Who am I? Who am I really?
Hello. I’m Lisa…begins the conversation. Introductions about who I’m with, why I’m here, what I do. These are pretty standard conversation starters. But now…
I’ve just retired from my teaching career. It held and supported my idea of “self” for the past 30 years. It has defined who I am. “Teacher” was a comfortable cloak that provided a sort of “shorthand code” about me and the kind of person I am. What is a teacher? A teacher is a humble, patient, empathetic, enthusiastic, lifelong learner! (Does anyone see a seed for a Lifetime Original made-for-tv movie here?)
You see, my career wasn’t me. It was just my job. It was a tool for me to use my talents and skills to earn money, to serve others, and feel fulfilled. But it was also a label.
Now, while I was a teacher, I got divorced, remarried, and adopted three kids. In my free time, I battled weeds as a gardener. I regularly wrote in my journals and ran a marathon. I took yoga classes and even worked to get my yoga teaching certification. I’m a Gardener, a Writer, a Runner, a Yogi (more labels).
Are these labels ME? I think not.
You see, as I move out of my role as teacher, I don’t feel smaller, lost, depressed, or sad that that time is over. Instead, I feel expansive, full, and expectant.
I believe that “me” is inside. Perhaps it is a soul or energy that is for a time being carried around by this body called “Lisa”. I am not my thoughts either because with my thoughts I can talk to “me”. I am a force with a purpose.
Many people are confused about WHO they really are. And others wonder WHAT they are on this earth to DO…
Here are the three simple routines that I use to begin to remedy this uncertainty…
I walk every day. It is always the first thing I do in the morning. Right after getting out of bed, Islip on my walking pants/and shirt. Quickly, I grab a quick sip of water and leave the bathroom. I always wear a neon yellow vest and attach Stella’s leash to a belt around my waist. Then I walk. No music.
Just like when I go to sleep at night, the first few breaths are long and full. Sometimes I’ll stretch and twist from side-to-side, or jog, but the purpose of this time is to connect back to me. Grass, trees, and clouds. I notice the wind and the temperature.Scents waft from a nearby dairy farm. Cars hum in the distance.
This is not my worry time. It’s not even a time of prayer. It is the connection of me with my body.
The street sewer in my old neighborhood would often get blocked and clogged by leaves in the fall. When a good storm would flood the road since the water had nowhere to go. City crews would eventually come and remove the debris which resulted in the water quickly draining away. In the same way, morning pages (3 pages, stream of consciousness in a 6×8 inch notebook moves the crap out of my brain and leaves me feeling…fresh.
Sometimes I write letters to people. Sometimes I pur out my worries or frustrations. I occasionally, but rarely, recopy these writing into an email or card. Writing mostly to get my ideas, lists, or notes out so I don’t get bogged down. It seems to free up some bandwidth in my brain and make space for “me”.
Just sit. I love to use the InsightTimer app. I’ve heard people say that the best time to meditate is first thing in the morning. But hands down, more sleep always wins over getting up early to meditate (do nothing).
Late morning or e is prime time for me to meditate. I have energy to sit and not want to nap. I’ve never meditated for more than a half hour. 10-15 minutes is my usual. Sit. Breathe. When the time goes off…the janglies are gone. I can hear myself think again.
3 1/2. Nap
If I can’t meditate (I’m just too tired) then I take a cat nap. But I still set. a. timer! As long as its not longer than 20 minutes, I’m good. I LOVE naps! This one recharges me much like meditating. I’m not sure that you can actually meditate if you’re not regularly sleeping eight hours a night. Once again, this activity serves to clear out the cobwebs and get rid of the janglies. I know that I can’t have that feeling of connection with my SELF when I’ve got the crazies.
My goal is always to do all three EVERY day. But. Be. Real. That’s not gonna happen. So then, you do what you can.
Who am I? Who am I really? Where am I going? What should I be doing? are questions that need to be asked and answered many times throughout my life.
Who are YOU? Who are you…really?