FEATURED INK: "Explore"-- Delving Within
By definition, to explore is "to travel in or through". Exploration can take place without, through transcendent woodlands and along the cobblestoned roads of rustic villages. This is typically what comes to mind when the topic of exploration comes up-- the exploration of the world outside of us. However, exploration also can occur from within, as a person delves deeper into the world that exists inside of them. This is the exploration of self.
What does it mean to explore from within?
Exploring within means getting in touch with the nature of who you really are and what it is that you want during your finite number of spins on Earth. The idea that there is more for us to learn about ourselves may seem outlandish to some. We, as individuals, spend more waking and sleeping hours with ourselves than we will ever spend with anyone in our personal and professional lives. Everyday we walk with our greatest hopes, dreams and fears cocooned within our bodies like a baby kangaroo nuzzled into its' mother's pouch. Much of the baggage we carry within ourselves is known only by us and felt in a way that only we can feel.
So how can it be possible that there is more for us to know about ourselves?
Those around us have a profound influence on the way we perceive ourselves and the choices we make. It is because of this that we can spend countless hours with ourselves and still have little idea of who we really are. So often people lose themselves in others, whether it be the college intern overextending himself to please his colleagues or the mother who has lost sight of her own needs and desires in the process of raising her children. We are social beings by nature and it is only natural that at times a concern for others will reign over our hunger for self-exploration. But to abandon self-exploration is to miss a critical aspect of our existence. A greatly satisfying part of life is uncovering interesting tidbits about who we are, what we like and why we are here. Self-exploration is essential for grounding us in who we are and allowing us to lead our best lives.
How does one embark on an exploration of self?
You can begin by spending some time with yourself. Yes, we are technically always with ourselves, but how much of that time is spent with zero distractions? Many of our waking hours are spent in the whirlwind of other people's expectations. It can be hard to catch your breathe long enough to do some inner probing amidst the chaos. To combat this, try setting aside some time each day to just be. This can take on many forms-- for some this means meditating in the morning before work and for others it may come in the form of an afternoon walk in nature. This does not need to take long, 20 minutes is sufficient. In doing so, you discover new things about yourself and it becomes clearer what is for you and what isn't. From here you can begin to further explore the things that bring you joy and move away from what doesn't.
Another way to learn more about yourself is by diving into new experiences. There is little that is more character revealing than seeing how you respond in situations unfamiliar to you. A big part of the self-exploration process involves trying out new things to see what best resonates with you. This can mean signing up for an art class, reading a book outside of your genre comfort zone or trying a job in a field you have been interested in but hesitant to delve into. It is highly probable that some of the things you try will not be a good fit, but within your growing list of tried experiences there is bound to be one thing that is a winner.
The external world we live in is abound with beauty-- there are mountains to climb, oceans to swim in, lively cities to explore. Go out there, see all there is to see, explore this striking corner of the universe we inhabit. While you're at it, don't forget to chisel away at the other world swirling around inside you. You may be surprised by the gems you uncover.
Conscious Ink Staffer