Our greatest adventure along this transient soul-stop comes in our journey to know ourselves.
I used to think that meant becomSomewhere along that journey, after finding myself found many times over, yet still wondering grappling with Life and her adventures, I adjusted my lens. I have come to understand that our greatest adventure comes in our heeding of this Shavian commission:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Becoming found is personal. Becoming found means you accept yourself. Some fortunate few are lucky to be found quite early. For most of us, though, this journey is one of great peril and comes at enormous risk.
Becoming found allows us to own our steps, to see the marvel in an off-beat dance. Becoming found allows for the sloughing off of what held us back, enabling us to pay no mind to what no longer deserves our attention. Becoming found makes room for the swans we are bound to meet in similar frequency as found.
You know you’re found when you hear the strength and power in your own voice, however you choose to express it — be it writing, art, cooking, designing, fighting for causes, hobby, profession, whatever stirs your soul to action and beat, for our passions inform our purpose — despite any fear of lifting it up. Found can seem scary and that’s okay; it will always mean freedom.
As found, we own responsibility for our lives and experiences, this includes letting go of the need to control how others experience us, that is not our responsibility. Famous basketball Coach John Wooden, an esteemed Hoosier and fellow Boilermaker, who left this world at 99, said it best, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
What is our responsibility is temet nosce, latin for know thyself, as in really, really know yourself, all the wonderful and those warts. In my own experience, I have found when I’m sunken into a pit, the most challenging seasons, beyond broken and terrifyingly vulnerable, I am finally willing to look in the mirror and wrestle with who I find looking back.
I believe intentional self-reflection is our tallest mountain and our most glorious adventure, should we choose it. In learning to recognize my defenses, and realizing how, not only have they not been profitable throughout my life, but they have almost definitely caused friction and strife for others, have been a strong catalyst for changing…for responding…for choosing growth. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, gave us the map on how to climb well, “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
The hard times stick with us. We earned their lesson and love and their refrain plays over and over in the four-part harmony of our lives. The easy times, while fabulous and fun, aren’t usually our first go-to or association when we reflect upon how we have grown, how we have learned, how we have survived…endured…lived. The most harrowing parts of my climb, the parts I might be tempted to wish never happened, are the very parts I have come to love and cherish in fiercest fashion. Those parts transformed my DNA and you can’t help but love your creator. In persevering, I have discovered what I am capable of, who I could be, and it has given me confidence to live who I am. Dangling on the side of a mountain is where I found myself.
When you know yourself, when you are found, you breathe in unabashed recognition that you are worthy of time and space and support and love and to be treated well and to treat yourself well; and how much our fellow travelers in this life are worthy too.
We don’t start out as found, how can we? We become found. Through mountain climbing, through hardship, through grief, through joy, through the trial and error of it, through failure - loads and loads (they are just Data Points), through success and through choosing “to be brave..and to show up and try”. Personality evaluations can be a great climbing tool, they can go miles in helping us understand ourselves better. I’m an INFJ, a less than typical type, and an Enneagram One, an ‘oh Lord help us’ type. A great variety of other tools and supports are needed in mountain climbing, find the ones that work for you, these are only a few.
I've been lost. And I’ve been unknown to myself. Maybe you are lost this day? We are found in our journeys, as our stories — full of bunny trails and dead ends, u-turns and forks, circling back around, veers and fresh starts — lay the stone steps of the paths we walk. Sometimes the paths we crawl.
Pain is a part of my path. A big part. A word of complex layers. Up close, in real time, it can be distressing. Yet, step back to see its sedimental impact and it is utter beauty. I write a lot about my pain journey and its haunting hues that have richly colored-in my path towards becoming found.
I grew up outside city limits, along the patchwork farm edges of Columbus, Indiana. Then, the summer before my ninth grade year, my folks moved us twenty minutes up the road to the Surprisingly Little Town of Hope. Acres of wood and field were my haven during my rites of youth. Hunting, motorcycles, and sitting on my rooftop writing filled my time. I graduated from Columbus East High, then Purdue University - Boiler Up! I'm a big fan of nature, especially the creepy-crawly variety.
After college, I set out to become a park ranger and ended up designing suits for robots at NASA for almost a decade. One obscure day along my journey, I felt a pain in my ass - Friends this is literal, not Houston traffic - thus began a pain journey now fourteen years strong and has changed my everything. My love of creation and its intricate creatures holds major influence in my life and my passion for writing is the calling I have no choice but to obey.
Otherwise, I'd still be lost.
Today I pursue wellness. In the strata of life and pain - I no longer hustle. I no longer hurtle. I live for the slow burn. I spend my days writing, drinking raspberry black tea, volunteering for a local homeless nonprofit, and occasionally portraying cases as a Standardized Patient. I published my first book, The Fishing Well, in October 2018.
My name is Heather and I'm a Hoosier living in the Lone Star with my hubs, Joe, our two bugs (kids) and two cats and one lizard and a bunch of fish and whatever spider my daughter happens to have trapped in a jar. From my vantage - Hope to Houston, country to city, resignation to resilience, passion to purpose - Pensive Impulse is one of the spaces where I choose my response, to connect Mr. Whitman's gossamer threads of our humanity. Themes include self-discovery, failure and fear, chronic pain and compassion.
Pensive Impulse is about excavating that marrow of spirit we each hold deep inside, that tenacity thing; demanding we never give up, keep going, onward-ho. It's about our shared navigation of the human condition and how we are each searching for the same thing - finding out who we are and acceptance of that person.
In becoming found, inside the pulse of our substance, there is only one that truly matters.