Recent years have fill filled with unearthing, rebirthing, and giving life to my own voice and dreams. Left brain (re)united with the right, it’s been a season of learning to live an undivided life — not just privately within my own heart and mind, but professionally, too — allowing others to see and connect with my whole self, not just the piece(s) defined by past roles or opportunity.
It’s been challenging and scary. Layers of pride and fear dismantled as pieces of my wall have been broken down and discarded to reveal a hidden self. The public persona courageously united with the private; head aligned firmly with the heart.
But these steps are necessary to reach the places I have chosen to go. Necessary, for when we live a divided life, we often end up losing the very essence of who we are. We become restless, unsettled, and deeply compartmentalized. We become more about ‘fitting in’ than being our true selves. Living our lives as square pegs in round holes, we often end up abandoning our own dreams and short-changing others in the process. We create boxes and labels of limitations, then wonder why we feel trapped. We lose integrity…the wholeness of who we are, while fracture lines form, threatening to undermine the foundational stability of our lives.
One of my favorite books is Parker J. Palmer’s book, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward An Undivided Life. In it he writes, “As we move closer to the truth that lives within us — aware that in the end what will matter most is knowing that we stayed true to ourselves — institutions start losing their sway over our lives. This does not mean that we must abandon institutions. In fact, when we live by the soul’s imperatives, we gain the courage to serve institutions more faithfully.”
These ‘institutions’ may represent our work, personal and/or spiritual lives, though the message remains the same — as we begin to reunite with our most authentic selves, we are better able to live, serve and lead others — from a place of humility, acceptance, respect and love. We become more equipped to commit to others, too, as we more deeply commit to ourselves and our own personal truths.
In the undivided life, we begin to know peace. We begin to experience joy. We begin to define success, not by the standards of world, but by the unconditional acceptance of our selves and our ability to live our truth out loud.
I’m curious…have you ever found yourself living a divided life? Have you ever allowed labels and the expectations of others to define you or your opportunities? What steps have you taken to live an undivided life? What challenges have you encountered along the way? How has living an undivided life altered your perception about the world and your role in it?
Postscript: We are all evolving, and as we continue to grow, sometimes we change, too. Sometimes what was important to us in the past, takes a backseat to new dreams, developed gifts, and clarity of purpose. This evolution is not separate and divided from the whole, but an extension of our selves reframed.