I pause and read this question several times before I can realise a meaning for me. I am taken back to my corporate days, when I worked in the oil and gas industry. We took core samples of the earth to learn about what is underneath. And what’s underneath cannot be known from searching the surface alone. They are simply not the same.
There is rich matter underneath our feet; minerals and crystals and hidden waterways and of course the story of the evolution of our planet. Knowing what’s underneath deepens our voyage on this planet – we get a sense that we are part of some strange mythic story and that, as we live and breath, our participation is part of a natural process that at once picks up from before and then takes this strange mythic story onward.
So we matter?
The idea that I am part of something that was before me and that will continue after me creates a sense of purpose. That I matter. That my journey on this planet is intended. And I, like you, have come here born from the same mysterious unknown invisible energy. We come from the wombs of our mothers. Our hearts are beating the same rhythm of a song neither of us can hear. Our body seeks to heal not harm us. We are bestowed imagination – I wonder why? We have access to other places in our dreaming time. These are all shared parts of our sameness. And from this soup of sameness we bring something of our own self. Something uniquely ours. Our core self.
The core of the question?
As I am part of the earth, as you are part of the earth, we too must have a core. A mix of many things that altogether make up the essence of who we are.
My core is the residence of my authentic self.
There is more to me than meets the eye. There is more to me than my (at times) outbursts and my sense of not enoughness (others are more creative than me for example). We all get a sense of this. We don’t know each other very well or deeply. There’s more to others as well as self than meets the eye. So my sense of self, my authentic self, my core cannot be seen with my physical eye. Can I meet myself, my essence? How can I get to know my core? Who do I invite out for a chat?
How would I drill into my core? How could I pull up a sample and then how would I make sense of it? What if I don’t like what I find? I’ll deal with that when I come to it hey!
For me, one of the ways I get to know my core is to explore my beliefs, my views and my perspectives about life. I want to explore what I stand for. Too often I can sit on the fence as I am able to have compassion for all sides of a story. But when I can hold that position (compassion for all sides of the story) and know who I am in all of that, then I feel I have taken a core sample of myself. This knowing makes me stronger. And stronger neither means right nor wrong. It simply means I have a way to navigate through life, a position, a process that allows me to make decisions and not just to follow popular belief or ready made conventions that prevent us from thinking deeply. I go beyond the instant answers taken off the shelf, from the newspaper or posts on FB.
What I do is not the core of who I am. What I do is the way I express my core, my authentic self, through being a daughter, a friend, a teacher, and a psychotherapist. What I do is not who I am. And how I do what I do is my personality. My core is deeper than that, and yet it surfaces, expressed in these ways. I can behave in a way that is at odds with who I feel I am in my core, such as being dishonest with myself, or telling myself that my creativity isn’t important or doesn’t deserve expression. But even if I do behave inconsistently with my core, that tells me more about my authentic self. Knowing what I am NOT has an important message too. Pay as much attention to the ‘I am NOTs’ as you do to the ‘I ams’.
Becoming aware of who I am at the core level means that what I do in life and how I do it is coherent. When coherent, all the parts of the whole sit well with each other. There is no confusion. My heart is not fighting with my mind. There is clarity.
This is why getting to know your core matters.