“’To be or not to be?’ ~ That is the question.” –William Shakespeare
The Essence of YOU
There have been, of course, tomes written about the works of Shakespeare, and Hamlet in particular. I’ll not create another one here on the blog; but suffice it to say that in the play, Hamlet poses this “to be or not to be” question during one of the character’s now most famous soliloquies, and it refers primarily to his facing his own death. There is much more to say about this aspect of the play. For purposes of this edition of Soul Notes, however, let’s explore the phrase in terms of “to be or not to be our authentic selves.”
To be or not to be our own true essence. It’s about returning home to ourselves.
Otherwise, in denying our true selves, we do indeed face a death of a different sort: a creative death. Denying who you are means keeping yourself less than fully expressed. It means dimming your light. It means pulling your soul into a tight ball, unto itself. That really does a disservice to yourself and to those around you. It takes its toll. You pay a high price. Self-expression, when repressed, makes for self-depression.
“You are all things. Denying, rejecting, judging or hiding from any aspect of your total being creates pain and results in a lack of wholeness.” -Joy Page
For example, maybe you find yourself no longer creating music, or even listening to music. When once you were the first person on the dance floor, now you’re suddenly hanging back in the shadows, affixed to your chair. Maybe you used to be the first to jump in line to sing karaoke? Or, you used to pick up a paintbrush, pastels or colored pencils and create works of art on a moment’s whim, purely for the enjoyment of it. Or, curling up in a well-lit corner to write poems, short stories, or other forms of prose was something you did on a regular basis. Now, perhaps you’re lucky if you can find a good pen that works?
This of course, also requires viewing ourselves as creative beings, by our very nature. Yes, you out there who when reading this, may be saying to yourself: “Oh, I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” You do have a creative bone. You do. Several! You are creative. You are!
There’s also something to be said for fully be-ing, and not merely do-ing. Busy BEEness is not the same as BE-ingness! Buzzing around, appearing to look busy, often bears little if any resemblance to embracing your true self, and embodying your true essence, and being who you truly are. It often serves as a distraction, a substitute.
“Essence” comes from the same Latin root as “essential.” Your essence is essential to who you ARE. It’s what gives you your particular character. It is your distinctiveness. As with an essential oil, it is you, distilled down to your core. Sandalwood is not any more akin to frankincense or bergamot or peppermint than you are to someone other than yourself.
And, feel free to express yourself in all ways that feel good to you. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, why not? What’s stopping you? When I was about five years old, my older brothers and I would watch American Bandstand and Soul Train on television. The brothers would sit on the couch and make comments about the bands, the music, and which dancers they liked best.
For me, I couldn’t contain myself! A minute or two into each program, I was up in front of the TV dancing to nearly every song. I envisioned myself right there on the set, groovin’ right along with the rest of the dancers. My brothers often rolled their eyes, groaned in feigned disapproval, and would ask me to move over to the side of the TV. But, that didn’t stop me from expressing myself! I loved those shows, and I couldn’t wait to get up and dance.
Somewhere along the line, however, for me and for many of us, the “critics on the couch” take up more and more space in our psyches. If we let them. I say, take back that power. Reclaim who you are.
It can be painful to dim your light. To hide your true essence. Wonder Woman’s super heroine powers were hidden under the cloak of her alter ego, Diana Prince. And, while fronting as Clark Kent, a reporter for The Daily Planet, Superman would wear his “S” under his street clothes. When called into action, he’d first need to duck into a phone booth or the office’s storage closet, to reveal his true identity!
You’re not Clark Kent. You’re not Diana Prince. Give yourself permission to be Superman or Wonder Woman. Claim it for yourself.
Not just some of the time.
All of the time.
Save the day.
For your consideration:
Get quiet, and reflect for a moment: When have you felt most at-home, as your true self?
Okay, your turn:
How do you and your true essence show up in the world?
I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!