I remember wanting the cool jeans in 5th grade, the cool haircut in 7th grade, the cool boyfriend in high school, the cool sorority in college. Then it was the cool job in the cool city, the cool roommate, the cool husband, the cool kids.
Except I never quite cut it in the definition of cool. My big curly hair never fit into the haircut of the times, in any era. It was me and me alone, and rather than embrace our very nature, we so often try to fight it so that we look and feel like everyone else.
What a disservice we do to ourselves when we try to fall in step with the crowd. Think of how much richer of a tapestry our world would be if we each blazed our own unique path early and often.
Last night, at the Snatam Kaur concert hosted by Karma Yoga at Seaholm High School, I felt like I had come home. Seriously. I know that sounds funny or odd or weird, but really singing those sacred chants and swaying to the music, my children lulled into peaceful slumber all around me, I felt like this community, this message, this meaning were exactly where I need to be.
I posted those heart-filled feelings on Facebook and a friend asked, “I’m curious as to what it was that made you feel like you belonged?”
I really couldn’t answer in a quick quip. It’s so much deeper than that.
You know how it is when you shuffle along in a crowd of people you’ve been lumped in with – whether it be a school class or a camp peer group or whatever small pool of people you have to choose from – and you hear what they’re saying and nod your head, but really the way you think is so different?
I remember feeling like I had the greatest friends in high school – and then I went to college, where there were so many people to choose from, and that opened the world so much more. As adults, we can go anywhere, do anything, be who we want to be – except so many of us don’t ever get there.
As for me, it took until my late 30s to say, this is who I am, like it or leave it. And in the 40s and I’ve heard even moreso in the 50s, it is so much stronger. Do not mess with me. Life is too short. This is who I am, how I want to live, what I believe, and I have no time for any other way.
Sounds extreme, but you get the gist, I hope.
I’ve always been a spiritual person. Growing up in a secular community, I kept that under the cuff for so long, and then openly embraced a religious lifestyle. But that wasn’t quite for me either – too rigid and proscribed. It was the spiritual that I’ve always been drawn to, like a hummingbird to nectar.
Last night, the people all around me, that’s where I felt like I finally had come home. The words were familiar to my soul. The concept of singing out loud a prayerful refrain felt comforting. Dancing in a circle of arms and hips, eyes closed, that wild abandon, that freedom that comes with knowing what you believe and who you are, priceless.
I wish it for everyone. Find your beat, find your drummer, find your lyrics. Once you have them, you speak without even thinking. It’s just that natural.