We spend so much of our lives letting the world see the self we want to present that we do not see and can’t imagine we have other selves, other parts of our basic values, other parts of our belief pattern. Often, who we are at our core is well hidden even from ourselves, appearing only in emotionally powerful moments.
Many years ago I worked with a teacher who provided a demonstration of what my core self felt like, the very essence of me without makeup or enhancement. I stumble over words as I try and describe the level of peace that surrounded me.
My teacher, in her words, said that orchestras tune their instruments to middle A on the oboe. Each instrument is part of the entire orchestra and at the same time unique and complete by itself. My teacher helped me to discover how I could feel one with every element of the universe and at the same time be complete within myself.
We are challenged all the time to grow our core, discarding barnacles that have attached themselves to us, but which hide rather than enhance the most complete picture of ourselves we can create.
Who we are is unique and yet when the sky is filled with snow, we recognize the common identity we all share of being one among a billion snowflakes.
In living through the Coronavirus pandemic, the disease affects us both in similar ways and in ways that are particular to each person. Both lives are lived simultaneously.
Each enhances our ability to address the virus, whether it is embracing our fears, pleased with the courage we can muster, or observing the strengths and weaknesses that help define us. It is not just that we need others—we also need to recognize that others need us.
© 2020 George Kaufman