I wonder who you are?!

19 Jan

I wonder who you are?!

‘I am an artist.’ ‘I’m a dentist.’ ‘I’m a grad student.’ ‘I’m a raging lunatic.’

Standard answers that indicate our affiliations: (‘I’m a Spartans fan’, I’m a Christian, I’m a Democrat ) our jobs (‘I’m a mother’, ‘I’m a dentist’) or other identities we hold dear. So dear they’ve become us; define us. (I’m an American, I’m French) We add qualities: ‘Yes, but- I’m also a creative, an intellectual, a foodie, a student.’ We go to great lengths to separate ourselves from each other, to become distinct, with a cluster of talents, preferences, titles, accessories and addresses that cost us most of our time, energy and money. The price of our individuality. Our identity, names, bank accounts. diplomas and fancy cars are important. They are just not all – important.

Underneath this artisanal, hand-crafted persona lies a vast and relatively under- explored commonality that has no name, no preference, no identity other than it is, and somehow; we are part of that. We are a plurality – a enormous wave/web of conscious humanity inhabiting this world together, at this exact moment.  Despite all our careful differences, we have the exact same journey. One day we are here – and one day, we will take our exit.

How much more helpful, healing and unifying would it be if we allowed ourselves to also have the big conversations – the explorations that most often start with ‘I wonder’ and end with “I don’t know.” Telling the stories of  life and death – allowing for everything that happens in between – is a most human behavior, having served our species well for millions of years. These conversations quickly place us on the same level;  in the same boat, part of something much larger than just one of us and our 70 -odd years of life. We have learned to have our conversations not from a place of awe and wonder, but in the hopes that the answers will further define us. Further us as individuals. We swap quality for quantity; curiosity with certainty. We no longer know ourselves; yet we try to define each other.

To define: 1) state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of. 2) mark out the boundary or limits of.

To know: 1) have developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them; be familiar or friendly with. 2) be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information.

‘Know Thyself’ was the notice to visitors placed in the forecourt of the Temple at The Oracle at Delphi. A beautifully open ended exploration of possibility. Who are we? I don’t know. I have this lifetime. I can mark out my boundaries – or be familiar and friendly with myself? I know I’m nit-picking a little here – it’s not so black and white as this. I am re-thinking my need to define myself and wondering what a less defined me would look like.

At the end of my time, will my cultural, historical, political, racial, gender, social, psychological, intellectual bias be what I identify with? Maybe. I hope not. It seems so small, arbitrary and  petty. I want to grow beyond my silly labels and identifications. I’m kind of done with being an lone individual. I’d like to be in the collective – identifying more with my fellow travelers, communing deeply, having those conversations that end up with wonder rather than answers. I’d like to quit figuring out who I am and just know that I am and get on with it. I’d like to live impeccably- knowing that if today is my day to go, well, I’m ready, no regrets. I want to love my life, my breath, my being here now. I’d like to continue to find our difference interesting and breath taking rather than grounds for judgment and separation. I want to be more  honest, and talk about common experiences,  fears,  disappointments,  joys, the feelings and confusions that actually make up a life. I really don’t care about the degree on your wall, or what you read last week, the color of your skin, or which sushi you like best.

All I really care about is how all those things combine into the beautiful being I see before me. I would like to know you; to wonder about you. For now, that’s enough.

 

 

 

One Response to “I wonder who you are?!”

  1. Cheryl Voss January 19, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    You are a gift Janet. Thank you for putting your thoughts together and sharing with me/us. Many questions may never be answered. Your message touched me. XO

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