“Who am I?”

“How should I live my life?” “What is my work in this world?”

Consciously or not, most of us spend our lives asking ourselves these existential questions. They are the ones that keep us up at night, the ones that poet David Whyte talks about:

that can make
or unmake
a life,

that have patiently
waited for you,
that have no right
to go away.

I’ve been asking myself these questions constantly since I turned 40. 

At that point in my life I was entering a time of deep transition. I was responding to some kind of internal call, unmaking an identity as an international school teacher and making someone….else? I wasn’t sure who that was going to be. Only that it involved going back to school for a time to study counselling psychology.

I loved every bit of it. A chance to wade deep into the questions in general, and mine in particular.

Now, twelve years later, I’ve found a new way to ask these questions. One that doesn’t compel me to look outside of myself to check to see what Plato, Jung or Maslow thought.

Sitting in front of someone’s camera, I’ve discovered, can be a profound way of holding a conversation with my Self. I say things I didn’t know I knew; I become conscious of things that were somehow always in me, but at the periphery of my awareness. Radical things about who I am and what I really want. Wonderful things that have the power to change my life for the better.

How strange to spend so many years looking out when the whole time the answers have lain within?