The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates
I think I was about 13 years old when I first read the above quote.
It stuck with me and sent me on an exploration of myself of which I have never tired. I want to understand what motivates me to do the things I do, be the way I am so that I can live passionately and fearlessly in the now without the past driving me away from living aligned with my true self.
I remember a time in my 20s when I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. My family definitely thought so and I remember thinking, well if they don’t like me then I must be the one who is out of sync. I must need to do a lot more work.
Decades later, I realize that it isn’t that there was something ‘wrong’ with me. Yes, I had issues. I was also willing to work on them because for me, my quest to ‘know me’ and to do better than what my limiting beliefs were telling me was all I was capable of doing or being in the world was really important. It also, at times, caused others to fear they too would have to get to know themselves and let go of their limiting beliefs. And that can be scary.
Several years ago, while teaching a course at the shelter where I used to work, on letting go of limiting beliefs to live bravely, one of the students commented that he didn’t understand why his friends kept trying to get him to drink. “I’ve been sober for 3 months,” he told the class. “I want to be someone my son’s can be proud of and still, my friends keep trying to pull me back, to get me to go party with them, even when I tell them I don’t want to. Why is that?”
I asked him if when he was drinking he thought it was possible, and he said no. He’d believed it was impossible. And then, after a particularly challenging binge of drugs and drinking, he found himself in Detox and ended up in Rehab.
It was an accident it happened, he said.
Accident or not, you chose sobriety and proved it is possible, I replied.
We talked about his desire to be a role model for his people, his family and the son’s he’d left on a Reserve years ago when alcohol drove him away. We talked about what it meant for him to be proud of himself, and to know that not drinking was the first step back towards the life he longed for. And how for those who saw him changing, the fear of losing an excuse to not change themselves, rose up.
In his sobriety, those around him saw that change was possible. To accept that meant they could no longer say, “It can’t happen for me. I’m a lost cause.” He had proven it could happen.
And that is scary when we are not the one’s making the change.
It is scary to dive into the pool of unknown within us.
And still, we all have the invitation, and the possibility, to dive deep and learn about our own selves so that we can grow into our best lives yet.
Thank you Socrates for inspiring me years ago to keep examining my life, and my role in it and my power to be the light I want to shine on the world to create peace, love and harmony.
I am blessed on this journey.