Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who Do You Want To Be in the World?

Today's post is an excerpt from my morning pages two days ago.  I was inspired by a recent blog from Elsie Escobar, a podcasting yoga teacher whose online Anusara classes I've been using (and loving) for years.  A reader asked Elsie how to establish a daily yoga practice, and Elsie responded:

If you don’t first and foremost ask yourself who you want to be in the world, what has meaning, what has value to you, and continue to refine the answer and deepen the questions again and again, whatever you decide to do (be it a daily asana practice) will be unsustainable.

Here's my reaction:

Um. Wow. I commented back (and truly feel) the following: "This is crazy-profound. And it basically smacked me over the head with a great cosmic DUH! :) I have all the externals on my side — deity, relationship, desire, talent, discipline. But I'm missing the internal — I have never asked myself who I want to be in this world. Wow. Wow wow and more wow." And it's true. I've never thought -- "what do I want to be in the world?"

I have wondered about what I want to be "when I grow up," but that day of finally achieving maturity and grown up-ed-ness never seems like it will arrive. It is too distant. But Elsie's question is about now. "What do I want to be in the world today? What can I do today (and right now!) to help me become that person?" This has nothing to do with achievement, status, money, security, marital status, popularity, and all the other so-called important factors the culture demands that we gauge our lives by. And all those things are mostly irrelevant if they are attached to an unloving person. I don't want to be a shallow person incapable of love, even I'd get to be a bazillionaire at the same time.

So now I must ask . . . what do I want to be in this world?

When I first read Elsie's post, I kind of rolled my eyes. But then I thought about it.

The answer wafted in on a cloud of calm -- I want to be a person of words. A writer, a writer of words people want to read. A writer of things that must be written and must be read.

Note: understand that me wanting to be a writer has nothing to do with publication. It has nothing to do with three book deals or being famous or winning a prize. I simply want to write things -- write quality things, good things, write about important things -- and have people read and respond to my words. I want to be in the middle of an important dialogue, contributing via the page. I want to say things, textured things, rich and expressive things with my writing. I want to be read and to read, respond and be responded to.  I want to write every day.

What to write about? Well, I know of some things that are important topics for me: eating disorders, holistic health, uniting God and movement (via hooping and/or yoga), good fiction. I also know what I enjoy: photography, dogs, board games, simple crochet, hooping, reading, blogging, good television, video games, and film, hanging out with people, especially my husband.

Deep breath. Is this me, my life captured in a blurb? At least, the predilections of this single human soul? Perhaps. It is so simple and yet so profound, and I am simultaneously calmed and invigorated by this knowledge.

It also gets me thinking about things that I try to make myself be or do that are not true to my self, to what I want to be in the world. Like roller derby, or teaching hooping/yoga. I so badly want to be as kick arse as a derby girl, but right now my heart's not in it. Same with the teaching -- I drag my feet into it, am not successful, don't enjoy it, and then wonder why my classes make me depressed and vulnerable to giving in to disordered eating.

So who do I want to be in this world? The person: loving, seeing others, a blessing of a wife, supportive, caring, listening, ever hoping, ever singing. The actions: writing, reading, stepping out in the world, participating, making art with each breath, loving the work, loving this and all life.

Now I have to ask (and you knew it was coming) -- who do you want to be in the world?  Think about it.   Also, be sure to check out Elsie's full post and her related free yoga class. 


  1. What do I want to be? Well, the pat "Christianese" answer is "the woman God made me to be." What specifically does that translate into? Got me! Even at my age, I'm still figuring that out. It's a fun process, though, and I wouldn't trade it for any amount of certainty. Where's the thrill in knowing exactly what you're supposed to be and to be doing all the time? That leaves no room for exploration, experimentation, learning, spontaneity - all the stuff I like. :)For now, it's enough to know I enjoy my place in the local faith community, hooping, writing, photography, crochet, making jewelry, sharing what I know with others and encouraging them to find out where they fit in this ginormous jigsaw puzzle of life. Whatever else I'm meant to be, I know those are some of the things God has woven into my tapestry, and I look forward to finding out what other threads He's used in designing me. :)

  2. Lovely Beth! Don't be hard on yourself for trying things, teaching, roller derby. How would you know they weren't your thing unless you tried? But this is so powerful, to be able to recognize what is working, what isn't working, and what you want, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. That is the power of presence. So happy for you!What if tomorrow you decide you don't want to write? That's OK too. Keep your heart with God and He'll guide your path...Thanks for what you said about writing too. We write because we have to...because it is our "figuring out." Not to be recognized (although that doesn't hurt!) but firstly for ouselves. I think this is true with any artist.

  3. I don't have an insightful reply to your question as of yet, but I had to comment anyway. I loved everything about this post and love how it got me thinking in a way that I all too often neglect--either intentionally or unintentionally. Plus, I wanted to let you know that even if you're not looking for praise or accolades, I always enjoy reading your writing ;)


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King