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February 14, 2000 - Symphony of Self Worth

"That's me in the corner,
that's me in the spotlight,
losing my religion...
Oh no I've said too much,
I haven't said enough...
Heavenly whispers..."


The Symphony of Self-Worth, Survival and Spirituality

When I was quite young, I read a book called Coming of Age in Samoa, by Margaret Mead. As I devoured this book, which anthropologically explores a foreign and exotic culture, my view of the world changed; my external view of the world, that is. What did not change for many years, and actually is still in the process of flux, was my internal awareness of the depth to which coming of age in America has affected me and all of us who live here.

Traveling to and even living for an extended period of time in another country, while certainly enhancing my life and further expanding my world view, ultimately did little to alter the inalienable fact that at the very core of my being there exists a reflection of the culture in which I was born. America the beautiful, America the melting pot of the globe and all that jazz. Land of the free, home of the brave... or is it?

While growing up, as I suppose is true of any child in any country, it took me some time to begin questioning the values that I had absorbed in this process. Painfully I learned that America was not entirely beautiful, and hardly a utopian melting pot. Rather, I discovered it was a mosaic of fragile crushed glass tenuously held together by boundaries which were as fluid as water on the one hand, and impermeable as cement on the other. I desperately struggled to create a life of harmony in the context of this mosaic which more and more looked, felt and even sounded like a kaleidoscopic cacaphony.

The perpetuation of any social system relies upon the wellbeing of each individual. Working from the inside out, we need to feel good about ourselves, we need to have some kind of assurance that we are going to "make it" somehow, and we also need to feel free to dream. In essence, we need a symphony of self-worth, survival and spirituality that centers our lives so we can thrive. Toward this end, many of us have gravitated toward and embraced the traditions, movements and music of other cultures that provide the integration our culture currently lacks. Doing so, with few exceptions, has certainly enhanced our lives but has not completed them in the way we yearned for and perhaps had been led to believe. We still go to bed every night and wake up every morning confronted with the very real issues of our daily lives and those affecting our family and friends, issues that are indelibly defined by the matrix in which we live, issues that continue to confound us.

Short of packing up and "blowing Dodge", what are we to do? Perhaps the answer lies in consciously examining and then shifting our perception of nothing less than the foundational beliefs which govern our lives. When we are feeling down, enmeshed in a lack of self-esteem, what exactly are we measuring ourselves against? Self-worth defined by the bottom line results of a business venture? How our love life is going? Whether our houses are messy or spotless? The list goes on and on, and is certainly as individual as each of us.

When we are concerned about survival, what does that literally mean? Maintaining the status quo at all costs? Should our struggle to live from day to day be sourced from a place of doing what we can get away with, or doing what we need to "get by", even though certain actions are either counter to our internal values or those of society?

And finally, what about spirituality? What does this nebulous concept truly mean to us? What is it about, beyond the systems we have forsaken and those we have adopted? What is this thing called spirituality, and how does it impact our lives?

At this time, the celestial energies support deep exploration of ourselves through asking new questions, rather than trying to find new answers to age old questions which will always be with us whether we like this fact or not. Doing so reveal an astonishing recognition that the chaotic, kaleidoscopic, ever-shifting society in which we live provides us with an opportunity offered by no other: we are literally forced to seek and then discover an integrating principle from within, rather than rely upon some person, place or philosophy that exists outside of us.

© Kristina Strom

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