Be you, the world will adjust
The title that I chose for this blog post was on a sign that I saw at last weekend's downtown street fair in Fargo. This shop had lots of funny quips about our modern day life - Alexa, feed my children, that made me laugh out loud - but this one just stopped me. I didn't laugh, but read it repeatedly. I wondered what this sort of message could do for the world. I made a mental note to come back when I had the chance and some money with me, to purchase this 4x4 piece of wisdom of black ink splayed across a few pieces of wood. Since I had my own booth at the fair, I didn't wander out very often or for long periods of time. I was fortunate to have my mom, husband, and for a short period of time, my sister and her husband help me out - but ultimately felt too responsible to leave them for long.
During the last hour on the last day of the fair, I returned to that booth with cash in hand. The sign was gone. There had been several of them and they had all been purchased. At first I was bummed because I had decided I would purchase it for my school office where I serve as a school psychologist at a middle school. Middle schoolers would do well to breathe in this message. However, my second thought fell on the fact that those few words were equally meaningful to others as well and I was glad those signs had been purchased.
What does it mean to be you, the world will adjust?
I think it means that it's not unusual to feel like the world has expectations of you. "The world" is an umbrella term that includes society, the professionals that you rely on for advice, your family, friends, and even your own inner critic. It seems that they all work together to inform you of what you should do and who you should be. Have you felt that yourself? Maybe you have relied on others so often to tell you what to do that you've lost your own sight. Others may have taken the reigns with good intention, pushed you around, led you, convinced you that they know better, and you allowed it. After awhile you might have noticed that you've lost touch with yourself and start to question your life's purpose. I will certainly be the first to say that we need people. We are meant to live in community and to experience life with others. Yes. Yet, to do that while also discovering your inner world and expressing yourself in this world as your own authentic being can be tricky, uncomfortable, or downright scary.
A few days after the fair I was watering the flowers on my deck and I heard singing. My backyard opens up to a large open park space with a small area taken up by play equipment. I turned around to see where the singing was coming from and I saw a child. She was about 6 years old, black skin, turquoise blue shorts, a gray t-shirt, a mane of curly hair extending around her, and a beautiful voice. She was holding onto the yellow bars at an opening where she could extend her torso forward while she held on to the bars. It looked like she was ready to take flight. I became aware that I was staring at her, wondering if anyone else was witnessing this unexpected event. No one else was around. I sat down on the bench on my deck and closed my eyes and listened. You'd never have guessed that the melody drifting through the air was coming from such a small being. She had heart and zeal that felt as if it had already lived a full life of experiences. I thought about that little sign Be you, the world will adjust and noticed how this young child, singing from her heart, had completely taken me off course from my own agenda so I could witness her, being her.
I think there are a lot of us that wonder about our place in a world that requires us to fit into a mold, to fulfill a "job" that will keep us secure and safe. In the quest to do so, we hurt deeply inside. It's not easy to share your gifts and talents with the world at the same time as securing a job that offers you health insurance and retirement benefits. We all hear that these things are important. We need to establish security because the future is uncertain. Prepare yourself. Could it come at the cost of your soul? Does anyone ever ask that question? If that young girl stops singing or never sings in front of others, it would be a loss to us all. When you find your voice, your purpose, or what in yoga we call dharma, then it truly is your duty to fulfill it. THAT is what your life is all about. The rest will fall into place. In other words, the world will adjust.
There is a lot of adversity in the world and I do not mean to overlook that in this post. I acknowledge that some of our paths are fraught with more obstacles and barriers that are not easy to overcome. I do believe though that even in those circumstances, discovering who you are, what lights you up, providing the most luminescent version of YOU, is worth your time and energy. It's worth all the time and energy that you have because it's all you really have to do. There has never been and never will be someone with your unique makeup in this world. You've got something very special and purposeful to give during this life time just by being you.