June 26

Today's quotation:

Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.
As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks-- we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.

Parker J. Palmer

Today's Meditation:

There are lots of people who think they have a pretty good idea of who and what we ought to be.  They know we should do this, shouldn't do that, should act this way, shouldn't act that way.  The only thing is, they really don't know who and what we ought to be, for that's something that even we ourselves don't necessarily ever know.  "Our own authentic selfhood" isn't described anywhere, isn't written down somewhere, isn't prescribed by anyone.  Our authentic selfhood is something we become by accepting life as it comes and working hard to live sincerely by our own conscience and our own sense of right and wrong.

As kids, we're told that we ought to want to grow up to be something.  How many of us wanted to be firefighters?  But once we get that image in our minds and put all our effort into becoming that, are we really seeking out our authentic selves, or are we trying to become the person of whom we have an idealized mental image?

My authenticity will allow me to be who I am in every situation.  Only by allowing myself to become who I'm truly meant to be will I find the ways to serve others that will be incredibly fulfilling to me.  In that sense, serving others truly becomes serving myself, for I'm giving myself deep fulfillment.

When I serve others out of a sense of duty or obligation, my service never will be as sincere or as heartfelt.  When I find my authentic self, though, my service never again will be a duty--it will be a joy.  And it will be far more valuable to its recipients, too.

Questions to consider:

How many people ever have shown you how to pursue your own authentic selfhood?

What is your field of authentic service?

When does your feeling of who you "ought" to be contradict your authentic self? 

For further thought:

Remember always that you have not only
the right to be an individual;
you have an obligation to be one.
You cannot make any useful contribution in life
unless you do this.

Eleanor Roosevelt

  

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