“Many people miss out on themselves completely as they journey through life. They know others, they know places, they know skills, they know their work, but tragically, they do not know themselves at all.” John O’Donohue
It’s a theme in psychotherapeutic work that clients may not feel they have a very good sense of themselves. As we mature, we come to notice and be mindful of our own awareness, and to begin to experience where we have gaps. We begin to wonder about ourselves in different ways, and to open up space to question who and what we are, and how we want to show up in the world.
In a beautiful passage about ageing, John O’Donohue made the observation above and reflected that as we age we return to ourselves. We have the stillness, the space, and the silence to draw together the fragments of our experience and life, and to find meaning and integration in their midst.
T. S. Elliot wrote:
“And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time
Maturity is not something measured in chronological time, by the passing of a certain number of years. Nor is stillness and space for reflection something that comes only as we age. We can create it at any point in life that we wish.
This year has changed many people’s experience of time, of space, and of themselves. With the end in sight in the coming year, perhaps now is a time to reflect on what it is that has changed within us, how we are different now, and who it is that is now showing up in our lives.
Reflection is always fruitful, when done with time, space, and a sincere heart. How will you find the silence to engage yourself in?