“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” ~ Joseph Campell
The danger of following crowds has never been more frighteningly evident than this past week. The stampede during the pilgrimage in Mecca killed 800 people and injured over 1000. I can’t even imagine the terror of being crushed or suffocated in a massive crowd. I plan to avoid crowds like that wherever possible. But I also plan to avoid the suffocation of conformity to ANY crowd. I will not be contained by any box or stereotype. Mind you, I had a great teacher.
As I continue to reflect proudly on my dear departed Mum’s life, one famous family story comes to mind. It was 1961. Dad had just begun his career in the Anglican seminary in Sydney. He and Mum were invited to their first formal function with the Archbishop. Everyone was on their best behaviour. While most took safe options, Mum wore a bright red dress, cherry red lipstick and red nail polish. She looked beautiful and stood out like a red cardinal on snow. Her statement was “I am my own person. What you see is what you get.” Mum loved authenticity; living her own truths and inspiring others to do the same. She ministered in a church that never exactly affirmed womens’ voices, it still doesn’t, and yet she spoke with strength and empowered others to do the same. She stood up to powers that sometimes tried to silence her, particular on the issue of sex abuse, and suffered for it, but refused to allow her inconvenient truths to be squashed. She was a fine example of individuality in service of those who have their truths and their voices taken from them.
A wise mentor once said to me, “Never be afraid to be a minority of one.” I didn’t realise at the time he was quoting the great traiblazer, Gandhi who also said,
Even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.
That’s the thing. It takes courage to be yourself in a world that so often wants to force you into a box. But it can be done, and it’s worth the effort, both for yourself and as an inspiration to others.
Once you come to the powerful realization that you are alive to break the mould, not fit in, everything changes. Fitting in seems boring, like lowering the bar on your potential, stifling your genius. Don’t fit in. Be extraordinary in a way that only you can be. As Finnish author Sebastyne Young says, “extraordinary people rarely fit in.”
I urge you, in the words of Barbra Streisand, “to discover you, what you do, and trust it.” What an awesome thought. Focus your time and energy on people and experiences that nourish your true self. Trust your voice. Speak your truth. Walk your path. Nobody does you better than you.
Join our Soulseeds Garden to stay focused on your authentic self, and keep speaking your truth.