You’ll Never Be Able To Describe You - Grasshopper
How much of your life have you spent trying to figure out and describe who you are? For most, it goes on for a lifetime.
It usually starts with labels: gender, grades, IQ, skills, etc. Then it evolves to our work and our roles: butcher, baker, candlestick maker, husband, wife, father, mother, and so on.
There comes a choice point in life where roles no longer seem relevant. For example, think of someone who identifies with a parental role and is now faced with an empty nest. You have outgrown that role or, more specifically, that role has outgrown you.
Perhaps you even buy into the new label of "empty nester." This choice point is not about finding new ways to describe yourself; it's an opportunity to find the you beneath the labels.
I call this process "subtraction."
It's the process of pealing off all the labels we've identified with one-by-one until we're left with nothing to describe. That's when we discover the indescribable you – the essence and animating force that has driven us through our labeled past.
Lao-Tzu, the ancient Chinese Philosopher in his writings called this force the "Tao" and he lets us know it can't be captured or contained by a name.
"The Tao that can be explained with words is not the Tao." The verse goes on to say, "We desire to understand the world by giving names to the things we see, but these things are the effects of something subtle. When we see beyond the desire to use names, we can sense the nameless cause of these effects."
You describing you is an attempt to defend you – to keep your image of you alive. The real you needs no defense. It's the aliveness beyond the labels and pretense of your descriptions.
In order to get to the you that can't be described, you have to unburden yourself from the you with all the labels. It's a process.
Start with the easy ones and remove the labels that don't stick as well as they used to. Then move on to the ones with more glue, and one-by-one you'll get closer to the real you.
This choice point in life that I describe has two options: superficiality or depth.
You know you have taken the superficial path when you come up with new ways to describe yourself. It's as ineffective as attempting to describe an entire house by the color of its exterior paint.
Depth is reached when you no longer reach for a label to describe yourself. It's the path less travelled, but the one that leads to the open spaces where labels don't stick and the opportunity to live more fully and freely is in abundant supply.
Once you find out the labeled you doesn't exist, you'll discover the depth of your existence. And like the old TV ad for Almond Joy candy bars says, "It's indescribably delicious."
All the best,
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