There are times during a session when I ask a client to tell me who they are. I preface this by saying, “I don’t want to know whose mother, wife, or daughter you are, what you do for a living, what group(s) you identify with, where you live, what you collect, or what you drive. When you take away all of those trimmings, who are you?”
This question usually causes a long, thought-filled, inward examination. It’s a question that’s important for each of us to be able to answer for ourselves.
I remember Olivia (not her real name) who thought quietly about this question for the longest time. Eventually, tears slowly began to roll down her cheeks, but she was smiling. When she finally answered she said, “I am enough.” That was the most powerful, profound answer I’d ever received. This is the place that we all need to be—I am enough!
An equally important question is why are you here? Not your geographic location, but your life purpose. Knowing why we’re here provides us with the most concrete and basic thing we can know about ourselves—that there’s an individual reason for each of us being here.
Many people believe that we “find” our purpose. Not me. I believe that we determine our purpose. There’s a big, whompin’ difference.
Who am I? you ask me.
I’m an extension of Source Energy; an expression of Divine Love.
What’s the purpose that I’ve determined? you’d like to know.
I determined that my purpose is to be a mindful agent of heart-based change—body, mind, and spirit.
What about you—Who are you? Why are you here?
“All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.”
— Lily Tomlin, American actress, comedian, writer, and producer
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
– Laurie Buchanan
© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.
Laurie. This post spoke to my head and my heart! Your words are lyrical, comforting, refreshing and authentic. Everyone should ask themselves these questions. I ask my clients what their “praiseworthy gifts” are? It’s sad and odd that we do not ask people what is remarkable about themselves. You have done that with grace and insight. Thank you! Would you be a guest blogger? I’d like you to post this on my blog and share your words and work with my readers. Most gratefully, Sheila 🙂
Sheila – I’d be delighted to be a guest blogger, thank you for asking. I’ll send the verbiage and the photograph to your regular email address.
It is interesting at least in my business, healthcare, that when emplyoyees are given an evaluation, myself included, there is a focus not on the positive aspects of the evaluation instead the negatives are taken to heart more seriouslly. It it that we tend to dwell on those negatives and try to fix them or othrs tend to dwell on them too much?….Could it somehow be a little bit of both?
Laurie you have asked me these questions a couple times and – think I am still trying to understand how – would really heartfully answer them.You may have even recorded what – originally said!…I would say right now….I am wonderfully made and I am enough…being myself is the only thing I can do, no matter what others may say or do.
Yes – agree too—-Grace and insight are found here many times and I give thanks…..
Kim – Your response is beautiful: “I am wonderfully made and I am enough…being myself is the only thing I can do, no matter what others may say or do.”
I have this piece of personal work from 2003 – years before I moved to Mayne Island. It is framed and kept close to my daily work space. Your questions Laurie are very close to the ones I answered….
I am purity/innocence holding a possibility of truth for humanity in each moment.
I am purity/innocence, reflecting clarity in the present.
I am purity/innocence, living in hills and valley’s feeling the sun on my back with the changing light nurturing my soul.
I am purity/innocence, embracing the world and those in it.
I am walking in the sunshine of my soul.
In this life, I am a woman living a life of simple abundance.
Now you know who I am and why I am here.
Thank you as always Laurie!
Terrill – I’m so glad that you shared this here, it’s simply beautiful.
I so completely resonate with your post Laurie. What it triggered for me is: I Am and it is ok for me to BE. Thank you.
Alison – Welcome to Speaking from the Heart. I love your answer: “I Am and it is ok for me to BE.” Wonderful!
I am the persona of compassion dressed as a person and I am here to listen,care and comfort.I was not born this way but by travel reached here.
Roamer – I love your insight. Thank you for sharing it with us here.
We align so well on this post.
For me, your question “When you take away all of those trimmings, who are you?”, only sort of makes sense.
There is a certain surface level in which most of us tend to identify with various aspects of our cultural or physical history – as you say, the groups, the occupation, the place of birth or residence; and there is also a much deeper level to these things.
For me, the “who am I” question has occupied thousands of hours of thought and contemplation.
It seems to me that at one level, I am a biological entity. I am one particular expression of some 4 billion years of evolution by natural selection operating at many different levels.
At another level, the cultural beginnings and much of the content of my mind has had a similar evolutionary history that is essentially somewhat shorter, yet not much less complex, in that it has mostly happened over the last few hundred thousand years, and probably over 80% of it in the last couple of hundred years.
Then there is the extra level, of the connections ( the intuitions and abstractions) that my own mind has made within itself.
Then there is the connectedness to all things, that is powered by the “holographic” nature of the unconscious mind that allows for me to have the conscious experience that I am. In holographs, all bits are related to all other bits in a very powerful way.
So there is a very real sense in which if you take away all of that, then there is nothing left. And at the same time, by having all of that present, something else is present also.
Then there is the notion of choice, of exploration of the infinite potentiality that seems to be available within the uncertainties at the margins of the rules that govern this “reality” in which we find ourselves.
So there is a sense in which I agree, at this latter highest level, that yes we have available to us pure choice, pure possibility; and there is also a sense in which the degree to which each of us is able to access that pure potentiality in any given moment has a large component of culture, history and habits involved.
And yes – I am totally aligned, that purpose is a choice, something which only makes any sense, and only has any security within it, if it is something that we each own as our own.
Why am I here ? What is my chosen purpose?
So many possible and related answers to those questions.
To create both security and adventure.
To extend human life indefinitely.
To create systems that enable us to enjoy freedom, technological expansion, prosperity and individual growth while maintaining and enhancing abundance and biological diversity.
To accept the possibility of death in any moment, and embrace the possibilities that are life in the moment.
To explore the range of human experience possible, while at the same time limiting the damage that the consequences of my choices impose on others.
To have fun, to follow my bliss, to make a difference for others. …….
Ted – I very, very, very much respect your purpose – and if ANYbody can make it happen, it’s YOU!
Thank you, Laurie, for these thought-provoking questions. On my website’s homepage I have a photo of myself and under it are two sentences. They are: I reside in ideas. I craft with dreams.
Why I’m here is fluid, ever changing, washing forth with the tide. Currently, the purpose of my writing existence is to give voice to the other–person, place, idea. My grandpa taught me that there is more than one than one side to every coin. I relish this lesson and seek to explore it.
Leanne – “I reside in ideas. I craft with dreams.” Ohhhhhhhh, I love it! Your grandpa sounds like he was a man of wisdom – I love the truth he shared with you.
As you already know, Laurie, I am an eternal presence. I have always been and always will be. My purpose is to bring my presence to life in a way that feeds my soul and my spirit, and then to share the wealth.
Amen to your comments here Barbara!!
Barbara – Namaste’ – my eternal presence bows to yours. Happy holidays to YOU and YOURS.
I am a soul who has been given a personality to raise, much as a gardener tends her plot. Ground is carefully prepared, seeds are sown and cared for. New things are put in, old things are removed. Those that prove to be lovely and useful are carefully tended that they might assume full growth and fruition. Those that are unsightly and unhealthy must be weeded out and replaced with a more beneficial addition. Quite often I am stung by nettles that have sprung up from not paying close enough attention. Best to pull the weeds while they are small, the bigger they get, the tougher they are. I learn, I grow, I cultivate, I harvest the the goodness that I have sown. The Fruits of my labor are delightful to behold and feed my Soul. …..and that’s all before lunchtime.
Sandi – I am blessed to have three gardeners in my life: you, Beth, and Cindy. Your wonderful response rings true, True, TRUE for each of you.
Laurie, when a gardener is in the midst of it all, how can they but help to realize the goodness of Life?
I love the ‘life’s purpose’ angle Laurie! Of course a confident answer would help many of us answer a riddle of life, and to approach things confidently and definitively.
Let’s find out what Emily Dickinson opines:
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
by Emily Dickinson
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
Sam – I love what you’ve shared with us here from Emily Dickinson. It’s simply perfect, thank you!
Sandi White I love your answer! I am a gardener and resonate with your reply so much!!! I unforunately get stung all the time by the stinging nettles in my life and sometimes literally in my garden.
Who am I: I am creative. Ideas fill my head and want to explode out in fulfillment.
Why am I here: I’m here to learn, do, and experience. I’ve been told a lot lately by friends that they see me as a “doer”. I have a friend that calls me Bethie Spongepants because I love to absorb information. I’m here to see all the amazing things in the world from the Great Pyramids of Egypt, a tiny frog on a giant flower in my garden, watch my sister dance with me to some fun blue grass music, invent a new recipe to use up what’s in my refridgerator, or think up some crazy new thing for the next theme party. Cause that’s the way I roll baby!
My life for the past few years has been nearly unbearable so much so that I didn’t know if I wanted to stick around. But now I look forward the my future with glee. It will not be easy but I have intentions of living through a lot of new experiences. Be they small tidbits or GIANT amazing things that I can later say to myself- TA DAAAA I did that!!! Remember that Beth! Because in the end, it’s just me, myself and I living my true life…
Thanks Laurie, we all have enjoyed the alphabet of information that you have shared and let us share through. I look forward to Z!
Beth – I’m thrilled with what you’ve shared here. You’re one of the best “Weebles” I know (you remember the little people that wobble, but they don’t fall down). You’re my hero!
Beth, You rock on, Lady!
I love that answer “I am enough.” Your answer so fits you, too, Laurie! I am thinking, deeply: what is my answer? Is there a new answer since Monday’s surgery? When I look deeply~~I don’t see anything. I see a river which flows through life. I am that river, flowing ’round the bend, flowing sideways, spraying, pouring down a cliff, always changing, except where I’m stagnant over here by the rocks, lol. I see me labeling that river a lot and calling it “me” but it’s a divine joke because what is a river but everything? From the river of me to the river of you, Merry Christmas!
Kathy – “What is the river, but everything?” From one river to another, you are one wise woman! and I’m so glad to be in your sphere of influence.
I’m back and just in time for this awesome subject. Who am I and what am I here for?? Hhhmm, the truth is that it is changing moment to moment and I love that I do not know. Especially because it appears that even though we believe we are here for a certain reason and even believe that we determine that reason, at the end of the day (or life), various miracles that happen along the way, allow us to see the bigger picture of why we are really here. Usually it is things that we could never even dream or conceive of happening. That is why I have stopped trying to figure those two questions out. For me, for now, I prefer to be the wind and be the tide and go where I am moved. It is always the right place, much easier and feels good.
Lisa – Welcome back! “I prefer to be the wind and be the tide and go where I am moved.”
Being on the receiving end of you, I can say with certainty that you are, indeed, always in the exact right place — doing, being, saying exactly what’s needed. I receive you as a channel of grace (the immediate presence of Divine Love).
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