Updated: Sep 13
When I was 19 years old I fell in love for the first time. This guy was 7 years older than me and into all the things I was curious about- vegetarian cooking, yoga, meditation, and music. I wanted desperately to impress him. I showed all my best characteristics and tried to seem mature. I was gutted when, months into the relationship, he criticized me. Or at least it felt like criticism. He asked a lot of questions. I was questioned about the way I spoke to other men. I was questioned about how I spent my money. I was questioned about how I related to my family. It became very clear to me that I didn’t have enough self reflection under my belt to answer these questions and I froze up into a heap of insecurity and self doubt. His observations gave me a lot to think about. Mostly they were untrue, but there was always some kernel resonance that made me feel ashamed, uncomfortable and embarrassed. I pushed him away and unfairly deemed him judgemental. Looking back now, perhaps he was a little bit, but I couldn’t let myself off the hook because I wasn’t sure what was true about me and what wasn’t. Then I began my second love affair… with Joni Mitchell. “And I don’t know who I am but life is for learning” I had heard that song lyrics hundreds of times on the radio as I listened to Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s hit, “Woodstock” However, at 19 years old, I learned that Joni Mitchell wrote it, and hearing HER sing that lyric, I really GOT IT! There is a joy in self discovery! Hearing her lyrics- admitting she was selfish, questioning her values, admitting she doesn’t know herself... I felt less alone. Here was a very strong gorgeous woman who sees beauty in life (“we are stardust we are golden”) but also acknowledges our shadow (caught in the devil’s barter) seemingly celebrating it all in the quest to get to know herself. I realized I would never be happy in a relationship until I KNOW myself better. Realizing this, I wasn’t ashamed to be so green on the path of self knowledge. I was humbled and very excited for the journey. I felt a longing to know myself. I decided it was important to live life fully and have many experiences in order to understand what I enjoy and what I don’t like. I started to plan travel adventures and looked for community in those who also value se;f awareness. I began to understand my attraction to yoga and meditation was not a longing to be closer to “God” but a longing to know myself. I found mentors and guides who helped me in my quest for self knowledge!
The song Woodstock really is a love song. A love song to romancing your own soul. Joni wrote it from a hotel room watching the event on television. She wasn't part of the masses, she was deeply in a relationship with herself. It is this sense of excitement I love to share with my clients. The pleasure of falling in love with our own soul as a starting point for a fulfilling relationship with another.
image credit: Brett Skywalker