June 11, 2009
Reinventing Yourself? It’s Time to Come Out of the Closet.
Reinvention – it’s one of the words of the hour, along with Change, Obama, Stimulus Package, Economic Crisis, and Bankruptcy. Yep! Whether it is personally or professionally, most of us are finding that we’re being required to reinvent ourselves in some significant way. (If that is not the case for you, be prepared. Chances are it’s coming.) Seems logical though. With so much change happening, we have to adapt. And that’s to be expected. Life is not one seamless, unchanging flow. The hiccups, the bumps in the road, the obstacles – it’s all part of the deal. We can accept that. Right? We can adjust, and adapt, and make our necessary changes. Sure!
Problem is, what we’re facing seems to be more change than would normally be anticipated. It’s seems broader and deeper – more fundamental and more far-reaching. Many of us are familiar now, with the talk of a Great Shift, the End of Times, 2012, and so on. In the past couple of years, that conversation has moved from the domain of the lunatic fringe, right into the mainstream. Whether we are willing to believe in that or not, it’s hard to refute the notion that something “big” is afoot. Even the densest of us would have to agree that life is changing rapidly, and that the economic crisis is only a small part of the whole picture. So with change happening by the day, how are we to respond? How can we possibly reinvent ourselves when, in many cases, we have almost no clue as to what tomorrow will bring?
There is this Hasidic story, I love, that I think is very helpful:
Zusya was this great and pious rabbi who was highly esteemed by his many followers. One day they found him very upset and fearful. “What is the matter, Rabbi?”
Zusya turned to them and said, “I had a dream that I had died and gone to heaven. And there the angels asked me about how I had lived my life.”
“But Rabbi, you are so scholarly, and humble, and kind. What could they possibly say to you?”
“In my dream,” he answered, “they did not ask, ‘Why were you not Moses? Nor, why were you not Joshua?” Zusya trembled. “They asked me, ‘Why were you not Zusya?”
The clearly learned and highly revered rabbi had finally awoken to the realization that no amount of great accomplishment would supersede the primary obligation of his life – to be true to himself. Could it be that this amazing teacher had not been living the life that he was meant to live? Sure sounds that way. It seems even the great rabbis found themselves keeping up with the Moseses and the Joshuas, and losing touch with their own souls.
Today, we are under enormous pressure to reinvent ourselves. But who should we become? It is very likely that we’ve already tried being the perfect daughter, perfect spouse, perfect father. That didn’t work very well. Did it? And perhaps we’ve learned that living up to the expectations of others is not the way to chart the course of our lives. I would posit that we need to become our true selves. The change keeps changing, but what is lasting is the potential that we are. Like Zusya, fulfilling our inner potential is the mandate of our lives. And in times like these, when the s—- keeps hitting the fan, over and over again, we need to look within to what is unchanging.
So how should you reinvent yourself? Reinvent around your soul.
“Impossible! Never going to happen! I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
I’ll tell you how.
Inside of you is an energy that is waiting to emerge. It is the energy of your soul. It is the source of your creativity, your insights, your talents, your unique gifts. And it is waiting for you to allow it some place in your life. For this energy of your soul to work for you, it needs to be placed at the very center of your life, not shoved somewhere in the background. Once given its proper place, your soul will bring you a life that is truly fulfilling – the one that you were meant to live.
Of course, the challenge we face in letting our souls out, is that we have so many beliefs that tell us to do the very opposite. Our true self - what we really feel, what we really want, who we really are – is often the one part of us that we have buried deep inside ourselves, for fear that we would rock the boat, disappoint others, or break the “rules.” So this is going to be a coming out of the closet of sorts. Depending on how much we’ve been hiding, it will probably take a good deal of courage and inner strength to reveal our true selves.
Too scary, you say?
Then, start by simply coming out to yourself. Be honest with yourself about what you really feel, about what you really want from life, and about what is really working and what is not working. You don’t have to come out to the whole world, just to yourself is a great start. Once you’re being true to yourself you can start to take small steps in the right direction. The more true you are to yourself, the more you get to know your own soul, the stronger you will become. You will find that the “false” beliefs you were carrying around, that were limiting your life, start dropping away. You will begin to find the courage to share your true self with others. And you would be well on your way to being the person you need to be to withstand the current chaos and even thrive in these turbulent times.
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