find yourself here.
stop sorting through the sands of Malta,
looking for your capillaries
or your eardrum.
you won’t find your heartbeat there.
you won’t hear anything new under the sun.
travel only as far as the first twelve inches
in front of you, where your hands
are resting, ready.
discover the skin on your knuckles
sore from gripping telephones all day,
you will not see who you are until
you cease to examine the reflection in Their eyes.
take your trove of looks that Others have given you
and throw them away with your broken eggs.
instead, hunt for your stomach
in the bread dough beneath your fingers.
seek your face in the flecks of flour,
pressed and shaken together.
“Try not to become a [person] of success, but rather try to become a [person] of value.” -Einstein
“As Mounier said, the person is not something one can study and provide for; he is something that one struggles for. But unless he also struggles for himself, unless he knows that there is a struggle, he is going to be just what the planners think he is.” -Walker Percy
I am currently at the age where many of my peers are traveling the world, searching for their personal meaning under sea rocks in Italy and between the tree trunks of the Amazon. They want to change everything they touch. They hunt for their calling.
I also struggle with this same penchant for self-discovery. In the age of the reign of the Image (Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word) , I believe that too many of us are living our lives in accordance with the stories that our profile pictures tell about us instead of the stories that we actually tell in our daily mundane lives. Traveling to that picturesque mountain in Ireland that you glimpsed on Pinterest will mean nothing if the person that you bring there is only looking for a sudden revelation of self-discovery, instead of one stop along the slow, plodding journey of becoming a person of value.
I am learning that my footprints on that beach in Italy are enough. Though I will be washed from the sand the very next day, I myself am enough. Who I am is shaped by the small decisions that I make every day — the dishes that I wash every day — the poems that I am now seeking to create every day. As my actor friend Jenn once shared, how you spend your days is how your spend your life. If I don’t choose the daily discipline of giving gifts to others through my creative work, how can I expect to become a person of creative value “all of a sudden”? We are what we create. You are in front of you.
For those of you who are artists working to create and share your beauty with others, I encourage you to explore this amazing little movement and book, via Seth Godin. This post was part of the inspiration for today’s fragment.