Once upon a time in my life, encouraged by commercials, co-workers and other people I had decided that I would become a person who works out at a gym on regular basis. I therefore hired a personal trainer who guided me into different fitness exercises at the gym. I did this every tuesday for half a year and every wednesday for that same period of time, like clockwork, I had a migraine-like headache.
Encouraged by again: other people, I had also at some point in my life decided that I (the girl from the flattest country in the world) would become a person who enjoys skiing downhill. I therefore drove up to the north of Sweden for a skiing holiday with my husband and our two children, then under the age of four. I spent the whole week freezing like crazy and finding the whole skiing-experience (huge understatement:) not so enjoyable at all.
Aristotle apparently said (at least according to my refrigerator magnet):
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
Such a great statement! When I think of it, I have occupied myself quite a bit with becoming instead of being. Why was I so desperately trying to become a person that I quite simply just am not? It took some slowing down in my life to get closer to the answer. For me, it has proven to be not only wonderful but also a necessity to slow down enough in life to allow myself to be who I am.
Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy:
If we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert? Or sit and watch the stars? (…) For each of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life.
I wonder: how else can we live our own personal truth if we are constantly trying to become someone else than who we are? As I tell my children, I really believe that all of us are unique and perfect just the way we are. And if we are brave enough to be our authentic selves, I believe that we can be of great inspiration and help to each other.
Since my half year with the personal trainer I have not set foot in a gym again. It’s just an environment where I don’t feel comfortable and I have fully embraced that about myself by now. Instead to (as Oprah Winfrey calls it) honour my body, I enjoy walking in nature and dancing like no one’s watching. I don’t think you will ever see me skiing downhill again either because I prefer my surroundings warm and my surfaces flat. Or as I heard someone say: I don’t wear anything else on my feet except for shoes.
Meditating, practising awareness and listening to my body’s signals have proven to be excellent tools to remind myself of who I am and just be with that. In the end, it really is a very simple thing once you get the knack of it; being with who you are. It’s just a matter of slowing down, remembering to breathe and just be….
Photo: Tim Goedhart – unsplash.com