Becoming More
I had dinner with a friend this week and I said something that surprised me. She and I had a long history of friendship that we treasured. We had traveled together, we had shared countless dinners and stories, we had been privy to each other’s relationship, marriages and divorces. We had witnessed each other’s highs and lows. We had experimented with psychedelics and we had gone on cleansing fasts together. We had laughed with each other uproariously and we had sobbed in each other’s arms.
As I scanned our past experiences and remembered us together in so many different times and places, I knew exactly how she had looked. I knew how she had sounded. I knew her laugh and I knew how she cried. But I didn’t recognize myself. “I don’t who I am any more,” I heard myself saying to her. “I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the woman looking back at me.”
Of course I didn’t look the same physically but I wasn’t referring to aging. I wasn’t regretting anything or wishing things had been different. I wasn’t comparing my current self to my past self. I wasn’t focusing on wrinkles or skin tone or the shape of my face. I was talking about the person behind the eyes. The ageless one who looked at me directly with no disguises or masks. I had seen a lot in my life so far, I had witnessed pain and sorrow, I had celebrated joy and success, and these experiences had changed me. As much as I remained familiar with the child inside, I was unfamiliar with whom I had become.
These days, it feels like I have to meet myself again every day. I have to see how the current “me” feels and what she wants. I remember an Eastern guru who said that each morning when we wake up, we are not necessarily the same person who went to sleep the night before. I wondered, what does this person like? What are her pastimes? Who does she consider her nearest and dearest? While some of my friends have become closer and more aligned with me as time passes, others seem like they keep moving further away. I’m not talking about rifts or problems I’ve had with them. It’s just the day to day experiences that have invited some people to come closer and others to step back into the distance.
As I meet myself again, I don’t think that I’ve become less. While there are things I don’t want to do any more and places I don’t want to go, I don’t see these changes as setbacks. Rather, I choose to see myself as becoming more. More compassionate. More patient. More careful to nurture myself. More mindful of how I treat other people and myself. More careful not to judge or make hasty decisions.
If we become more of who we are every day, more authentic and more loving, imagine how beautiful, caring and integrated we’ll be when we leave this reality for the next. In a sense, we are always pregnant with our future selves, the one we give birth to every single day.