Martin Luther King, Jr. and Self-Inquiry
I’m dropping in with you on a Monday, Martin Luther King Day, to share a quick story and reflection.
This morning, a friend whose taking an online class sent me a request for 3 words that describe her ESSENCE. The intention of the assignment, she explained, is to help her match her projection of herself to her presentation of herself – or match her inside to her outside.
I love this exercise, and I did it myself when I enrolled in B-School last spring. It was fascinating and humbling to learn the 3 words people used to describe my SUPER POWERS and how their perception either confirmed my ownership of that quality, or caught me off guard and shone a light on a positive shadow – a gift or positive quality I project on others and did not see in myself.
I shared with my friend that I was excited for her and that personal work is so ENLIVENING.
She responded with,
“What a good word! Still struggling to not feel too self-indulgent, but even Ben Franklin wrote about it in his autobiography.”
Yep. I felt that discomfort, too, when I began to dive deep into self-inquiry. SELF-INDULGENT. I think many of us carry around the story that taking time for ourselves, to really know and connect with ourselves, is somehow selfish.
Ben Franklin’s words quiet her inner-critic’s voice, while Martin Luther King’s words quiet mine:
“The highest form of maturity is self-inquiry.”
I’ve come to see that the heart of any wisdom practice is some form of “Know thyself.”
Everything begins with self-knowledge – learning what makes you YOU! Understanding your motivations -- why you say and do the things you do. Discovering your desires and longings – those deep knowings that lead you to deep purpose, meaning, and joy.
Free-flow writing is one of the best ways to know yourself, your nature, your essence…
This practice takes us In and Down where we can know ourselves and move toward befriending ALL aspects of our nature -- which will naturally have sunshine and storm clouds, just like nature around us.
We ARE nature.
“Writing practice allows us to take a curious interest in ourselves. Underneath, we long to know ourselves. When we hear our own naked, unedited voice in the present, we learn to accept it, to stand behind it and not be looking, as we normally do, for praise or criticism.” ~Natalie Goldberg
Wishing us all curiosity about our nature on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the courage to know, be-friend, and share our gorgeous ESSENCE with others. The world needs it!!
Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:
In this moment...
Write whatever arises in your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Don’t stop to think or edit - keep your pen moving.
Accept ALL that you write - the pretty & ugly; absurd & boring. Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...