For a Minute There I Lost Myself

It is Friday and on self-imposed deadline I am faced with writing yet another blog post. I am to share the things that have inspired me – the treasures I have collected over a week of wandering the web. But this afternoon, alone and cold at my table I do not feel inspired. I do not feel the clarity of mind this task requires. I feel swamped. I feel exhausted. I feel that all I have found this week on the information super-highway are dust and dead ends. I feel overwhelmed by the noise.

Somewhere, in all of this hustle and bustle and muscle, I have lost my self.

So I leave the computer. I step away to clear some dishes and fold two basket-fulls of laundry. I don’t turn on the radio. I think and I pray and I try to hear. I try to clear. I realize that, this Friday, what I really need to find is my self.

I realize that I have fallen prey to that trick of self-importance – I have made myself the sum of what I make. My work has begun to define me. I have begun, again, to forget my true identity. I forgotten, again, to simply be a child of God, and not his worker-bee. He needs nothing from me, after all.

As a creative person, hungry for validation from others – hungry to know I am not alone – it is easy to lose myself in the worst of ways. It is easy to build a false self based on what I am able to accomplish. It is easy to climb a ladder and teeter more dangerously the higher I rise. This afternoon I needed to climb back down to the ground.

And from the ground, I was able to take stock, to reboot, and to find something of value to share here after all.

There are many ways I find my self in these moments. I'd love to share some, and I’d love to hear what works for you.

Here are some ‘finds’ that are helping me find myself today.

The Unspoken:
New Works from Marcie Rohr

Local artist Marcie Rohr’s new paintings take us to imaginary landscapes, and ask us to imagine our own idealized places. As I was wondering where exactly I was this afternoon, Marcie’s paintings became a ‘word in season’ for me – the right thing at the right time. Looking at these images I began to calm and collect and find myself again.

What Would Jesus Say to Artists?:
A Talk from the Grove Centre for Arts and Media

The first implication of this talk is that Jesus does indeed speak to artists – and every type of person – today. For some people this is taken for granted. For others, this is a revolutionary thought that begets a life of listening. I listened to this webcast a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of some good, solid truths about who I am as a child of God. I am loved, first of all. And I am enough. There’s more to this talk, but if you can grasp those things, you’ll be doing well.

The Passion Myth:
Why You May Not Find Yourself By Simply Doing What You Love

This video from gave me pause this week. We are often told to follow our dreams and our passions. And that’s all well and good if (a) you know what those are and (b) they happen to be things you are exceptional at. But an awful lot of us will need to do ‘regular jobs’ like accounting or plumbing or graphic design if we want society to succeed. Flying in the face of the American Dream, Cal Newport tells us here that we may find ourself not at the end of chasing our dreams, but on the other side of disciplined effort. Even if you don’t agree, it’s worth a watch.

Where Am I?:
A Poem In the Works

I often process my inner-workings by creating art. Today, it came out as a poem. And then I worked that poem. It’s not yet perfect, but good enough, I think, to share with you today. If nothing I’ve said yet about finding myself has made sense today, perhaps it’s because I should have said it this way all along …

Where am I?
Hacking through a thicket of noise
to reach some clearing within myself
I am lost in a jangled jungle of thoughts

Where am I?
Tossed about in the Facebook maelstrom
Drenched in the hurricane of information
so that I know everything except my self

in the dense and tangled branches of our apple tree
there were birds
just yesterday
redeeming rotten fruit with their pecking
but today the tree is barren
and the apples sag and stink

Where am I?
Having just had coffee with a friend
While we spun dreams like silver webs
across the empty future spaces

Where am I?
Back home and waking to the work of it
the webs don’t spin themselves
and the spaces are so vast and fearsome

In the sink the dirty dishes spill over
as the laundry lies across the floor, unfolded
and there is company
coming tonight
and all of it must be attended to
and all of it calls for my attention,

Where am I?
Inside this body, hands cracked from winter cold
with a growling stomach
In an itching sweater, I am waiting to be found

Where am I?
Only you would know
Can you whisper in my ear?

So, how do you find yourself when you get lost?

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