Finding Myself – A Poem About the Journey of Self Discovery

lotus flowerBeing and finding yourself is hard. Each one of us is a unique individual, blessed with unique talents and gifts. But each of us also longs for acceptance – to feel wanted, needed, and understood by people. Having the courage to be true to ourselves and discover the individual God created us to be usually separates us from the crowd. I believe it separates us because each person feels this gravitational pole to become greater than the person they are right now, that there is something that is missing in their life, but fear is holding them back. When you dare to become the you that your heart tells you to be, it threatens all those around you and challenges them to also break away from the crowd. And they don’t like that. The world tells you you’re weird, crazy, foolish. The world tells you you’re a dreamer and that you should take the easy road. But the easy road is only paved with failed attempts at numbing yourself to the truth – that until you have the courage to venture on a journey of self discovery, your heart will never be satisfied. Life’s journey is a hard road, but if you stay true to yourself and true to the journey that God intended for you, contentment awaits you.

Finding Myself – A Poem About the Journey of Self Discovery

The search for truth keeps me
Trekking across uncharted lands
And diving under unventured seas
Where I find myself alone,
Without the comfort of familiarity.

I have walked out onto the plank too far
To not take the plunge –
Bound myself in the shackles of curiosity
And distanced myself from past experiences
And previous peers.
I was once a jolly pirate,
But am now the prisoner
They push overboard and feed to the sharks.

But I must listen to the call of my heart –
The call that won’t let me live content
Following worn paths walked by countless others,
Taking the road society says leads to success.
I wish it wasn’t so…
It would be much easier
If I could distract myself from meaning,
From searching for the answers to this string of thoughts
Unraveling in my mind, but I cannot.

I can’t look upon the forest
In the midst of spring,
Watch the birds rest atop
The branches at the break of dawn,
Or feel the wind breathe across my face
Without the taste of some eternal truth
Lingering on the tip of my tongue,
Reminding me of a magic I felt
During days when I was young,
Some glorious mystery that awakens
My taste buds and makes them yearn for more.

I am a seeker,
Seeking beauty, seeking truth.
And to deny myself the journey of self discovery
For the sake of comfort
Is a travesty of my heart
And of the one who created it.

It’s never easy to abandon the crowds,
Leave the pack,
And become a lone wolf,
But by keeping the status quo
You’ll never find the piece of yourself
You’ve been missing all your life –
The piece of you that you’ve been afraid to acknowledge,
The piece of you that connects you to your destiny,
The piece of your puzzle that fits perfectly into place
Forming a beautiful portrait,
And the piece of you that makes you come alive.

It’s time.
You’re ready.
Share the real you
With the world.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

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photo credit: In Celebration Of Earth Day 2011 via photopin (license)

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Introspection – A Poem

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Stop chasing trouble.
It doesn’t follow you without an invitation
to walk through your door.
So why do you seem so surprised
when it uses your heart to mop the floor?

Can you simply not see the signals?
Can you really not recognize the signs?
Or are you just unable to face yourself in the mirror
without another reflection by your side?

It is just as we are, without a filter
to catch our deepest longings and failures,
that we fear most of all.
So we rush to fill our lives with negative people
rather than sit alone in our heart’s empty hall.

The mind is not partial –
it digests whatever you put in.
But outputs by the same standards,
so be mindful of what you’re putting in.

Society’s grown so deaf to silence
that solitude is no longer welcoming.
We’d rather spend time with anyone
than have to spend time with “me”.

If you don’t know the person inside your breast,
you’d better start investigating.
Because you can discover all the world’s wealth,
but if you haven’t found yourself, you haven’t found a thing.

Stop chasing trouble.
You won’t find your answer in her or him.
Your answer does not lie out there,
but waits for you within.

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Fortified

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These castle walls have been built
by the tears and pain of my own heart.
Each stone carefully constructed
and sealed in layers of mortar
to make sure there are no breaches,
that no enemy reaches my inner domain,
no intruder is able to sneak and slip between the cracks.
I’ve built these walls strong enough
to withstand any firepower that’s thrown at it,
thick enough to keep out sun, rain, sleet, or snow,
thick enough to protect me from cold or heat.
Yes, nestled behind my walls,
I’m as safe as any man can be.
But what began as a savior years ago,
has become my sentence,
shackled like a prisoner in my own cell.
I may have successfully cut the world
off from me, but in doing so
I also cut me off from the world.
I’ve fortified these walls every day for years,
making them stronger and stronger.
And each year I find myself unmoved
by the world’s attack on me.
But there’s a loneliness growing inside,
knowing that the things I built this castle
to keep out are the things I most desperately need.
You can protect yourself from heartache.
You can close yourself to the possibility of pain.
But as long you’re still breathing, you can never
build walls high enough to keep yourself from being human.
There isn’t a cave dark enough or an ocean deep enough
to hide yourself from the thing that follows you
wherever you go – your heart.


 

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Living Happy Now

3383537943_64d0a11b15It’s no secret that more people are unhappy than ever before.  Unhappy with their lives, unhappy with their careers, unhappy with their spouse, and most of all unhappy with themselves.  Happiness has become some intangible emotion that we are always reaching for, yet never able to firmly grasp.  As soon as you think you have it, it seems to slip from your hands.  As Americans, we live in the richest and most privileged country on earth, yet we have some of the least happy people.  Why?

The False Persona 

Too many of us judge our interior lives through the lens of other people’s outward appearances.  She’s got so much nicer things than me.  God, it must be nice to have a husband that makes that kind of money.  Why did I get stuck with him?  He’s so much more successful than I am.  If I had that position or worked for that company, I could be happy too.  If only I was thin…If only I was younger…more attractive.  We put the blame of happiness on something we’re missing that’s “out there”.  Those people have what we think will make us happy, so they must be right?  But the reality is that they are just as empty inside as you are.  They may be able to hide it better beneath their fortune and fame, but it’s still there.

The Great Lie

The great lie is that we’re unhappy now because we’re missing something.  We believe that once we get what we’re missing, things will all make sense, and we’ll live happily ever after, but we won’t.  In fact, we may be unhappier than ever because we’ve run out of hope. I always find it mind-blowing to see videos or images of people living in third world countries where they seem so happy.  They have nothing, yet they wear more smiles than the rest of us.  I believe the reason for this is gratitude.  Few Americans are ever satisfied with what they have.  The constant stream of images on the internet and t.v. remind us that there’s something bigger and better than what we’ve got, hints the reason we’re never satisfied.  People in third-world countries have nothing, so anything they get they feel blessed to have.  Embrace life with gratitude instead of demands, and you’ll probably find yourself much more content.

Live Your Story

Above all, too many of us try to live other people’s lives.  Each and every one of us has our own story to tell, yet we insist that our story is no good, and we need someone else’s.  No one’s story is perfect.  Everyone has problems, and we tend to forget that.  You are the main character of your own story.  No one in the world can play that role better than you.  Happiness begins by accepting your story and thriving in it rather than continually looking for a new role to play.


 
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Being Authentically You

15549576261_3f595b5c94Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  Not only do I think he’s right, I would argue that it’s even harder now than it was during his lifetime.  No matter where we turn there are influences everywhere trying to get us to conform to a particular way of thinking or people to reject us for acting or being a certain way.  For me, the biggest challenge is not necessarily completely changing what I have become, but better portraying the person I am on the inside to the world.  We may not think that we’re conformers or followers, but standing on the sidelines just trying to blend in and not get criticized is still not being true to yourself.

As a Christian, this is somewhat of a hard topic to tackle.  Throughout the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly tells us multiple times that in order to find him we must lose ourselves.  “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” (Luke 9:23)  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)  I believe there is a misconception that following Christ means to lose all concept of who “you” are.  When I use the term “you”, that does not mean being true to everything about you.  It is about being true to the person that God made you to be.  It  does not mean that you have the freedom to give into your sins because they’re part of “you”.

Many Christians will say that being true to yourself is exactly what Christ is trying to get you away from.  You are to be more like him.  In many ways I agree, but I also think that sometimes people take it to the extreme.  Your talents, gifts, and individual characteristics are things that God has blessed you with.  It seems that sometimes Christians have a tendency to view the whole person as bad and not stop at the person’s sin.  They destroy the whole person and are left with no identity and no passion in life.  Christianity is one of the only religions that believes we each have an individual self and we retain that self after we die.  If we were suppose to be “just Christ”, wouldn’t we have a Eastern concept of an afterlife where we become a part of God and believe everything about our earthly life is an illusion?

So what’s the risk?  The risk is producing pride, arrogance, and selfishness within us.  By being true to yourself, it is easy to think that you achieved everything by your own work, can do things alone, and feel superior over others.  When we turn our lives over to Christ, we are ultimately just handing him the reins to our life.  Following Christ doesn’t mean leaving everything he has blessed us with behind.  It means handing him control over those blessings.  We still have the talents we did before, just a much better leader who will decide where to put those talents to use.

I think it’s safe to say that all of us are holding back in some area of our life due to fear.  There’s some people whose character is completely fake, but the majority of us reside somewhere in the middle.  We like ourselves in the comfort of our own homes, but not enough to share “us” with other people.  I know for me it’s a feeling of hesitation…like I know I am not being 100% the person that I am being called to be, but it’s safer to just be comfortable.  I’m afraid if I show everyone exactly who I am I’ll be rejected or isolated from the crowd.  The majority of people show just enough of themselves to be unique, but as little of themselves to make sure they still fit in.

We are obsessed with being politically correct and not offending anyone in today’s society.  Obviously, I am not advocating hurting other people’s feelings.  But the only way to not offend anyone is to not say anything at all, and I think that’s what a lot of us are doing.  We’re so scared we’re going to offend someone that we just stuff everything we feel.  On moral issues, the longer you sit back and don’t take a side on sin, the more and more you start questioning whether it’s that bad in the first place.  We do not need to take a side with pride, arrogance, or condemnation.  But we do need to take a side.

The most influential people seem to always know themselves well.  They know who they are, and they are comfortable being that person wherever they are.  Too many people stay lukewarm or cold because they are the paths of the least resistance.  For whatever reason, Jesus has called us to remain in this world.  Too many of us seem to be just waiting around to die.  God has a purpose for each and every one of us, and it is our responsibility to carry that out.  We should be truer to ourselves than the rest of the world because we should be honoring the individuality that God’s given to us.  Led by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we can be the most influential and inspirational people in the workplace.  But first we need to leave behind fear and be led, instead of trying to lead.


 

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