How to (Not) Have an Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

My identity crisis struck unexpectedly in mid-December. I went on a lovely family holiday, and the plan was to enjoy myself. Instead, it was as if
awake I woke up from a trance. Staring at my reflection in the mirror, I asked how, or even why, I let myself go like this? Trying to be kind to myself the best I could, I fretted about all my extra weight, which incidentally I have been carrying for over a decade. Exercising daily helped, and so did all the healing techniques I know,  but something irreversible was set into motion the day I woke up.

After a two week break, on 1 January I logged into my website and found out it was down. Pushing mild irritation away, I message the IT company that hosts my website to find out what was going on. The answer transpired a couple of days later. Apparently something went wrong with the domain name, when the IT company moved my website across. And for a while, it looked like the domain name gularavincent.com was gone for good.

By then my whole family and I were terribly ill. Sleep gone out of the window. Instead, I tended to two poorly children and spent either shaking or burning up all night long. There’s nothing like a serious flu to put things into perspective. The glitch with my website faded into insignificance.

Once I started recovering, I asked an IT-literate friend to help make sense of the mess. As I do, I also turned within. I had a session with an amazing Charlotte Kanyi to explore what was the significance of this glitch.

‘There’s something in the name….’ I kept saying as we started our session.

As we went deeper, I started asking bigger questions: Who am I on the blog? Why am I doing what I am doing? What do I really really want?

You see, when I started blogging in October 2014, it came from a place of ‘should’. I was working on a book, and needed to build an author platform. Don’t get me wrong – it was a great decision. I made lots of friends across the world, learnt to be visible, and to speak up. But there was no consistency. My posts were all over the place. Then last summer, I was working with a business mentor. She tried to help me to align my blogging with my 1:1 service. For a while, I blogged about writing path and its challenges. I had another growth spurt, but it still wasn’t ‘it’. Perhaps, for my regular readers it was even confusing. What was that sudden shift about? Who is she?

And so in my session, I sat with that question myself. I realised that the frustration of not getting anywhere with my blogging was to do with the fact that I was still searching for who I am. Why am I doing this? I asked. It was an uncomfortable and potentially inconvenient question. By then I had written nine blog posts and developed a short e-course for the coming three months. All I needed to do is to schedule them all in when the website was back on and I was good to go till the intense teaching period at work was over. By the end of my session, none of it felt right anymore. Those posts came from the ‘old’ me who was doing them because she ‘should’. The new ‘awakened’ part wanted to tell stories.

‘Something in the name….’ I mumbled as we were wrapping up the session, and Charlotte took me through Non-Personal Awareness sequence.

The answer came straight away. ‘I need to write in the name of love.’

Ah, the relief and joy of clarity. And guess what. Three days later, my domain name was restored.

But I had no time to celebrate. Again, life gave me a rude awakening, forcing me to put things into perspective. One of my most significant relationships wobbled. The shock, confusion and sadness set it. It was as if I was challenged all over again to ask ‘Who am I?’ If this relationship goes, what would remain? Who would remain? The truth is I got too comfortable in that relationship. From my perspective, it was solid as a rock. Leaning into it, I was doing everything else and stopped paying it the attention it deserved. In short, I was taking it for granted.

Waking up can be painful, but staying asleep is even worse, especially when it’s not an option anymore.

So where does it leave my blog? I’m taking one day at a time, and learning to focus on what’s really important: health, family, relationships, harmony, inner peace…. Down with the regular posting schedule, and scrambling for something meaningful to say. Perhaps there will be nothing for a while. I’ll find out together with you while I’m sitting with the question of ‘Who am I?’.

It’s a big question to ask. Although the last month has been gruelling and I feel like I’m in the thick of a mid-life crisis, I’m glad I’m asking big questions. The cost of staying numb and deadened on the inside is too high. Sometimes, an identity crisis can be a blessing in disguise, even if it doesn’t feel like that in the moment.

The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.  Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,  some momentary awareness comes  as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!  Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,  who violently sweep your house  empty of its furniture,  still, treat each guest honourably.  He may be clearing you out  for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,  meet them at the door laughing,  and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,  because each has been sent  as a guide from beyond.

 

12 thoughts on “How to (Not) Have an Identity Crisis

  1. First of all I am glad your back, but I want immediately state also: don’t let that be pressure to keep on blogging! You know Gulara, what I’ve learned from you is to listen to your Inner-Child, which is to me similar to your gut feeling, your instinct. You of all people knows the importance of living in the moment, but also knows sometimes life just doesn’t allow you to do that. Taking control over your own soul and body again, takes work, ongoing work.
    So, throwing your wisdom back at you, hihi
    Then something what went to my mind…what I am going through myself…when is the last time you went to your gynaecologist? You call it midlife crisis: did you think of menopause, flying hormones?
    Yesterday, I’ve received a big reminder myself again…take the time to go through a process. So take as long as you need dear Gulara!
    Sending you healing and strengthening energy and a big hug! XxX

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    • Ah, Patty, your warm hug and healing energies are warmly welcome and gratefully received. It can be difficult to be vulnerable like this sometimes, because things are so fluid. This is a snapshot of a tough week or two, and life is constantly changing and shape-shifting. But it’s making me to slow down, let everything drop away, simplify, listen to what I need right now and left everything else go. It’s a bit unnerving not to know what exactly will happen next, but then that’s life in general, isn’t it. It’s just sometimes we choose the illusion of certainty over finding out fresh…. Thank you for mirroring back your learning about the inner child. Yes, so so true. Anyway, it’s lovely to connect. I cannot tell how excited I’m reading all the comments. Many blessings, dear Patty. xxx

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  2. Gulara, I am so glad to read this, because I am constantly questioning who I am, especially when it comes to my online presence. Searching is good and I think it will take us in the right direction, even if it means constant changes in the meantime. I’ll be rooting for you no matter where you decide to go.

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    • ‘I’ll be rooting for you’ – just that is priceless, Ula. Thank you so much for reading and all your support. And it’s good to know I’m not alone 🙂

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  3. You’re not alone. We all go through these phases of change and uncertainty, but lots of people don’t admit it! They’re the ones desperately trying to maintain the facade of ‘having it all together’. Much easier to share our doubts and fears, so we know we’re all in this together!
    May the rest of the year be easier and smoother for you. Take care Gulara.

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    • Thank you, Fiona, I really appreciate your kind words. It’s not easy to share the messiness of life, and I notice there’s a slight fear creeping up, saying ‘You should be together if you are helping other people. People might think your tools don’t work if you fall apart.’ I’m laughing reading these statements back to myself. 🙂 Of course I fall apart. I’m only a human. Thank you for stopping by and your kind words of encouragement.

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  4. Gulara, I am delighted to hear the ‘real’ you back. I’m terribly sorry about the trauma you suffered through the holidays. I suspect that quite a few of us wonder ‘Who I am.” I know I do and my feelings bounce all over the board. I have not been blogging on a regular basis as I haven’t figured out what I really want to blog about. Lately, I discuss my caregiving experiences with my husband. I suspect that people have no REAL concept of what they will get into when caregiving… I know I didn’t. Caregiving brings out emotions I didn’t expect.

    Anyway, I’m delighted to hear from you again… but do for YOU not on a “should” basis. It is time to get rid of THAT rule. WELCOME BACK!!

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    • Ah, dear Gwynn, hello! So lovely to be in touch again. I missed you lots and appreciate the warm welcome. It’s good to be back 🙂
      You are doing such an amazing service sharing how it is to be a career. All of us become one at some point or another in our lives. I was one at a young age, for my grandpa, and I must say it was a pretty or easy experience. And as you say, we have no idea until we are in the midst of it.
      It’s worth writing for these connections, and I value our friendship a lot. Sending a big hug.

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  5. Life feels more comfortable when we think we know, but those glitches and circumstances work at us to keep questioning, especially the who am I question. In our journeys our own seeking helps another; you’ve helped me a a crucial junction. Carry on! ❤

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    • Thank you, Charli, your words mean so much to me. Yes, there’s power in being real, and there are many people who inspired me on my journey by asking uncomfortable questions. Hope you are well. Thank you so much for stopping by.

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  6. Beautiful post Gulara! Great exploration of the great adventure called Life. I trust that this new level of authenticity will bring you happiness and better health. Great to be reminded of Rum ‘s poem too. Thank you for sharing your humanity and vulnerability.

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    • Oh, thank you, Kate. I feel so happy feeling your presence here. I’ve been thinking of you recently. Started a whole new adventure today on weight loss and was thinking of how much you inspired me with your own journey.
      Yes, life is a great adventure 🙂 Thank you for reading and connecting. I appreciate you!

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