Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On Who You Really Are

{I wrote this a few weeks ago. It seems important that I put it here now.}

Lately I’ve been feeling the toss and panic that happens every now and again when I realize I’m staring right into a huge nothing. It’s the same feeling I get when I fear losing something I love, when I can’t let go of something I ought to, when I won’t bury the hatchet.

But there have been times of peace, times when, in the middle of the waves of uncertainty and potentially cosmic loss, I’ve felt quiet and secure. How is that possible? How can you summon up that pacific calm when I have so many things to worry about, so many failures looming, so much heartbreak just WAITING to take a piece out of me.

But I've learned this lesson before: Peace comes from remembering: who I am, what I was built for, what I have yet to do in this little life before all is said and done.

I have been around much longer than this moment, much longer than I remember. What great things have I done before? And what will I yet do?

I focus on things that bring me deep joy--moments when I have created something larger than myself. For some people, that might be studying a language, or designing a robot, or learning how to wakeboard, or writing a novel, or becoming the world’s leading expert on jazz music or digital photography or “This American Life.” For me, maybe it's playing the guitar in the evening, or typing poems on a typewriter, or painting places I hope to someday go and listening to music I hope to someday play. These are not frivolous endeavors.

What I'm saying is this: sometimes you have to fly in the face of your current job, your current living situation, your current dating life and remember who you really are, what you were really built for, what tenacities of spirit you have native to you. Don’t believe what your circumstances would have you believe about yourself. You are bigger than those things. You are longer-lasting than those things. You are eternal.

You weren’t meant to pray heartless prayers and you weren’t meant to dream colorless visions. Who you are is a place in your heart you’ve built from years of seeing goodness unfolding inside of you, of developing your mind and your heart and your willpower, and in moments of fear, believing that all those will be enough to win the day.


  1. you are really are so lovely. there is great truth in words. and magic. you write with magic, carolyn!

  2. Every time I read your blog I feel like a guardian angel is speaking from heaven. Just the right words at just te right time. Thank you for staying so close to the spirit and to your spirit.

  3. I stumbled across this post because my little brother just got his mission call to Lyon, and I seemed to vaguely remember that that's where you were. This is just what I needed to read today, more than a year after you wrote it. Thank you.