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Seeking Clarity

September 20, 2013

By Jacinta Hin

“Who am I and what do I want?” are questions that inevitably arise when we are at a crossroads in life or on a path of self-contemplation.

We may take a philosophical stance in wanting to understand what life is all about. Am I the result of my past, we may ask ourselves, the product of my circumstances? Is life about who I am or what I do? Does my personality define me, or is it DNA and the country, the place in which I was born that determine the choices I make? Do I create life from the inside or in response to what happens to me?

People in transition look for clarity.

Some people, no longer satisfied with the status quo or stuck in a negative situation, feel an urge for deeper self-knowledge and new choices. Others get interested as the result of an awakening or a sudden shift in consciousness. Sometimes a significant change in circumstances may force someone to redefine their basic stance in life (the sudden loss of a loved one, an unexpected setback, a move overseas).

The past weeks we have shared several pieces here on the Embrace Transition blog that address the theme of self-discovery, each exploring in their own way and within the context of their unique themes.

In The Beauty of Emptiness Damon Farry writes: “Realize that in essence we are nothingness, we are emptiness. But that this emptiness is magnificent. It’s only when we strip back all preconceived notions and concepts that we see something beautiful – that nothingness is actually everythingness”.

Angela Jeffs responds in East to West: Angela…the what?: “It comes down to who we are without our story, right? You call it nothing. It could also be pure essence. A flower has no story but is simply what it is, without question, without judgement.”

Purposeful, transformational self-inquiry requires an open mind, ready to look at one’s self without judgement and be willing to accept a different outlook and the possibility of making new choices.

For this, we have to create space. If our heads are full of preconceived ideas about our past, psychological makeup and typical behaviors, a soul-searching quest could provide mere lip-service to restless feelings. We have to empty the pot, so to speak, so that we may discover all that we are and all that is possible.

We must recognize and acknowledge our nothingness, so that we may experience our everythingness, as Damon so beautifully points out.

Hari Tahil and Asandra talk about the importance of turning inwards.

In What Prevents Loving Hari writes: “Inside each of us there exists a well of wisdom/love, yet we are accustomed to looking outside of ourselves for answers. Our fears, defenses and what we perceive to be urgent needs cover up this well inside.”

While Asandra points to our heart in Where the Grace Lies: “Following what is within our heart is the true path. The path is not about being a Buddhist, or a vegan, or a Democrat, etc. It is about knowing what calls us forward in this life.“

During transitional periods we are typically more inward focused than usual. Intuitively most people will want to create some distance from the demands of daily life and the external world they participate in. They will seek out conversations centered around the purpose of life (their own) and in which they feel safe to discuss feelings or ask for advice. The outside world may become more of a source for information and less of a benchmark for self-definition. Rather the inside world a “well of wisdom”, the key to knowing our “true path”.

Who am I and what do I want?

If we’re able – or at least willing – to move beyond the labels and stories we bought into and turn inwards for answers, such questions could set us onto a meaningful path of self-discovery, one that opens doors to new realms of possibility, a new experience of life, a fresh starting point.


About the author: Jacinta Hin was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Tokyo, Japan, since 1989. Her professional background is in human resources, career management and coaching. She is passionate about helping people, herself included, discover new perspectives of possibility, move to embracing and working with their transitions, and designing and realizing changes aligned with who they truly are and what they truly want from their lives.
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