brother. I’m sorry certain siblings refuse to speak to other siblings. I’m sorry bitterness, jealousy and recriminations entered the picture. I wonder if it might have been different had money not been part of the mix. Maybe it was just too much pressure in a group of humans deprived of self esteem.

Those personal issues have to be resolved before you can be that person you were meant to be, I think. So many people come into life and get tangled in a train wreck of confusion and lack of love. They toil on a path not their own, uncertain who or what they are good for. It’s a common circumstance.

Inner richness is there if we can find it. Kindness and love are essential in this search, though. It’s not a technical issue that can be resolved through tests and academic assessments. Kind attention to a child can have outsized effects on that child’s life. The power of love is underestimated in our world. In fact, it is the one thing that can change the world.

Understanding those issues is crucial for all of us, regardless what the world says now. Our task is to see ourselves clearly and to grow into kind visionaries. The soul of the world will welcome us.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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