As we begin to unravel the mystery of who we truly are, we may find the things that bring us the most joy, or are a soothing balm to our souls, may not be what we expected, and almost certainly not what we wish they were.
There are a number of ways to discover these hidden gems.
Some people experiment with a wide range of new activities, leaving their comfort zone in search of something that clicks.
Some people reflect on the activities they loved as a child. In fact, that’s a pretty good starting point.
You may ponder the question, what do I do for fun, when no one is looking? Or, what would I do if money were no object?
Often what we wish we loved, we simply don’t.
I for one am enamored with the idea of being an ultramarathon runner. I love the idea of camping outside year round with no belongings. I want to hike the Appalachian Trail, take up boxing, be a yogini, do cross fit 5 days a week, play harp, piano and drums and speak multiple languages.
But here’s the thing, I hate running. I’ve tried and we do not make happy companions. I also do not do well in group exercise classes. I’m not competitive or violent, and I no longer travel to foreign lands. And, need I mention I have 3 children?
My truth, my spiritual balm, my peace comes from much more mundane activities. I love to walk through nature with no goal in sight and sit by rivers and in random patches of sunlight.
I love to take pictures of nature and am finding I’m pretty good at painting them, as well. In 30 years I’ve never lost interest in words. I love to read, journal, blog, write stories, pay scrabble, and day dream.
My celebration of music does not involve hours spent practicing an instrument. It does, however, express itself in song throughout every day, dancing at home, in grocery stores and in the car (much to the embarrassment of my children) and in listening to classic rock on vinyl.
As far as yoga and exercise go, I bought an aerial yoga trapeze for the house. It’s cheaper than classes, there’s no one to impress or compete with, my kids can use it, and when I was of playground age, hanging upside down and flipping around on the monkey bars was my favorite activity.
When we accept our limitations and embrace what we truly love, we not only come to know ourself better, but we begin to nurture ourself and fill our lives with meaningful, honest work. We begin to walk in joy.
Self, let me mother you.
Let me take time to read the pages of this riveting book.
Let me visit this blog where I find hope and understanding.
Let me cry—I don’t have to be strong all the time.
Let me encourage myself: Who I am becoming matters more than who I once was. Today matters more than yesterday.
-Rachel Macy Stafford