34. To Be Who You Are

The summer I was ten years old was an awakening of child-size revelations.  That was when I first started to look at the world around me, and to notice things beyond the end of my own nose.

The warm lazy days flowed along like an easy river and carried me with them, and there was plenty of time. Sometimes when I was by myself I climbed up in the little pear tree, and I wondered about things, like life and God. I’d be wondering what God was, but then I’d notice a perfect green pear I could pick, so I did, and I ate the pear and it was warm from the sun and crunchy and sour and sweet at the same time, and the juice ran down my chin and I forgot all about God. I just knew that he was around and always watching out for me like Granny did, and keeping me safe. Even if I woke up in the middle of the night in the dark, he would be there and I could go back to sleep.

Summer evenings when I went to bed it wasn’t quite dark yet. I looked out my window at the lilac-tinted sky above the roofs, and I understood that God was a Presence, so big that it filled the whole infinite twilight sky, and yet it still had time to notice me falling asleep. God was something strong, that saw me and knew me and loved me and thought I was okay.

I always tried to be good, and that meant sometimes having to do what I didn’t want to, or act like somebody different than I really was. And I came to wish with all my young heart that I could be the same person on the outside as I was on the inside, just be me, the way God saw me, and that be okay with everybody. But I didn’t dare.

I never imagined that 50 years later I would still be trying to do that. The simplest truth at bottom of all truths is that we all want to be who we really are. But as children and as adults, it’s hard to discover what that is, because most of our world demands us to be everything else but that. And we’ve each been taught a system of  well-intentioned lies, (each of us a slightly different set, like You’re not good enough unless… You don’t deserve that… You can’t do that because… You shouldn’t want that because…) and these rules were meant to protect us from the problems and suffering our parents or guardians had experienced in their lives.

But their lives are not our lives. Without realizing it, we grew up and limited our own lives, for years or even for a lifetime, by unknowingly believing and embodying those rules, some of which were never true in the first place.

What was true for them may not be true for us, and so the mind/soul work for each of us must be the unlearning of our untruths and the relearning of what is true for us now, and actually, always was. When we know the truth, it really can make us free. If we don’t unlearn and relearn, we don’t grow into what we are meant to be, we hide our light, and we cannot live an authentic life, which is the one thing every living soul sincerely longs for.

No matter what anybody else told you then, or tells you now, you do have the right to be who you honestly are, and that real-you is actually much more wonderful than you know.

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