May 4

Today's quotation:

The great thing about getting older is that
you don't lose all the other ages you've been.

Madeleine L'Engle

Today's Meditation:

It's so easy to look at ourselves one-dimensionally.  We don't tend to keep in mind that there is much more to us than what appears before our eyes and how we define ourselves.  These lines make me think of who I am as an aggregate of everything I've been up until this moment--all of my triumphs and successes and mistakes and failures all have gone into making me who I am, and no matter what I consider myself to be right here and right now, much of who I am also includes everything that I've been until now.

The little boy who used to love to color and draw still is inside of me.  The young man who wrote poetry and short stories still is part of who I am.  The person who was afraid of relationships contributed much to my being, as did the person who was willing to take a huge risk and buy a one-way plane ticket to Europe and end up spending three years over there.

I can reject these other selves that I've been and say that I've grown out of those stages and become someone else, but that simplifies things a bit too much.  All of those memories still are an important part of me, as are all of the lessons, and it would be a shame to reject them out of hand as simply being a part of "the past."

I hadn't though of myself in this way until I read these words of Madeleine's, but I find it a very helpful and useful way to see myself.  And there are more me's to come in the future, too, after I learn some of the lessons that I'm living through now.  Just as I'm not separate from the other people on this planet, I'm also not separate from the other selves that I've been through time.  So why do I treat myself as if I were?

Questions to consider:

Who are some of the other people you've been as you've grown?  How have they contributed to who you are?

Why do we tend to see ourselves as existing simply in this moment?  Is that how things really are?

How is who you are now going to help you in the future?

For further thought:

If you carry your childhood with you,
you never become older.

Abraham Sutzkever

  

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