Janine's Articles From the Soul From the Outside Poetry Corner Prisoner Letters

Who Am I?
Issue 81

I’m 63 years old.  You would think that I would know by now who I am.  Well...you’d be wrong!  I still feel opposing factions war within me, especially when the time comes to make difficult decisions.

If I ever thought about it when I was younger, which I never did, I would have assumed (yes, I know about assuming!) that my life would be on an even (boring?) keel at this point, but it is anything but boring.  There are still profound changes happening, wounds that need healing, painful decisions that need to be made.

Can anybody out there relate or is it just me?  :-)

OK, so I’m not alone living these changes.  It seems we live in a time when the world is hungering for change, for something better.  It reminds me of a Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times!”

And, my friends, we live in interesting times indeed.  Few of us have not experienced  some significant change in the last few years.  Many of us have become aware that those changes are coming more and more quickly, that our decisions produce results more and more powerfully.

So answering the question in the title of this article is, I believe, of utmost importance today.  And I don’t mean giving the usual answers, such as name, occupation, marital status, nationality, religion, astrological sign, none of that is who I am.  How others see me, what they know of me is not what I’m talking about here.

Who am I, really?  Who am I outside of any outward appearance, outside of what I do?  If I stopped doing everything that I do or living where and how I live, that would not change who I am inside.  So who is that?

We all make decisions all through our lifetime that define who we are and depend on how we see ourselves.

It’s really difficult for me to separate who I am with what I do.  I feel that my choices define who I am but that can’t be true.  If I chose to live in Timbuctu, would that change who I am inside? If I chose to spend my time with different people, would that alter my inner beingness?  I could even change my name and still continue to be me, inside.

So who the heck am I?  I know there is something profoundly stable in my identity, something unchanged since, as a a very small child,  I became aware of being a separate being from all others around me.

I believe that what allows me to be me is a deep inner knowing that connects me to my truth, to My Truth.  That inner knowing seems to not to have changed very much over the years.  What feels different is how I listen now, what I allow to guide me in my choices.

I used to depend on other people’s opinions to help me decide how to live my life.  I seem to do that less and less these days.  It’s strange to realize that even the opinions of people I love a great deal cannot alter the choices I know, deep within, are the best for me.

That’s strange to me, mostly because during my whole life, as far back as I can remember, I tried to please the people I loved.  I thought of that as a sign of how much I loved them.  If some of the things I did hurt me by taking away something I felt precious inside of me, I dealt with it, I pushed it down. I sacrificed for my loved ones.  That’s what I was taught loving was all about: sacrifice.

I’ve come to really dislike that word, that feeling.  To me, sacrifice is about giving something away when I don’t really want to.  I was raised Catholic, and we were taught to “give until it hurts”.  I don’t believe in that concept anymore.

To me, now, my life is not about sacrifice.  It’s about service.  I see a huge difference between the two.  Service is when you have so much of something, you feel you just have to share it with others.  You cannot serve another “until it hurts”.

I feel the difference between sacrifice and service very quickly these days, sacrifice empties me, leaves me feeling depleted.  Service fills me up so I am overflowing and can give more.  Only service brings me joy.  Sacrifice makes me feel resentful.

So what does that have to do with answering the original question?  Everything!

Who I am is a human being who has come here to serve.  In order to do that to the best of my abilities, I need to go deep inside and be very honest with myself about what I want to do and, maybe especially, what I don’t want to do.

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The Universe works in such a way that when you make a decision, it will provide you with the exact situation where you can practice being whatever your decision was.  That’s the Law of Opposites.

If you choose to be honest, the Universe will provide the perfect opportunity to BE honest by putting you in a situation where being DIShonest would be a lot easier.

If you choose to be loving, the Universe will put in front of you the perfect (hard-to-love) person or people or circumstance.

So when I chose to be of service by using my inner voice to guide me as to when and where and what, I found myself facing a lot of people in need of help.

Sometimes, I let my head decide who I should help (yes, I was ‘shoulding’ myself).  Those times, I felt a churning inside, a message that I didn’t really feel right about helping but since I had what the other “needed”, I gave it...reluctantly.  And I resented it.  Not a good outcome!

Sometimes, I let my heart decide for me.  This is when people I loved asked for help. I still had the inner feeling that said this was not what I wanted to do but I couldn’t figure out why I felt resentful so I felt guilt on top of my resentment.  Not a good outcome either!

The interesting part is that in neither of these cases did my help produce the outcome I had wished for.  I had given help with a lot of expectations about how the help would be received and the changes it would produce.  This, obviously, increased my resentment.  Not a good outcome either!

The only time I felt really good about helping anyone at all, be it friend or stranger, is when I listened to what my inner voice was telling me.  It’s very specific, you know.  It even tells me, if money is involved, exactly how much to give!!

I’m never disappointed or resentful when I listen to my Inner Voice.  It is my connection to Source, it guides me well.

It also lovingly guides me through difficult decisions that seem to be designed to hurt someone or another along the way.  Those are the hardest choices to make.  At least for me they are.

So Who Am I?  When I live connected to my Source, I know I am a human being, here to serve to the best of my abilities, who knows that the quality of my service, of my life really, depends entirely on how carefully I listen to my Inner Voice and how lovingly I accept its guidance.

My Inner Self has never let me down and I know it never will.  My “job” is to listen, which even at 63, I’m still learning to do.

I wish you all a life of complete trust  in your own inner voice.