Finding ourselves or creating ourselves

When I started my journey, I thought I was going in search of myself.

I hiked in solitude hoping to run into God in the dense bush.  I sat in Zen meditation on a tiny wooden stool thinking that the answer would surface in a quiet mind.  I picked up a paint brush in the belief that somehow the universe would deliver a message in the art that flowed.  I danced to a beating drum in a room full of people trusting that the energy emanating from us would open my mind.  I sat in thermal waters under a winter’s sky in total silence listening for the truth of who I am.


Each time was a disappointment.  No heavenly voice spoke to me.  The higher guidance I had expected never arrived.

I chastised myself believing that I had not focused enough or that I was not worthy.

I met others who seemed to know their life path.  They possessed a sense of deep knowing and conviction.  All of their actions were focused on a narrow path of activity that they were dedicated to and tended to.

Me? I went to see a Polish psychic in New Zealand.  She had a rather brusque nature.  After examining my palm, she told me my ‘truth’ (not the person I expected to receive it from).  She said that I did not know what I wanted and would always be searching.  I felt cursed.  I tried to dismiss her but to this day her words echo in my head.

In Macau I was stopped by a gnarled old man on the street near a temple who gestured for me to walk toward him.  He grabbed my hand and traced the lines of my palm with his thin and bony finger.  An electrical current flowed out of his finger tip onto my skin tracing an invisible path.  Then he started speaking to me in Cantonese.  I had to keep shrugging my shoulders and indicate that I could not understand.  A woman standing nearby offered to translate.

This street soothsayer said I was a very strong woman, too strong.  Not good for men.  He said I would never be rich but money would flow to me and I would have what I needed.  Then he pressed his finger harder along my lifeline and stared into my eyes.  He looked at the volunteer translator and shook his head mumbling in Cantonese again.  For a few moments, I held my breathe as the two spoke thinking that I was about to hear the truth of me.  The translator, a woman in her 40s smiled benevolently and said to me, he is very concerned about your strength and you owe him five US dollars.

Then I ran into George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, polemic and political activist.  He is quoted as having said:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.  It’s about creating yourself.”

I should have read more in English Literature classes.  I could have saved myself a lot of years of angst.  Now I know a truth.

It is highly unlikely that God will speak to me as he did to Moses.  There is a good chance that while walking about in nature as I love to do, a bush will not implode and angels will not descend as a voice shakes the ground I stand on.  I have now officially given up on finding myself.  I have started creating myself.

Well, I have started thinking about creating myself.  My first thought is that it is likely to be a similar journey to finding myself.  I feel a sense of foreboding.  But I have decided I am going to give creation a go.

As I make this decision, Paul Sartre and existentialism comes to mind.  “Life,” Sartre wrote, “begins on the other side of despair.”  I think my life is just about to begin.




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