In my formative twenties I knew some remarkable people. Peter Strauss was one of them. He was a therapist by profession, a mentor, a fellow youth worker, and a truly unique individual who had a gift for cutting through the crap and getting to the essence of things. This quote is something he once said to describe what he thought was the central conundrum common to all his therapy clients, and I glibly dismissed it at first, thinking it was too simple a sentiment to be useful or profound. “Who doesn’t want to be who they are, let alone do what they do?”
However with age comes experience and I can now, after many years, attest to the fact that in my case, Peter’s observation really does do a nice job of summing it all up…the struggle to first know, define, and establish who it is we “are”, followed by the harder task of owning, inhabiting and fully realizing whatever the hell that is. Suddenly what sounds like a simple carb appetizer, gets a little more main course. And since “really doing what we do” naturally springs from “really being who we are”, those resulting actions ultimately become our careers, passions, relationships, novels and epic fails. And god knows I spend a lot of time reverse engineering the whole thing only to end up where I started. Kinda like a spiral.