Identity and Infinite Possibility


The word Identity has popped into my consciousness several times over the last week.  I love words and I googled this one to see what rules are applied to that particular word. The first definition says “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is”. That sounds vague to me at best. Although I rather liked the 3rd definition listed and it refers to mathematics. It says “a transformation that leaves an object unchanged.” Now that is a cool trick. And very close in context to where my mind was going.

Lake Louise

Yes – I’ve been talking to people again. I spent more time with an amazing group of like-minded ladies considering are own personal evolution. Incredible conversations that invite us all to be authentic in our own lives – to not compromise who we are or be carbon copies of someone else. No running amok, no running off and doing horrible things, just figuring out our own essence in the world and how we embody that in everything that we do. And it’s transformative.

I’ve part taken in several of these experiences over the last year or so as I navigate my post 9-5 life. The very things that I’ve learned and integrated are the very things that made me realize that my decisions at 55 were exactly what I needed to do. The sun shines brightly and angels sing – I am exactly where I should be and that is an amazing feeling. And it has nothing to do with geography.

Who am I?

So often in the past when I met anyone new through work or social interactions, the conversation inevitably turns to what do you do, where are you from, who are you related to, blah blah blah. I don’t mean to understate or condescend but my roles and past story do not define me. They don’t define any of us and it took a long time for me to really own that.

I spent so much of my life following a path of what was expected of a girl who was born in the mid 60s in rural Nova Scotia. And it’s not right or wrong. We grow up modelling what we see around us. So I tried my best in school and my identity in those formative years was a student – I was pretty good at it. Unfortunately, it felt like the only thing that I was good it. I so wanted to be coordinated and athletic like the cool kids. I remember always being afraid when a ball started to fly around me – team sports were terrifying. By high school, volleyball was the one thing that I felt competent enough to play pickup at lunch time. I still  cringe every time I think about trying to sink 5 layups in  gym class. We were all given a basketball and had to complete 5 and then sit down. Everyone was sitting and I kept going – I couldn’t lie and just sit down. I think I got one in before the teacher invited me to take a seat. Oops, I seemed to have detoured down memory lane.

Then there was university, a J-O-B, meeting a wonderful man and having 2 incredible daughters. All important milestones and I really do cherish each one. They do not however, speak to my essence – my identity. That is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time.

And the conversations that I have engaged with ICF coach training and more recently with WelSystems have been, like the math definition, a transformation. I may look the same but I am not.

We keep changing and staying the same

First of all, every cell in our bodies is renewed over a relatively short period of time – about a decade for all of them. So – none of us is exactly the same as time goes on – we can only “be” a certain way for a point in time. So we transform but stay the same. I’m not really talking about my body which is really just a container – can you imagine trillions of cells just kind of loosely moving around? My essence is in what breathes life into the body and I was not quite sure how to describe that before.

Clues came to me when I started doing Core Value assessments. There are a variety of them out there and all help you to look at what is important to you. (I talked about this a bit Episode 1 of this season). Some of the core values defined in some of those exercises are probably not core values at all but are really nominalizations. Family may be listed as a core value for instance. I would argue that the word “family” is a representation of what group of individuals give you. It could be love, trust or anything else that you hold dear. 

For months, I’ve been digging a little deeper to try to figure out my own. And frustrated to no end that I hadn’t been able to define it.

What lights me up

You know those times in your life when you feel lit up – completely alive and firing on all cylinders? When you feel as if you are exactly where and when you should be and doing exactly what you were meant to do? 

For me some of those times were: when I moved to Montreal from Nova Scotia, when I met my husband and held each of my children for the first time, when I went skydiving or took off across Canada on my Spyder. I freakin’ LOVE that feeling.  And I can finally name it. For me – it’s infinite possibility. 

A deep knowing that there are a world of possible outcomes and I have faith that it will all be wonderful. It’s where my sense of hope, spontaneity, and joie de vivre come from. It’s what allows me to create – a book, a painting, whatever without considering that maybe, according to someone else’s rules, I have no business doing these things. It what brings me back to rebuild relationships with the people in my life. Possibility, for me, holds all of those other values – love, authenticity, passion, respect, integrity and that’s how I know.

So – what lights you up? Do you want assistance to get there? Get in touch – I can help.

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