What is the secret signature of your being? Now there’s a cracker.
This is a term first used by the late John O’Donohue in his classic book, Anam Cara. In it he is directing his disapproval at those of us who live a life that is dictated to us by other people – family, friends, community. That’s a sorry state of affairs and yet if you look around you will find many people who are doing just that. They are not living the life they love. They are somehow trapped inside the grey walls of conformity and convention where they embalm themselves in a frame of self-protection. They frequently remain there for life.
On the other hand did George Bernard Shaw have a point when he wrote that ‘one should respect public opinion as it is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison?’ I think it might have been tongue-in-cheek! We can still pay respect to those around us without being a lap-dog to their will.
We owe it ourselves to live the life that we truly love. Knowledge of that path is within us. We should silently listen to it and be drawn towards it. Then actively engage with it. But to hear that small voice in your head you need to take time for yourself. Yet most people I know in the western world are rushing themselves towards an early grave.
It’s a point I make again and again when I give Motivational talks around the country. It doesn’t take long to do your own daily spiritual exercise. Ten minutes a day would do it nicely. Find a quiet place and ask yourself what do you really want out of this life?
I had a friend who used to have a practice which was then called ‘Me time’ which she did as she commuted to work. Sadly, in essence her ‘Me time’ was mostly spent planning the family dinner. That made her an appreciated cook but not much else. You can see the point.
O’Donohue said that ideally a human life should be a constant pilgrimage of discovery because ‘when you come to know something new you come closer to yourself and to the world.’ Not everyone can afford to be that kind of full-time explorer. You have to work, enjoy family life and so on. But surely you – and you individually – deserve to discover what you really want.
If you listen to this magnetic pull know that it will not lead you astray. It is part of the real rhythm of your nature. It is, in fact, your secret signature and you may have fallen out of rhythm with it.
Bibi Baskin is a former TV/Radio presenter (Ireland and UK), hotelier (India.) She currently lives in Cork where she gives Motivtional talks and teaches classes in Public Speaking. To book her for a talk or to attend her classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org