“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.” Ellen De Generes
Are you who you want to be? If not, how do you need to change? Are you willing to make that change?
I recently finished reading “Ellie and the Harp Maker” by Hazel Prior. It is certainly one of my year’s favorites, a story about a woman who discovers who she really is when she learns to play a harp. The sound of the harp and the joy of playing it opens a part of herself that she had closed off to please her husband. He didn’t like the sound of the harp and thought her wanting a harp was foolish.
While learning to play the harp and keeping it secret from her husband created many problems, her choice eventually led her to a life that allowed her to love herself and be loved for who she truly was. It was truly an uplifting story and a joy to read.
Challenging the Norms
Growing up in the 1940’s and 1950’s, I often lived with the conflict between who society thought I should be as a woman and who I thought I was. In a way, hitting adulthood in the 1960’s did lighten the load and offer more possibilities on the surface. But the reality was that I was still expected to be a devoted wife and mother and put my interests in second place. My desire to be a modern dancer did not please anyone.
Those were the expectation’s Ellie’s husband had for her, so it was easy for me to relate to this story. But how many of us – men or woman – are not being who we truly are?
How do we find who we truly are? How do we feel about the work we do? Do we enjoy it or do it only because it’s the only way we can find to make money?
When we feel drawn to something like music, art, or running long distance races, or any pursuit that goes against our family or society’s concept of who we should be, it is a challenge. Often, we begin to do it as something “on the side.” With time, it may become more than a hobby.
When this activity or desire comes from deep within and nourishes us in more than an external way, it may very well be an expression of our soul. Our soul is our core. It is the deepest part of us and when we do not feed it, we are only a part of who we are.
While religious beliefs and activity may be at the core of our spiritual being, feeding the soul may also be experienced in many ways. I suspect the runner, at some point, feels totally in the moment, allowing all worries to drop away, and being at one with all that is.
As a dancer I certainly experienced the feeling of going beyond just the pleasure of physical activity. When I am writing, the room often drops away. Words and ideas flow through my hands into the computer. Many of them are not expressions I would have “thought of.”
A similar experience may also be experienced by mathematicians and scientists looking for a new solution to a problem or inventing a new device. A new idea appears that the logical mind may have missed.
Seeing the Soul Beneath the Surface
When we are being who we truly are, we still have challenges, but we solve them based on who we are, not on who others expect us to be. As we age, our challenges may make it impossible to continue a physical activity. There came a point where I had to stop dancing or undergo knee surgery. I realized that without the stress of dance, I could live normally with my knees and repair the problem with physical therapy. I had seen many other dancers go through the surgery, not once, but many times because it did not permanently solve the issue.
Fortunately, by this time, I had come to realize that I was not just a dancer. I was a creative, spiritual person. I could express who I was in many ways. I had already learned to be creative as a high school teacher and as a writer and found pleasure in helping others explore their creativity. Having the surgery was unnecessary. I was fine as I was.
Many years later, I now possess the energy and strength to ballroom dance, write, and walk through the forest. That’s all I need.
Like Ellie, when we become who we truly are, we will make “music” from the soul.
© 2020 Georganne Spruce