We humans are the only animals who don’t instinctively know what we are… or rather, who we think we should be… We spend inordinate amounts of time and in some cases money cultivating a persona to show to the world so that every one else will see and judge us in a particular light. Sometimes its not even what we want to be but what we “think” others expect of us for either better or worse… If we are not encouraged as children, told that we are “bad”, a disappointment etc then that is who/what we will strive to become… conversely, children who are praised and given positive feedback will tend to strive to be “good”… and yet, we humans are unique in that we can consciously choose to who we want to be… Someone close to me recently experienced this first hand at work… one of his colleagues suggested that he do something a bit questionable… because he has a good heart he not only refused but was a bit offended. When I asked him why they would even approach him about something like that he said “it’s just the way I look…” After some consideration I realize that to a large extent he is right… He grew up with an abusive alcoholic father who never gave him a dream of better things… no concept that the future could be more than existence in a bottle… He grew up believing that he had to be tough… “bad”, taught that consideration of others equated to weakness… For many years he walked down a long rocky road … at the end of that road he turned around and by sheer strength and will power he climbed back up. Through it all he has never learned how to completely rid himself of the stained legacy of his father… He has never accepted the reality that we humans are the ultimate chameleons… only we can choose to become who and what WE want to be…. not only can we choose, but we can choose to be any number of things depending on our surroundings… while our essential being does not change the masks we put on will affect our behaviors and how we interact with others of our species… We are all familiar with the expression ” a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” and that is exactly what I am talking about… the ability to blend in with whatever crowd you are with for as long as is necessary to obtain your goal… and sometimes our goal is to be a different person than what we have been… Our essential being is much like metal… it can never be anything but ore yet it can be shaped into many things from brutal swords to delicate filigree’… simply different shapes of the same element… one is not better than the other but one may be more suited to a given situation than another… We can not choose what shape others may take but we can show them options to guises that may be destructive or harmful… ultimately each person chooses for themselves what they want to be and where they want to fit in… I may not be what you think I should be but I am fortunate in that I know who I am and the path I walk.
The winter solstice has passed… almost imperceptibly we feel the days lengthening… and yet, even as the light lingers the grip of winter seems to tighten… This is why, I suppose that the calender shows the solstice as the “first day of winter” instead of what it truly is… the Mid-Point of winter, the zenith of winter, the longest night of the year. We are all familiar with the fact that the temperature is lowest just as the sun begins to rise and we all know the saying “it’s darkest just before the dawn” so why would the seasons be any different? Perhaps it is our culturally conditioned need to be in control that led us to make a specific pronouncement on the day winter “officially” begins… Who knows? I only know that it makes absolutely no sense to me… After all, isn’t it logical that winter would begin earlier in more northerly climes? Here in central Texas we have virtually no winter… a couple of chilly weeks and that’s about it whereas in North Dakota the snow and cold come much earlier and stay much later… the only consistent part of these very different winters is that they both pivot around the shortest day of the year… Conversely, our summer comes early, stays late and generally refuses to go quietly… like winter, it is centered around a specific point… the summer solstice. I simply put this out here for thought… If you are like me you will “know” when autumn comes or winter or any other season… for me it is a change in the air… I can’t describe it but the air will taste and feel different and I will find that my mind shifts with it… as the daylight hours increase my soul becomes restless…. like the seeds beneath the earth I feel the need to stretch myself and expand outward… at the opposite end of the spectrum as days become shorter I feel the need to retreat into myself… gathering close to the hearth… nurturing the fire of life… And I do… as I grow older I give myself more to the turning of the seasons, the marking of time to the song of mother earth and in doing so I find more peace and harmony in my life.