Who are you? No, who are you really? This is the quintessential quandary of the human experience and one we spend a lifetime trying to answer.
I used to think I knew who I was: strong, powerful, confident, craving attention, wanting to be seen, wanting to be famous, wanting to possess material wealth, accomplished, energetic, filled with the desire to take on the world so as to make it a better place, cultured, cosmopolitan, well-educated, articulate, independent, self-sufficient and able to do it all myself.
Then life happened. Life has a funny way of doing that – stepping in to tear down the illusions of who we think we are so as to reveal who we really are. When life happened, I learned that some of the above is true – some of the time. I also learned a whole lot more about myself than I ever could have imagined would be true.
What I learned about myself is that I am courageous while at the same time mostly being scared shitless! As one teacher observed about me, “Lauri, I don’t know how you survive in the world except by force of will.” She was not kidding. I’m scared all the time, but somehow I get my ass out of bed, face the day and try to move through any demons that might be trying to stand in my way. This must be one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit Paul forgot.
I’ve also learned that unlike the Lauri of my youth, I no longer crave attention. I don’t want to be famous, rich, or successful by Western standards. I’m not looking to convince anyone of anything and I care not for other people’s approval (most of the time…..but when someone who doesn’t even know me condemns my gifts, criticizes my work or questions my integrity, my heart is broken – not because I give a shit about what the other person thinks, but because I know their words are untrue.)
Which brings me to this – VULNERABILITY! I’m vulnerable! Who knew? Before “life happened” I thought I was bulletproof. I believed I was a strong, impenetrable fortress. Well, I was, but that fortress was built out of anger and resentment – both masking a broken heart. Then life happened and the fortress came crashing down, and there I stood, alone, vulnerable, naked and afraid. Sigh! I’ve had to come to know, understand and accept my vulnerability. I have also learned all the ways in which my vulnerability has taught me about myself.
My vulnerability taught me this:
I’m an introvert and I need quiet, solitude and time away from the world to recharge. And the older I get (or maybe the more I come to know myself), the more quiet I need.
I am sensitive. Sensitive to the energy of other people and to the world. Where I used to feel energized by chaos, now I HATE IT! I find chaos overstimulating, overwhelming, soul-sucking and in the face of it today, I want to shut down. I have spent the vast majority of the past 25 years unraveling from a life built on chaos. NO MORE! I have worked really hard to create a quiet, gentle and peaceful life. You can have your chaos, but please keep it to yourself! (PS Same with drama!)
I am fragile and there are parts of me that are (likely) damaged beyond repair. Medication helps but there are somethings I can simply no longer do for myself. I’m also not sure I could ever return to “a real job” because of the sensitivities I am now coming to embrace.
I want only to move gently and quietly upon this earth.
I want to create and be creative. My creations (including my books, classes, one-on-one mentoring, creating a home that is a sanctuary, cooking healthy and nurturing meals, spending time with those I love) are my way of sharing and showing my love.
I want to simply be. To meditate and pray. To send healing to the world. To hold those I love in prayer. To make every moment a prayer. This is how I commune with the God of my understanding and the way I share that love in the world.
I want to enjoy – books, movies, theatre, dance, art, and music that inspire.
While I love the arts and all that big city life provides (I have often thought of myself as a city girl), I find now I crave the slow, quiet, gentle flow of the country – specifically where there are woods and water. (Lumby literally means, “man/woman of the woods”).
My vulnerability has also taught me the value of deep and true friendships. Having moved around a lot as a child, I never really experienced true intimate friendship – only brief friendships. Then life happened and I have found true and deep friendships which I now cherish!
Then there are my children – another who knew!? My children have been the greatest gift in my life. They are my greatest teachers and have taught me sooooo much about myself – most especially that I am a damn good mom! My children are my greatest accomplishment (if we can actually say that about our kids….I didn’t do anything, I just let them be themselves and I loved them unconditionally through it). At 19 and 21, they are proving themselves to be the most amazing human beings on this planet. Each with their own gifts and challenges, I love them for who they are and celebrate all of it. They make me laugh. They bring me joy. And every time I sit and reflect on who they have become my heart wants to explode. I LOVE MY sick, twisted, hilarious, unique, too smart for their own good, mischievous, creative, thoughtful, kind, shit=disturbing children….who aren’t really children anymore. They are grown-ass adults!
And I want love. Deep, true, intimate, whole hearted, mutually honoring love. My vulnerability has also taught me that if this kind of love is not meant to happen for me in this lifetime, I will have to be content with that while feeling the pain of knowing that one of my deepest longings is going unfulfilled.
Knowing who we are is not all wine and roses. And yet, it is the very reason for our human experience – to come to know who we are and in knowing who we are, discovering how we want to move and be upon this plane. I am grateful for the Authentic Freedom process that revealed itself to me as “life happened” and forced me on this journey of self-discovery. It is for this reason that I share this process with you here.
Which brings me to the question: WHO ARE YOU?